Sosnowski Legislation Enhancing Domestic Violence Punishments Signed into Law Monday

ROCKFORD – Domestic violence legislation sponsored by State Representative Joe Sosnowski (R-Rockford) to allow prosecutors to charge repeat domestic abusers with a higher-level felony was signed into law on Monday, August 18, 2014.

House Bill 4653 provides that any prior convictions for domestic battery, or for any offense which is substantially similar, that occurs in another jurisdiction will trigger penalty enhancements.

Activating higher felony penalties for those charged with domestic abuse will give prosecutors more tools to stop abuse, Sosnowski says.

“These enhanced penalties seek to prevent domestic abusers who show a longstanding pattern of violence, despite the intervention of the criminal justice system, from potentially victimizing more people,” says Sosnowski.

Under current law, a prior conviction for domestic battery or a substantially similar offense within Illinois may trigger penalty enhancements; however, a prior conviction for domestic battery or a substantially similar offense that occurred in another state may not trigger the same penalty enhancements. This bill will make the statute consistent so that an alleged abuser’s complete criminal history is taken into consideration when determining charges.

The idea for this legislation was brought forward to Rep. Sosnowski by Winnebago County State’s Attorney Joe Bruscato.

“Domestic Violence is a priority concern for the Office of the State’s Attorney. Seeking appropriate penalties for offenders is a goal; whether a prior conviction is in Illinois or another jurisdiction, it should count,” Bruscato says.

For more information please visit, or contact State Rep. Joe Sosnowski at (815) 547-3436.