Domestic Battery Defined

Domestic violence is defined under state law. It usually includes unwanted physical force used against someone. There is usually a mens rea that requires intentional contact rather than accidental contact. Additional, what makes the offense domestic battery rather than simple battery is that the perpetrator and the victim have some type of relationship. This relationship is also defined under state law. It may include people in a current romantic relationship, such as in a dating relationship or current or former spouses. Alternatively, it may involve people living in the same household or former roommates regardless of any lack of familial or legal relationship. It may also concern co-parents of the same child.

Domestic battery is typically defined as deliberate contact that is violate or aggressive. It may include pushing, shoving, choking, throwing an object at the victim, punching, slapping, kicking or any other type of offensive touching. It may include physical abuse or sexual abuse. Threatening abuse is also considered domestic violence.

Proof of Injury

In some jurisdictions, there must be some proof of injury before charges can be brought or before a misdemeanor charge can be elevated to a felony charge. In other jurisdictions, there does not have to be an actual injury in order for the crime to be charged.

Way Domestic Battery Is Charged

Domestic battery may be charged in a number of ways depending on the jurisdiction. It may sometimes be charged as a misdemeanor. It may also be charged as a number of different degrees as a felony charge. The prosecutor often has the discretion to choose how to charge the defendant. This decision is often made by evaluating a number of factors, including the severity of the injuries inflicted, other reports of domestic violence, the alleged abuser’s prior criminal history and whether a deadly weapon was used.

Potential Penalties

The type of charge is tied directly to the type of crime charged. For example, in Nevada a misdemeanor is punishable by between two days and six months of incarceration, a fine between $200 and $1,000, 48 to 120 hours of community service and completion of a domestic violence intervention program at the defendant’s expense. In contrast, a third offense of domestic battery that has been committed within the past seven years coincides with a Class C felony in Nevada which is punishable by between one to five years imprisonment and fines up to $10,000. The other penalties may still be imposed. A Class B felony is charged when a deadly weapon is used in conjunction with the offense.