What Is the Difference Between Domestic Battery & Domestic Violence?

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There are many different forms of spousal abuse. Domestic violence is a broad term that includes both domestic battery and assault. Domestic abuse includes physical, emotional and mental abuse. When an argument or relationship, in general, becomes hostile, battery and assault may occur. Anyone suffering in an abusive relationship should seek help.

Domestic Battery

Domestic battery refers to actual physical abuse. The effects of physical abuse are often visible in the form of cuts and bruises. Any act that could be expected to cause injury is also considered battery. Domestic battery includes punching, slapping, pushing, choking and any other physical abuse. Throwing objects and the use of weapons is also considered battery and can have additional consequences. In addition, unwanted sexual activity is considered rape and a form of domestic battery. Aggravated battery is a more severe and can include battery on a pregnant woman or battery that causes permanent disfigurement.

Punishment for Battery

Punishment for being convicted of battery varies from state to state. In some states the crime is punished more severely than in others. In many states, such as Florida, a conviction of simple battery will result in a first-degree misdemeanor on your record. This is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine that does not exceed $2,000 in most states. Having one battery charge on your record will result in an enhanced punishment should you be convicted a second time of battery. The second offense is enhanced to a third-degree felony in most states which is punishable by up to five years in prison as well as an increased fine. Many states also require the offender to complete a batterer's program and be placed on probation for up to three years.

Domestic Assault

Assault is often the first step in domestic violence and can lead to domestic battery.

Domestic assault occurs when one member of the family causes a fear of possible and imminent battery in another family member. Assault is more emotional and mental opposed to physical. Threats, name calling and other emotional attacks are considered assault. Assault can be just as painful as domestic battery although it leaves no physical marks. Victims of verbal assault must often seek counseling for emotional, rather than physical, scars.

Punishment for Assault

Like the penalty for battery, the punishment for assault varies from state to state. A domestic assault conviction can be charged as a second-degree misdemeanor. This conviction carries a jail sentence of up to 60 days as well as a $500 fine. In cases of severe assault, such as assault with the use of a weapon considered as deadly, the charge becomes more serious. In addition, if the assault is committed with the intent to actually commit a crime, it is a felony. In these types of cases, the charge becomes a third-degree misdemeanor.