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One very serious crime is the charge of domestic battery. A battery occurs when a person receives an unwanted touch from someone else that results in an injury. A domestic battery is a battery that occurs in a domestic setting. This usually means the violence was committed against a spouse, family member or someone else that resides with the accused in his or her home.
A domestic battery is a form of domestic abuse. However, not every case of domestic abuse is classified as a domestic battery by prosecutors and law enforcement. For example, a domestic assault is a different classification of domestic violence. Assault, in this context, doesn’t necessarily need to be physical. For example, if a person threatened violence against a family member but has yet to act upon it, that action could be classified as domestic assault.
Battery, however, is a physical act. It is abuse perpetrated against a family member or cohabitant with their body or with a weapon. Often, signs of the abuse such as bruises and cuts are left behind. Evidence of such injuries can be extremely compelling in domestic battery court cases. However, evidence of visible injuries is not required to convict a person of domestic battery. As long as the physical act perpetrated against the victim was expected to cause some kind of injury, it can be classified as a domestic battery.
There are many different acts that may be classified as a domestic battery. This includes slapping, punching, kicking, choking, pushing and many other violent acts. Using a weapon or throwing an object at someone is also considered battery but may also result in additional weapons assault charges. Rape, while also being a sex crime, could also be considered domestic battery if it was perpetrated against a family member or cohabitant. This is even the case for married spouses if the sexual activity was not consented to.
A domestic battery charge may also be classified as aggravated battery. This is saved for more serious forms of domestic violence. For example, if a person batters a pregnant woman, it could be classified as aggravated battery due to the risk of harm to the fragile and defenseless unborn child. An attack that leaves a person permanently scarred or injured will also usually be classified as aggravated battery.
The specific punishment given to a person convicted of domestic battery depends on the state in which the crime took place. Certain states may punish those convicted of this form of domestic violence more harshly than others. In Illinois, for example, the crime is classified as a first degree misdemeanor that could result in penalties such as up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine.
However, subsequent domestic battery charges may be treated more seriously. In many states, a second domestic battery charge is considered a third degree felony. This could result in three years in jail and a much higher fine. Other possible punishments include probation, community service and mandatory enrollment in a domestic violence education program.