Domestic violence is a crime committed by a person against someone who is in an intimate relationship with the victim, has been in an intimate relationship with the victim, or lives in the same household as the victim. The exact definition of domestic violence varies from state to state. The term traditionally referred to violence by one spouse against another, usually by a husband against a wife.

The crimes committed in domestic violence may include the following:

  • assault
  • battery
  • homicide
  • stalking
  • rape

Domestic violence is sometimes defined as a pattern of intimidation that someone uses to control another. For example, if a domestic partner keeps track of all the activities of the other partner, follows the partner, repeatedly questions him/her about infidelity, and uses implied or direct threats to restrict when the other partner leaves the home, this might be enough to constitute domestic violence in some states. Most often domestic violence takes the form of actual battery of the victim, from mere pushing to slapping and punching, to kicking, cutting, and burning.

Is domestic violence a crime punishable under criminal law?
Whether domestic violence is a crime depends upon the particular circumstances, as well as the laws of the state in which the act or acts occur. Often domestic violence is both a crime subject to criminal punishment and a civil wrong subject to restraint upon personal conduct and an award of a money damages.

It is a frequent pattern in domestic violence cases for the victim to be abused, call the police, press charges, then reconcile with her abuser, and seek to have the charges dropped, only to have the entire pattern repeated. Because of this, in some local communities and states, domestic violence is now prosecuted as a crime by city and district attorneys, even without charges being brought by the abused person, and even without his or her assistance. In these localities, a criminal case may be brought against the person causing the harm without a complaint being made by the victim.

Contact experienced, aggressive New Jersey criminal lawyer, Jeffrey Hark