What is the Difference Between Assault and Domestic Violence?
There are laws in the state of Louisiana that are in place to reduce domestic violence. Many people equate domestic violence to assault, which, for the most part, go together. There are significant differences in being charged with an assault charge or one that involves domestic abuse and domestic violence. In this article, we will discuss any confusion between the two and how they relate to one another.
Please Note: Hiring a good criminal defense attorney is key when dealing with assault and domestic violence. Contact us today to learn about your options.
Comparing Assault and Domestic Violence
There was a time in most U.S. states where it was legal to physically assault, including sexually, a spouse. In places where it was not legal, police sometimes looked the other way. Many police officers rationalized that an assault that occurred in a home was a private matter, and arrests rarely happened. This began to change during the last couple of decades of the twentieth century when domestic abuse was brought to the publics’ attention and highlighted the severity of the problem.
Assault outside of the home, and whether a misdemeanor or felony was always enforced as long as the victim agreed to press charges. When this same scenario happened within a family environment, rarely did the victim agree to file charges against the abuser. The most straightforward answer for the difference between the two is that assault is unwanted physical contact with anyone other than a household member, which causes an injury. At the same time, domestic violence is an assault that occurs among members of the same household.
Realizing domestic violence had to be reduced, state legislatures began creating laws specific to making it a crime outside of standard assault charges. The main differences are the requirements put into place to protect members of a household from continuous abuse and death. Below are some common laws formed to guarantee these protections.
- Mandatory action taken was put in place when an assault occurred within a family unit. Unlike regular assault that required someone to file charges, domestic violence allowed law enforcement to charge the assailant if the evidence was clear of an assault. This is even in the event the family member asked not to file charges. By doing so, the law leaves the decision to arrest up to law enforcement. The fact that law enforcement had to act changed the idea that domestic violence was a private matter.
- Bail restrictions were developed to enhance the safety of the victim. No longer could someone charged with certain domestic violence charges be released on a personal recognizance bond.
- Peace bonds were developed that outlined specific conditions for the person charged with domestic violence had to follow for the protection of the victim.
- Conditions against stalking, enhanced sentencing, restitution, and other laws that differ from a regular assault charge were instituted.
- Gun restrictions against the assailant
What to Do if You Find Yourself Charged with Domestic Violence
Due to the seriousness that has been emphasized to end domestic violence, being charged with the crime can have consequences in your life. The best thing to do if an argument in your home occurs is to separate from each other until things calm down. If you find yourself charged with domestic violence charge, there are things you need to know, such as:
- When bail has been made, you may not be able to return to your home until your case is settled due to court orders and bail restrictions.
- If convicted for domestic battery in the state of Louisiana, you will not be able to possess a firearm for up to ten years.
- If a child is present during the abuse of 13 years old or younger, the domestic violence charged can be enhanced to a felony.
- Each conviction of domestic violence creates a higher charge each time you are arrested. It is important that if convicted of domestic violence, you do not make the same mistake again.
Knowing how serious domestic violence is, your first step if charged is to contact an attorney as soon as possible. Even before conviction, there can be restrictions in place that will severely limit your life. The attorney you hire needs to understand the many nuances of domestic violence laws and be a local attorney. By making sure you hire an attorney experienced in defending domestic violence charges, you will have the best chance to avoid a more serious outcome.
Knowing the Difference
By knowing the difference between assault and domestic violence, you may be able to avoid going to jail and receiving a severe conviction when an argument gets out of hand at home. The state of Louisiana takes domestic violence seriously to the degree that you could find yourself serving time and creating problems for the duration of your life. Having a good defense attorney may help, but the only proper way to stay out of jail is to not commit domestic violence.
If you are interested in consulting with Barkemeyer Law Firm, please simply give us a call. We can answer any questions on key differences between assault and domestic violence.