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Incidents of domestic violence on both men and women are quite common in the United States. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reports that 20 individuals per minute suffer a violent attack and may be seriously injured during the incident. However, those who plan to report these incidents may want to be aware of the legal differences between battery and domestic violence.

Unlike the definition of domestic violence, battery is, as defined by the Free Dictionary by Farlex, “an intentional and unpermitted act causing harmful or offensive contact with the person of another.” This means that any unwanted aggressive contact, whether it is perpetrated by a stranger or someone the victim knows, will generally count as battery. Examples of battery can include one person striking another with his or her fist, assaulting someone with an instrument like a bat or tire iron and rough pushing or shoving. Battery can occur between two married or otherwise attached people, and when this happens, the battery becomes domestic battery or domestic violence.

Depending on the state of residence, domestic violence can include altercations with a spouse, a child, a sibling, a parent or, in some cases, a roommate or common-law partner. The degree of the violence most often determines whether the violence will be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, but many states and jurisdictions have their own definitions of the crime as well. Offenders will likely be informed of their charges by an attorney, who may attempt to arrange a plea deal, such as pleading guilty to a lesser charge to avoid jail time.

This content is for informational purposes only and should not be interpreted as legal advice.