The Primary Difference Between Domestic Violence and Assault & Battery
Many people are confused as to what assault and battery are. To put it simply, assault involves the act of threatening to injure someone, whereas battery is the actual physical act of violence. For instance, if you make a person fearful that you are going to hit him or her, but don’t actually act on the threat, you may be still guilty of assault. Once you actually hit the person, you are guilty of assault and battery.
In New Mexico, there are several acts of assault and battery that constitute domestic violence under New Mexico Statute §30-3-11. This includes:
- Assault against a household member
- Battery against a household member
- Aggravated battery against a household member
- Aggravated assault against a household member
- Assault against a household member with the intent to commit a violent felony
What follows is an explanation of the primary difference between the crime of domestic violence and assault & battery in New Mexico.
Domestic Violence or Assault & Battery
Domestic violence is usually charged in an assault and battery case where the alleged victim is a member of the defendant’s household, such as a spouse, a girlfriend, a mother, father, child, brother or sister, etc. Actual cohabitation is not necessary to be deemed a household member for the purposes of establishing domestic violence, so the primary difference between a domestic violence charge and an assault & battery charge is this close personal relationship between the victim and the defendant. In the absence of this relationship, the act is typically a crime of assault or battery.
Many erroneously assume that the alleged victim of domestic violence has the right to simply drop the charges against the defendant, if they choose to do so. However, like with an assault & battery charge, it is the state – not the alleged victim – that is bringing the charges against the defendant, and it is the state that will decide if those charges will be dropped.
Domestic Violence Carries More Severe Consequences
When an assault & battery meets the criteria for domestic violence, it enhances the possible penalties that one will receive, if convicted. For example, a simple assault & battery case, when charged as domestic violence, will carry up to one year in jail instead of six months. Likewise, felony assault & battery will be charged as a third-degree felony instead of a fourth-degree felony.
One of the most significant consequences of a domestic violence charge is that it is a registerable offense, meaning that if you are convicted of even a misdemeanor domestic violence charge, your name can be placed on a registry of domestic violence offenders.
Another consequence of being convicted of a domestic violence charge is that if a background check is done on you for employment purposes, security clearance, or anything of that nature, the domestic violence charge will appear as a red flag to most employers. Domestic violence is a frightening charge to most people, and employers will often do whatever they can to avoid dealing with people who have been convicted of the crime.
Free Consultation: New Mexico Domestic Violence Defense Lawyers
When a good criminal defense attorney handles a charge of domestic violence, he or she will do everything possible to get the charge dismissed or reduced to something other than domestic violence. Contact New Mexico Criminal Law Offices at (505) 375-4664 today to protect your family life and stability. Every side has a story, and it is extremely important that your side be heard.