Domestic assault is a more specific version of assault that carries both additional direct penalties and additional long-term consequences, as we’ll cover below.


First, in order to commit domestic assault, one has to commit an assault. An assault is one of three things:

  • Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing bodily injury to another;
  • Intentionally or knowingly causing another to reasonably fear imminent bodily injury; or
  • Intentionally or knowingly causing physical contact with another and a reasonable person would regard the contact as extremely offensive or provocative.

As you can see, the definition of what constitutes assault is very broad. In order to be convicted of domestic assault the assault must be committed against, generally, a family member, spouse or former spouse, or someone with who the person has had a sexual relationship.

One way domestic assault differs from assault is that second and subsequent offenses carry mandatory jail time, starting at 30 days consecutive and the going up to 90 days.

Another serious consequence of a domestic violence conviction is its lifetime ban on firearms and ammunition possession. If convicted of domestic violence, you will no longer be able to own or possess a firearm for the rest of your life.

Not everyone charges with domestic assault is guilty or will be convicted. Each case is different and a thorough investigation of the facts and circumstances by a qualified attorney often uncovers defenses to the charge. Potential defenses include self-defense, inability by the State to prove the offense beyond a reasonable doubt, false report or dishonesty in bringing the charges, particularly when there is a strong motive to do so, and other defenses that relate to the applicability of the conduct to the statute.