What crimes are considered domestic violence misdemeanors?
A crime is considered a domestic violence misdemeanor under federal law if it:
- Can be defined as a misdemeanor under federal or state law; and
- Involves attempted or actual physical force, or includes threats made with a deadly weapon; and
- Was committed by:
- a current or former spouse;
- a parent or guardian of the victim;
- a person with whom the victim shares a child;
- a person living with the victim as a spouse, parent or guardian; OR
- a person who has a similar relationship (listed above) with a spouse, parent or guardian of the victim.1
Note: The crime does not have to specifically mention “domestic violence” in order for it to be considered a domestic violence misdemeanor, and for the federal firearm law to apply.2 The relationship that the victim has with the offender is what determines whether or not the misdemeanor is a “domestic violence” misdemeanor.3
- If Bob is convicted of a misdemeanor assault against his wife, he may no longer have or buy a gun.
- If Bob is convicted of a misdemeanor assault against his neighbor, he may still be able to have or buy a gun.
If you’re not sure if a certain crime counts as a domestic violence misdemeanor, you can contact the National Center on Full Faith and Credit at 1-800-903-0111.
1 18 U.S.C. § 921 (a)(33)(A)
2 United States v. Kavoukian, 315 F. 3d 139 (2d. Cir. 2002); United States v. Meade, 175 F.3d 215 (1st Cir. 1999).
3 United States v. Denis, 297 F.3d.25 (1st Cir. 2002.); United States v. Costigan, 2000 U.S. Dist. Lexis 8625 (D. Me. June 16, 2000).