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 physical violence or 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 For example: 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 Protection Orders and Full Faith & Credit at 1-800-903-0111 x 2.
It is important to note that the definition of a domestic violence misdemeanor under Colorado law is different than that under federal law. Specifically, Colorado defines domestic violence as taking place between “intimate partners” and not in a parent-child relationship.4 However, for the purpose of interpreting federal law, the federal law definition is what would be used.
1 18 USC § 921(a)(33)(A)
2United States v. Kavoukian, 315 F. 3d 139 (2d. Cir. 2002); United States v. Meade, 175 F.3d 215 (1st Cir. 1999).
3 See, for example, United States v. Denis, 297 F.3d.25 (1st Cir. 2002.); United States v. Costigan, 18 Fed.Appx. 2, 2001 WL 535734 (C.A.1 (Me.))
4 See C.R.S.A. § 18-6-801(1)(a)