What crimes are considered domestic violence misdemeanors?
A crime is considered a domestic violence misdemeanor under federal law if the act:
- can be defined as a misdemeanor under federal or state law;
- 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 with a spouse, parent or guardian of the victim.1
Note: The crime does not have to mention "domestic violence" specifically either to be considered a domestic violence misdemeanor or 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 still may be able to have or buy a gun.
If you are unsure whether a certain crime is a domestic violence misdemeanor, you can contact the National Center on Protection Orders and Full Faith & Credit at 1-800-903-0111 x 2.
1 18 USC § 921(a)(33)
2United States v. Kavoukian, 315 F. 3d 139 (2d. Cir. 2002); United States v. Meade, 175 F.3d 215 (1st Cir. 1999).
3United States v. Denis, 297 F.3d.25 (1st Cir. 2002.); United States v. Costigan, No. 009-B0H, 2000 U.S. Dist. (D. Me. June 16, 2000).