The Difference Between Aggravated Assault & Domestic Violence

Updated April 17, 2017

Assault, aggravated assault and domestic violence are terms that often can intersect when dealing in matters of crime. Simply put, aggravated assault can occur in matters of domestic violence, but not all cases of domestic violence qualify as aggravated assault. Some may be defined as simple assault or another charge altogether.

Aggravated Assault

Aggravated assault is the act of attempting serious bodily injury to another or actually causing bodily harm. Here, the perpetrator acts purposely, knowingly or recklessly under the circumstances and in doing so, displays an extreme indifference to the value of human life. An individual also is guilty of aggravated assault if he attempts to cause, purposely or knowingly causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon. Aggravated assault is distinguished from simple assault, the latter of which simply involves an act intended to cause harmful or offensive contact.

Examples of Aggravated Assault

One form of aggravated assault involves attempting or carrying out harm with a deadly weapon, without the intent to kill. One example would be that of a perpetrator attacking a victim with a bat or other weapon capable of taking a life. Another form of aggravated assault involves an assault coupled with the intent to commit a felony. An assault combines the elements of an intentional, unlawful threat by word or act to do violence, an apparent ability to carry out the act, and the carrying out of an act that implies such harm is about to take place. Therefore, an alternate example of aggravated assault would be that of a perpetrator threatening to rob someone and then doing so, even if the only weapon he has are his fists.

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is an all-encompassing term that refers to physical abuse occurring within a relationship, usually in an effort to maintain control. Examples of domestic violence include intimidation, stalking, sexual assault, threats or acts of physical harm up to and including murder. In some cases, acts of domestic violence qualify as aggravated assault, in others they do not.

Domestic Violence as Aggravated Assault

In many cases, domestic violence does qualify as aggravated assault. When one individual in a relationship creates the threat by word or act to do harm, has the ability to do harm and then carries out the act, they are guilty of assault. If they use a deadly weapon, commit a sexual offence, or otherwise commit a felony during the commission of the crime, then the perpetrator is guilty of aggravated assault. An example of an act of domestic violence which would qualify as aggravated assault involves a husband threatening to kill or rape his wife, grabbing a gun and raping her.

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About the Author

Shewanda Pugh attended Alabama A&M University, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in political science. She also holds a Master of Arts in writing from Nova Southeastern University. Pugh's work has been featured in several print publications, including the "Farquhar Forum," "Go!Riverwalk" and "Foreword Magazine."