Domestic violence applies to specific actions, such as assault, homicide, harassment, stalking, criminal sexual conduct, terroristic threats, kidnapping, burglary, and criminal mischief. If the actions listed in the original complaint do not fit the legal definition of domestic violence, the judge will likely throw out the case before it even reaches trial. If the actions in the complaint do not meet this requirement, it’s likely a “de minimis” infraction, or minor conduct too trivial to warrant a criminal infraction.
A domestic violence charge must also meet jurisdictional requirements when it comes to the parties involved. The Georgia Family Violence Act outlines the relationships that fall under this jurisdiction. Domestic violence pertains only to parties who are married, in a romantic relationship, or expecting a child together. It can also apply to roommates, housemates, and former spouses. Violent actions that take place between parties that fall outside these definitions would fall under different classifications.
A valid defense against a domestic violence charge is self-defense. It’s possible for a victim in a domestic violence case to have suffered injuries from the defendant while acting in self-defense. It’s also possible for a victim to exaggerate injuries and the defendant’s actions. The defense will need to prove the victim’s use of force justified the defendant’s actions.