blog home Criminal Defense You Don’t Have to Physically Harm Someone to Be Charged With Domestic Assault

You Don’t Have to Physically Harm Someone to Be Charged With Domestic Assault

By Jason Bottlinger on November 21, 2021

The term “domestic assault” typically conjures up images of actual physical abuse. When someone mentions domestic assault, we tend to think of battered spouses and smashed belongings. In fact, domestic assault does not necessarily have to be physical. It may involve controlling behavior, verbal abuse, or other acts that do not cause actual physical harm.

Who Can Be Legally Defined As a Victim of Domestic Violence in Nebraska?

Domestic abuse must be committed against an “intimate partner.” This person can be a:

  • Spouse of the defendant
  • Former spouse of the defendant
  • Person with whom the defendant has children
  • Person the defendant is dating or has dated previously

When Actions Besides Physical Harm Can Be Defined As Domestic Abuse?

As stated by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, domestic violence can be defined as a pattern of behavior used to gain or maintain control over an intimate partner. In addition to acts that cause physical harm, domestic abuse may involve emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of action that influence another person.

  • Emotional abuse is behavior that exploits the intimate partner’s vulnerability, insecurity, or character. It may involve insults, criticism, threats, accusations, disregarding the victim’s requests and needs, and statements and actions that attack the victim’s self-esteem. The abuser may exhibit behaviors or make reality distorting statements that create confusion and insecurity in the victim.
  • Economic abuse involves controlling the victim through manipulation of financial resources. It may involve causing the victim to lose a job or preventing the victim from accepting one. The abuser may not allow the victim access to family funds, or any say in how money is spent.
  • Psychological actions against the victim may include controlling behavior as a way for the abuser to maintain dominance. Examples of this type of behavior include coming home unexpectedly to check on the victim, checking the mileage on the car, forcing the victim to dress in a certain way, invading the victim’s privacy, or making the victim believe they are incapable of performing simple tasks on their own.

How Can Threats Be Defined As Domestic Abuse?

Domestic violence includes any behavior that intimidates, frightens, terrorizes, manipulates, hurts, humiliates, blames, injures, or wounds an intimate partner. Threats certainly fit into this category. Verbal abuse is a type of domestic violence that involves abusive language to threaten, denigrate, or embarrass the victim. It may involve threats of physical harm, name calling, disparaging the victim’s appearance, yelling, screaming, terrorizing, or refusing to communicate. Threats of harm to the victim, children, family, pets, property, or reputation are a form of domestic abuse.

What Should You Do If You Are Charged With Domestic Assault in Nebraska?

Third degree domestic assault in Nebraska can involve threatening to cause immediate injury or threatening in a menacing way. You can be arrested for domestic assault without actually having touched the alleged victim. A domestic abuse conviction may become part of your permanent record. It can mean harsher penalties for a subsequent conviction and can hurt your future prospect for employment and housing.

If you are facing domestic abuse charges in Nebraska, your best hope of obtaining the best possible outcome in your case is to have an experienced Omaha criminal defense lawyer represent you. Call Bottlinger Law L.L.C. at (402) 505-8234.

Never speak to the police or admit to anything without first consulting a criminal defense attorney. No matter what charges you are facing, we believe you have a right to a strong legal defense. We can discuss your case in a free, confidential consultation.

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