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Elements of the Crime: Domestic Assault (aka Domestic Violence)

Below are the jury instructions for Domestic Assault, more commonly referred to as Domestic Violence. Jury instructions show the elements of the charges and what the prosecutor has to prove to a jury in order to convict a person of the offense.

For all jury instructions, see the following link:

M Crim JI 17.2a Domestic Assault

(1) The defendant is charged with the crime of domestic assault. To prove this charge, the prosecutor must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

(2) First, that the defendant [assaulted / assaulted and battered] [name complainant]. A battery is the forceful, violent, or offensive touching of a person or something closely connected with him or her. The touching must have been intended by the defendant, that is, not accidental, and it must have been against [name complainant]’s will. An assault is an attempt to commit a battery or an act that would cause a reasonable person to fear or apprehend an immediate battery. The defendant must have intended either to commit a battery or to make [name complainant] reasonably fear an immediate battery.3 [An assault cannot happen by accident.] At the time of an assault, the defendant must have had the ability to commit a battery, or must have appeared to have the ability, or must have thought [he / she] had the ability.

(3) Second, that at the time [name complainant]: [Select one or more of the following:]

(a) was the defendant’s spouse

(b) was the defendant’s former spouse

(c) had a child in common with the defendant

(d) was a resident or former resident of the same household as the defendant

(e) was a person with whom the defendant had or previously had a dating relationship. A “dating relationship” means frequent, intimate association primarily characterized by the expectation of affectional involvement. It does not include a casual relationship or an ordinary fraternization between two individuals in a business or social context.

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