Misdemeanor Crimes of Domestic Violence

A misdemeanor crime of domestic violence is an offense that:

  1. Is a misdemeanor under Federal, State, or Tribal law;
  2. Has, as an element, the use or attempted use of physical force, or the threatened use of a deadly weapon; and
  3. Was committed by a current or former spouse, parent, or guardian of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabiting with or has cohabited with the victim as a spouse, parent, or guardian, or by a person similarly situated to a spouse, parent, or guardian of the victim.

In Pennsylvania, domestic violence is not considered a separate charge from a crime like assault, aggravated assault, or battery.

When a victim calls the police and makes an allegation that a member of his or her household has committed a violent act against them, the police that respond are required to make an arrest. Then, it is up to the prosecutor whether or not to press charges. The victim in the situation cannot decide to drop charges.

Pennsylvania law defines domestic abuse as knowingly, intentionally or recklessly causing bodily injury of any kind, causing fear of bodily injury of any kind, assault (sexual or not sexual), rape, sexually abusing minor children, or knowingly engaging in a repetitive conduct toward a certain person (i.e., stalking) that puts them in fear of bodily injury. These acts can take place between family or household members, sexual partners or those who share biological parenthood in order to qualify as domestic abuse.

Domestic Violence List of Misdemeanor Crimes

  • Simple Assault – §2701 (a)(1) through (a)(4)
  • Reckless Endangerment – §2705
  • Terroristic Threats – §2707(a)(1)
  • Harassment – §2709(a)(1) through (a)(7)
  • Cyber Stalking – §2709(a.1)
  • Stalking – §2709.1(a)(1&2)
  • Neglect of Care-dependent person – §2713
  • Terrorism/Intimidation – §2717
  • Strangulation – §2718
  • Unlawful Restraint – §2902
  • False Imprisonment – §2903
  • Criminal Coercion – §2906
  • Indecent Assault – §3126
  • Unlawful dissemination of intimate image – §3131
  • Criminal mischief-damage property – §3304
  • Criminal trespass – §3503
  • Theft by Deception – §3923
  • Forgery – §4101
  • Identity Theft – §4120
  • False Reports – §4906
  • False Reports of Child Abuse – §4906.1
  • Intimidation of witness/victim – §4952
  • Retaliation Against witness/victim – 4§953.1
  • Intimidation child abuse case – §4958
  • Barratry – §5109
  • Disorderly Conduct – §5503
  • Loitering – §5506
  • Obscene materials – §5903
  • Corruption of minors – §6301
  • Transmission – §6321 (PA specific. This would not have the federal prohibitor.)
  • Invasion of Privacy – §7507

Simple Assault — 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 2701

Offense defined. — Except as provided under section 2702 (relating to aggravated assault), a person is guilty of assault if he:

  1. Attempts to cause or intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another;
  2. Negligently causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon;
  3. Attempts by physical menace to put another in fear of imminent serious bodily injury; or
  4. Conceals or attempts to conceal a hypodermic needle on his person and intentionally or knowingly penetrates a law enforcement officer or an officer or an employee of a correctional institution, county jail or prison, detention facility or mental hospital during the course of an arrest or any search of the person.

Grading. — Simple assault is a misdemeanor of the second degree unless committed:

  1. In a fight or scuffle entered into by mutual consent, in which case it is a misdemeanor of the third degree; or
  2. Against a child under 12 years of age by a person 18 years of age or older, in which case it is a misdemeanor of the first degree

A person commits a misdemeanor of the second degree if he recklessly engages in conduct which places or may place another person in danger of death or serious bodily injury.

18 Pa.C.S.A. § 2705 — Recklessly endangering another person