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Idaho Family Law on Domestic Violence

Created by FindLaw's team of legal writers and editors.

Domestic violence is a serious criminal offense that can land the perpetrator in jail. Whil states sometimes differ in how they define domestic violence, the crime generally encompasses acts of abuse that occur between household or family members. Acts of domestic violence can seriously impact the offender's rights regarding family law matters such as divorce proceedings and child custody. This article provides a brief overview of Idaho's family law on domestic violence.

Code Section

Idaho Code section 18-918 and section 39-6303: Domestic Violence

What's Prohibited?

 

In Idaho, domestic violence is defined as the physical injury, sexual abuse, forced imprisonment, or threat thereof, of a:
  • Family member
  • Household member
  • Minor child (by a person with whom the child has had or is having a dating relationship), or
  • An adult (by a person with whom the adult has had or is having a dating relationship)

3 Types of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence can occur in any of the three ways listed below:

Battery Resulting in Traumatic Injury: An offender who commits a battery against a household or family member that results in a traumatic injury is guilty of felony domestic battery.

Assault Not Resulting in Traumatic Injury: An offender who commits an assault against a household or family member that doesn't result in traumatic injury is guilty of misdemeanor domestic assault.

Battery Not Resulting in Traumatic Injury: An offender who commits a battery against a household or family member that doesn't result in traumatic injury is guilty of misdemeanor domestic battery.

Definitions

Family Members: Spouses, former spouses, and people related by blood, adoption, or marriage.

Household Members: People who reside or previously resided together, and people who have a child in common (regardless of whether they have been married or have lived together at any time).

Traumatic Injury: A condition of the body (e.g. a wound or external or internal injury), whether of a minor or serious nature, caused by physical force.

Penalties

 

Felony Domestic Battery: Punishable by imprisonment for up to 10 years, and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

Misdemeanor Domestic Assault or Battery – First Conviction: Punishable by imprisonment for up to six months, and/or a fine of up to $1,000.

Misdemeanor Domestic Assault or Battery – Second Conviction Within 10 Years: Punishable by imprisonment for up to one year, and/or a fine of up to $2,000.

Misdemeanor Domestic Assault or Battery – Third Conviction Within 15 Years: Qualifies as a felony offense that is punishable by imprisonment for up to five years, and/or a fine of up to $5,000.

Acts of Domestic Violence Committed in Front of a Child: The maximum penalties outlined above are doubled if the act of domestic assault or battery took place in the presence of a child.

Grounds for Divorce

While there are several possible grounds for divorce in Idaho, acts of domestic violence definitely qualify. Idaho's domestic relations statute lists "extreme cruelty" (the infliction of grievous bodily injury or grievous mental suffering upon the other by one party to the marriage) as acceptable grounds for divorce within the state.

Child Custody

When a couple files for divorce, the court may determine a custody arrangement that is in the best interest of the couple's children. When making this determination, the court considers all relevant factors including whether the parents have engaged in any acts of domestic violence (whether or not in the presence of their children). While a documented case of domestic violence doesn't automatically prevent the parent-offender from being awarded custody of their children, it does weigh strongly against them. For more information about child custody arrangements in Idaho see Idaho Code section 32-717.

Additional Resources

If you are a domestic violence survivor there is help available for you. During an emergency dial 911 and when you're safe contact the Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence.

State laws change frequently. For case specific information regarding Idaho's family law on domestic violence contact a local family law lawyer or criminal defense attorney.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.