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Are There Mandatory Minimums for Domestic Abuse Assault Offenses?

In Iowa, domestic abuse assault offenses are considered serious crimes. As such, if you're convicted, the court can impose a mandatory minimum sentence. The length of the mandatory minimum depends on whether or not you have been convicted of any prior offenses.

What Is Domestic Abuse Assault?

Iowa Code § 708.2A defines domestic abuse assault as an assaultive offense committed against a family or household member.

The following meet Iowa's definition of assault:

  • Engaging in conduct that's intended to cause pain or injury to another person
  • An act meant to put an individual in reasonable fear of imminent physical harm
  • Pointing a gun or displaying a dangerous weapon at someone else

An assaultive offense becomes domestic abuse when it's committed against a:

  • Spouse
  • Former spouse
  • Person with whom you have a child
  • Intimate dating partner

What Are the Level of Charges for Domestic Abuse Assault?

Depending on the circumstances, a domestic abuse assault offense can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony.

Generally, the offense is charged as a simple misdemeanor. However, if the act causes bodily injury or mental illness, the level of charge is elevated to a serious misdemeanor. It can also be a serious misdemeanor if you were previously convicted of a simple misdemeanor domestic abuse assault offense and you are currently accused of another offense that can be charged as a simple misdemeanor.

A domestic abuse assault offense would become an aggravated misdemeanor if you intended for your actions to cause serious injury to the alleged victim or you displayed a dangerous weapon. You could also face this category of charge if you committed the assault by blocking the air or blood circulation of the alleged victim.

The offense is also an aggravated misdemeanor under the following circumstances:

  • You were previously convicted of a simple or aggravated misdemeanor and the current charge is for a serious misdemeanor; or
  • You were previously convicted of a serious or aggravated misdemeanor and the second offense can be categorized as a simple or serious misdemeanor

Domestic abuse assault can also be charged as a class "D" felony. This level is levied against you if you have been previously convicted of 2 such offenses or you obstructed the breathing or blood circulation of the alleged victim and they sustained bodily injury.

What Are the Mandatory Minimum Sentences for Domestic Abuse Assault?

If you are convicted of a first or second domestic abuse assault offense, you will be ordered to serve a minimum of 2 consecutive days in jail. If you are convicted of a third offense, you will be required to serve at least one year of your sentence before you are eligible for parole or work release.

Although there are mandatory minimum sentences, that does not stop the judge from being able to impose the maximum terms for the level of offense you're convicted of.

This means that you could face the following sentences:

  • Simple misdemeanor: 30 days
  • Serious misdemeanor: 1 year
  • Aggravated misdemeanor: 2 years
  • Class "D" felony: 5 years

If you're convicted of a first or second offense, in addition to the mandatory minimums, you could also be ordered to participate in a batterers' treatment program.

Have you been arrested for domestic abuse assault in Iowa City? Call Keegan, Tindal & Mason at (319) 499-5524 or contact us online. We will fight to protect your rights and freedoms.