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Is yelling at someone domestic violence?

When most people think of domestic violence, they think of one thing: one spouse striking the other. This is one of the most common forms of domestic violence, but not the only one. There can also be verbal abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, financial abuse and more.

Under these guidelines, many experts do call yelling at someone a form of domestic violence. It could qualify as either verbal abuse or emotional abuse -- or both.

It's also worth noting that many calls made to the police about domestic violence are made because someone nearby -- a neighbor in the next apartment over, for example -- heard the yelling and thought something was wrong. The police will then come and talk to the couple to see if anything physical happened. If so, someone could be arrested. In some cases, both people are arrested.

That being said, you're not likely going to be arrested just for yelling at your spouse. If you cooperate with the police, they'll likely tell you to calm down and then they'll leave, having defused the situation.

Now, the thing to remember is that you could be arrested in some cases if you were yelling threats. Threatening someone with bodily harm or death can still count as assault, even if you never touch the person. This is doubly true if you were holding something -- like a kitchen knife -- that could have been used as a weapon. You could be arrested on those grounds even if violence did not yet occur.

If so, it's important to know all of your legal rights. This is especially important if you don't think you crossed any lines and you shouldn't have been arrested to start with.

Source: New Beginning Center, "What is Domestic Violence?," accessed June 24, 2016

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