In general, the local criminal laws of individual American states define and impose the mandatory penalties for acts of assault and battery. Because some areas of United States territory are not governed by any local government body, Federal law on assault and battery has been enacted.
As determined by the provisions of Section 117, Federal law sets forth that people who commit some kind of violent offense against an "intimate partner," such as a spouse, and have a prior record of two similar offenses are to be jailed for, at most, five years. This term may be substituted for or supplemented with the levying of fines.
The special jurisdictions administered by Federal law include the "special maritime and territorial jurisdictions of the United States or Indian country." In the instance that a domestic assault causes serious injury, the maximum penalties increase.
Responsibility for the handling of such offenses may be handed over to the relevant Federal, State or Indian tribal court. The "special maritime and territorial jurisdictions of the United States" include ambiguous spaces falling under United States ownership such as territory on the high seas, the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence River along the International Date Line, American spacecraft, Federal buildings on State land but specially requested by the Government, holdings within other national borders such as embassies, and islands.