Assault is placing someone in fear of apprehension or bodily harm. A person does not have to have physical contact. Simple assault can be an exchange of words with the belief that an injury is about to occur. Domestic violence is the same as assault, however, it is between members of the same household.

For example, a person could have an argument with their girlfriend. If they do not live together it may not be a big deal, however, if they lived together at one time, it is a bigger deal according to the justice system. The key to what determines domestic is the word domestic; it must be people in the same household.

If you have have been charged with domestic violence or family violence battery, contact a Georgia domestic violence attorney to learn more about building a defense as well as how it might differ from an assault charge.

Those Involved

The deciding factor between assault and domestic violence are the people getting in the fight.  That is what it is all about. Simple assault, simple battery, battery, aggravated assault, and aggravated battery are all the same crime; what causes it to become a crime of domestic violence depends upon the people that get into the fight. If they are members of the same household or were previously members of the same household, then it is a domestic violence crime.

Child Cruelty Charges

The other thing to be aware of is that if a person has a child under the age of 14 who hears the people involved in an argument or witnesses it, they could be charged with child cruelty in the third degree, which is a misdemeanor.

Simply having a fight in the presence of a child, in addition to the domestic violence or family violence battery charge, can result in a child cruelty charge. If you have been charged with either of these crimes, contact a Georgia domestic violence lawyer right away.


A person would not be charged with both domestic violence and assault. It is essentially the same charge, simply tied in with a family violence.

Domestic violence cases are treated very differently from assault cases. This is because the court believes that if the people know one another there is a greater chance that there are going to be problems again.

The penalties are more serious for domestic violence charges than assault charges. A second offense for family violence battery is a felony. However, two acts of assault do not immediately lead to a felony charge.

Defense Strategy

The defense strategy used by attorneys generally does not differ whether someone’s charged with just assault or the full domestic violence or family violence battery charge. The main difference is who the witnesses are, but the strategy itself is not different.

Usually, if the people know one another, as within a domestic violence case, there is a definable instance that caused the fight. There is some sort of problem that is underlying the whole violent exchange. For stranger-on-stranger conduct, usually, the event occurred in reaction to something happening or drunken stupidity.