Brian S. Leifert, Esq.
Douglas I. Leifert, Esq.

Differences Between Assault and Domestic Violence in Ft. Lauderdale 

With violent crimes, it may seem like there is not much of a difference in terms of the elements and potential penalties an individual may face. However, that is not the case. In fact, there are significant differences between assault and domestic violence in Fort Lauderdale, differences which can impact everything from sentencing to the defense strategies that a lawyer may choose to employ. If you face domestic violence charges, hire a qualified domestic violence lawyer who will understand these differences and can use their understanding to build a defense specific to your case.

Defining Assault and Domestic Violence

Assault is governed by Florida Statues 784.011. An assault is defined as an intentional unlawful threat by word or action to enact violence to the person of another, coupled with an apparent ability to do so, and doing some act which creates a well-founded fear in such other person that violence is imminent.

Domestic violence covers a wide range of alleged criminal activity and is a very broad category. Any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any other criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family member or household member is domestic violence.

One of the differences between assault and domestic violence in Fort Lauderdale is that domestic violence cases carry a minimum mandatory sentencing. They are singled out in the domestic violence units by the prosecutors and the judges. There is a higher level of oversight in prosecution with domestic violence cases.

Being Charged With Assault and Domestic Violence

While not as common, it is possible that an individual will accuse assault as well as battery. It is very difficult for an individual to face both charges of assault and battery as it relates to one act. For example, if somebody threatens another person with a baseball bat, swings and misses, that is not a battery. There is no contact, but the person can be charged with aggravated assault with the deadly weapon, the deadly weapon being a baseball bat.

Eight to 10 minutes later in the encounter, if the baseball bat is dropped and there is an allegation of a punch to the face – which is a separate act – an individual could be charged with both an assault and a battery. The person has the earlier assault with the baseball bat and the later battery with the person’s hand or fist. It is extremely rare to see an individual facing both the charge of assault and battery as it relates to the same act.


Another one of the differences between assault and domestic violence in Fort Lauderdale is that domestic violence triggers minimum mandatory penalties involving probation and counseling, and the batterer’s intervention program. With the simple assault non-domestic violence related cases, the court and the prosecutor have discretion to advocate or impose any legal sentence they deem is appropriate.

Defense Strategies

Despite the differences between assault and domestic violence in Fort Lauderdale, the defense strategies used by Fort Lauderdale defense lawyers are vigorous as it relates to both cases. However, there are more nuances and stronger penalties in domestic violence cases. The main goal is to get any case thrown out or dismissed. When that is not possible, the attorney works hard to obtain the best possible result. There is not much of a difference as it relates to strategy. Any allegation of criminal charges or domestic violence is taken very seriously with similar defense strategies.

Value of Lawyer

There are many nuances regarding the differences between assault and domestic violence in Fort Lauderdale. It is vital that an individual facing assault or domestic violence charges get in touch with a knowledgeable lawyer, who understands the nuances and has an understanding of local policies. An adept defense attorney can use their knowledge to build a strong defense for you.

Leifert & Leifert Criminal Defense

Leifert & Leifert Criminal Defense

1200 S Pine Island Rd #220 Plantation, FL 33324
(954) 424-7433 954-424-2200
Delray Beach
2160 W Atlantic Ave 2nd Floor Delray Beach, FL 33445
(561) 988-8000 561-988-8100