Overview of Assault and Battery Laws in Georgia
Provided by HG.org
Georgia assault and battery crimes include “simple” offenses along with “aggravated” offenses. These legal distinctions are very important regarding the nature of criminal charges against a defendant and the potential penalties that the defendant is facing.
Georgia simple assault is defined as the attempt to cause physical injury to another person. This definition extends to an unborn child. Actual physical injury does not have to occur in order for the act to be considered criminal. For example, if a person threatens to beat someone else up and it is reasonably possible that the person can carry out the threat and the victim believes that he or she intends to do so, this can be considered simple assault in Georgia.
This crime is considered a misdemeanor in Georgia
Simple battery in Georgia does not involve physical contact. It includes hitting another person with one’s own body part or hitting someone with an object. To be criminal in nature, the act must be intentional. However, the person does not have to have the intent to injure the other person. The definition extends to having physical contact with something attached to the person, such as his or her hat or other clothing.
This is considered a misdemeanor in Georgia.
Battery is defined as intentionally causing substantial physical or visible bodily harm to the victim. This crime includes causing a black eye, swollen lip or bruise to another person. This crime is also considered a misdemeanor in Georgia.
Simple assault, simple battery and battery are usually considered misdemeanor offenses under Georgia law. However, these crimes can also be charged as aggravated misdemeanors, which are more heavily penalized. A crime may be considered aggravated in Georgia due to the identity of the victim. For example, an aggravated misdemeanor may be charged when the victim is a family member, intimate partner, pregnant, an elderly person, a law enforcement officer or a public school employee.
Other assault and battery crimes are considered aggravated because of the location where the crime is committed. For example, it can be aggravated assault or battery when the crime occurs on school property, on a bus, at a bus stop or in a public transit station or vehicle.
A defendant who is convicted of a misdemeanor faces a maximum incarceration period of 12 months in jail and a fine up to $1,000. He or she may be responsible for paying a separate amount of restitution for the damages that the victim suffered. Additionally, the defendant can be sentenced to probation for one year.
Penalties for Aggravated Misdemeanors
Aggravated misdemeanor convictions can result in sentences up to one year in jail, a fine up to $5,000, probation up to one year and the requirement to pay restitution.
If a person is not a first-time offender, he or she may face harsher penalties. If a person is convicted of a subsequent battery offense against the same victim, enhanced penalties may be imposed against the defendant. After so many convictions, the crime can be charged as a felony. Additionally, if a person is convicted of subsequent battery offenses against the victim, this notice of conviction is required to be published in a community newspaper that accompanies the defendant’s mug shot.
The court may choose to impose probation as a complete substitute to any jail time, or it can opt to include probation after a person has served some jail time. If a person is given probation in Georgia, he or she must meet on a regular basis with his or her assigned probation officer. He or she is given certain conditions for release, such as staying off of drugs and alcohol, not being permitted around others who have a criminal history, performing a certain number of hours of community service, attending counseling and avoiding any criminal activity. If the defendant violates a condition of his or her probation, he or she can be required to serve the remainder of his or her sentence in jail.
Seek Legal Assistance from an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer
Criminal defendants who are facing charges for assault or battery may consider talking to an experienced Georgia criminal defense lawyer. An experienced lawyer can investigate the case and determine what legal options are available. He or she may help file a motion to dismiss the case where appropriate. Alternatively, he or she can pursue a favorable plea bargain agreement on behalf of the defendant.
Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.