Georgia assault laws include the offenses of both “assault” and “battery” and the statutes make it very clear that both of these offenses are taken very seriously in court. If you are facing a misdemeanor assault charge or even a felony battery charge, you want to be certain you have an advocate on your side working on your behalf.
While being informed about the laws is important, knowing all of the options available to you and just how the Georgia criminal courts work can seem overwhelming to someone not in the legal field. We can put you in contact with a local attorney willing to help you with your assault charges.
The difference between assault and battery is simple. Assault is the threat of or attempted harm of another person whereas battery involves actual physical contact and potential harm.
Ref: Ga. Criminal Code §16-5-20
Simple Assault Laws In Georgia
Simple assault is a misdemeanor charge under Georgia law. You could be facing this charge is you attempt to commit a violent injury on someone else or if you put them in a situation where it’s reasonable they can be injured in such a manner.
Generally, this charge is punishable by up to 1 year in prison and fines reaching $1,000. However, there are situations where simple assault is charged as a misdemeanor of high and aggravated nature.
If the assault you allegedly committed involved a firearm, public transportation, a pregnant woman, a public school employee, a senior citizen, or if it was a domestic assault (committed against a family member), it could be filed as a misdemeanor of high and aggravated nature. This type of offense is punishable by one year in prison and $5,000 in fines.
Still not a battery crime, meaning it doesn’t involve physical contact, aggravated assault is considered an extremely serious offense. In general this is a felony charge that carries a potential 1 to 20 year prison sentence.
You could be facing aggravated assault charges if it’s believed the assault was committed with the intent of robbing, raping, or murdering someone. It can also be applied if the assault was committed with a weapon capable of causing serious injury or with a vehicle.
Keep in mind, this refers to a threat or the act of putting someone in a potentially harmful situation. You can face aggravated assault charges without so much as touching another person.
There are certain situations that can elevate the potential sentence for aggravated assault. In these cases, a mandatory minimum sentence can be imposed. For instance, if the assault was against a cop you could face 5-20 years. If it was against a senior citizen or in a domestic situation, you could face 3-20 years.
The best way to know for certain the potential sentence you are facing is to consult with a local attorney.
Simple battery is the criminal charge applied when it’s believed that you intentionally caused harm to someone or if you so much as touch them in a provoking or insulting manner.
In general, this offense is a misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of 1 year in jail and $1,000 in fines. However, like simple assault, there are situations that can elevate simple battery to a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature.
Your simple battery charge could be a misdemeanor of high and aggravated nature if it’s determined the victim was pregnant, over 65, a police officer, a caregiver, school employee, or if the crime is domestic. This misdemeanor is also punishable by up to one year but carries potential fines up to $5,000.
The most serious of assault crimes, aggravated battery is a felony that carries a 1 to 20 year prison sentence at minimum. You may be facing this charge if it’s believed you maliciously caused bodily harm to another by seriously disfiguring them, rendering a part of their body useless, or depriving them of a member of their body.
Who the victim is and where the offense occurs can impact the potential sentence just as in other assault charges. For instance, if the assault is against a police officer, you could be facing 10 to 20 years in prison for this offense.