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Aggravated Assault in Georgia: Minimum Prison Time under OCGA 16-5-21

Many people confuse the word "assault" with the term "battery." Simply put,battery comes from an actual touching or making contact, and assault is limited to situations where words, actions and conduct falls short of making contact.

Under GA Code Section 16-5-20, this is what a battery is. Battery is actual offensive or insulting physical contact, such as punching another person or hitting someone with an object. Striking another person with a fist during an argument or pushing someone are straightforward examples of battery.

In Georgia, assault and battery crimes consist of simple assault (misdemeanor), aggravated assault, simple battery (misdemeanor), battery, and aggravated battery. This article concerns aggravated assault laws. For information on simple assaults and batteries, see Georgia Assault and Battery Laws.

Under GA Code Section 16-5-23, This Is What Constitutes an Assault

Assault in Georgia is the attempt to cause another person physical injury. By way of example, swinging and missing another citizen with a fist or other object (e.g., a broom) is assault when the fear generated within the victim is real and legitimate.

Assault charges can be pursued by a prosecutor even when no overt act like swinging a fist occurred. In Georgia case law, these instances usually involve a threat of physical harm to another human being, which reasonably causes that other person to feel afraid of such threatened violence.

Aggravated assault in Georgia is defined as being an assault with the intent to murder, rape, or rob another person. This assault may have occurred by use of a deadly weapon or some sort of object (e.g., an aluminum soda or beer can) that is likely to inflict a serious injury. A second way can be by strangulation (by use of hands or an object, like the cord off a table lamp).

Another type of aggravated assault in GA occurs by an accused person discharging (in the direction of another) a firearm, when that is done from a motor vehicle. Because it is impossible to get "inside the head" of an accused felon, the law contemplates that eyewitness descriptions of the acts that took place will supply the necessary evidence to support the felony charge of GA aggravated assault.

Felony Aggravated Assault in Georgia Defined

OCGA 16-5-21:

A person commits the offense of aggravated assault when he or she assaults:

  • With intent to murder, to rape, or to rob;
  • With a deadly weapon or with any object, device, or instrument which, when used offensively against a person, is likely to or actually does result in serious bodily injury;
  • With any object, device, or instrument which, when used offensively against a person, is likely to or actually does result in strangulation; or
  • The crime of aggravated assault also can be committed by a person or persons without legal justification by discharging a firearm from within a motor vehicle toward a person or persons.
Minimum Prison Time for GA Aggravated Assault on Certain Type of Victims Child Rape Aggravated Assault

Georgia's toughest Agg Assault incarceration penalties come from aggravated assault in connection with rape of a child under the age of fourteen. Here, our statute requires: Any person who commits the offense of aggravated assault with intent to rape against a child under the age of 14 years shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than 25 nor more than 50 years.

Correctional Officer Minimum and Maximum Prison Time

Under subsection (e)(2), A person who knowingly commits the offense of aggravated assault upon a correctional officer while the correctional officer is engaged in, or on account of the performance of, his or her official duties shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished by imprisonment for not less than five nor more than 20 years. This same prison sentence is applicable for an aggravated assault conviction for attacking an operator of public transit vehicle like an 18-wheeler involved in interstate commerce.

An Officer of the Court System

Additionally, this range of punishment on any officer of the court, including a probation officer or court reporter is applicable. The Georgia legislature seems to have ramped up the required minimum jail time for vulnerable and unarmed targets of perpetrators.

A Sampling of Defenses to Assault and Battery Crimes

Alibi : I was not there, but can prove I was someplace else

Incorrect identification: When a stranger on stranger attack occurs and forensic evidence is lacking to tie the crime to a specific person, eyewitness identification can be tremendously unreliable.

Defense of Property: If you used reasonable force when defending your property, such as your home, then you may have an argument that the assault was justified. Your Georgia Aggravated Assault Attorney will assist you in arguing that the force used was necessary, and therefore, the assault charges should be dropped.

Defense of others: Any person who sees an attack happening or "in motion," can protect others. By way of example, if a person standing in line at a grocery store starts to beat his wife, another person trying to shield her from blows may be justified.

Any time a good, provable defense can be shown to have existed, your criminal lawyer near me may be able to convince the prosecuting attorney to drop the charges. For example, if your criminal law attorney was able to procure the store video from a Wal-Mart that showed that the accused citizen only interceded in an incident to protect a victim of domestic violence GA, then it is possible to have a nolle prosequi GA (dismissal) filed by the assistant DA before court ever started.

Hiring a Criminal Attorney Near Me for Aggravated Assault in GA Charges

After reviewing these penalties and potential prison time minimum punishments, the necessity for experienced and skilled trial attorneys is apparent. Our law firm offers a FREE consultation, if you need to ask more about our credentials and knowledge of your court prosecutor and assigned judge. Call today to obtain a free lawyer consultation: (404) 567-5515. Cory Yager, William Head or Larry Kohn can assist you on the case.

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