When people think of assault, they tend to group it together with battery. Indeed, the accusations of assault and battery are generally lumped together as dual charges. However, assault and battery are two different crimes in the State of Georgia with important distinctions in how to prepare a proper defense against them.
Athens assault lawyers work with clients to understand these crucial differences and tailor fit defenses to their specific circumstances. Contact an experienced defense attorney today to begin a strong defense against your assault charges.
Assault in Georgia
Simple assault in Georgia is defined as an attempt to commit a violent injury to another person, or committing an act which places another in reasonable apprehension of immediately receiving a violent injury. The first portion of this statute places emphasis on the concept of the attempt.
Here, it is possible to commit a simple assault on another person by trying to punch them. Even though the punch does not connect, assault still applies since an attempt is all that is necessary.
Even if the defendant does not mean to hit another person, the second clause makes an assault charge possible since simply taking an act that could reasonably be construed as violent may be sufficient. If a person is found guilty of simple assault, the crime will be treated as a misdemeanor.
Assault can become more serious based on who the assault was committed against, or if a weapon was used in the assault. This is known as aggravated assault. Examples of aggravating factors include:
- Assault with an intent to rob
- Using a deadly weapon such as a knife or gun
- Assaulting a pregnant woman
- Assaulting an officer
These allegations carry stiffer penalties with a minimum of one year in jail upon conviction with some instances carrying a maximum sentence of 50 years imprisonment. Because of the serious penalties, individuals should quickly contact experienced Athens assault attorneys.
Battery in Georgia
Just as is the case with assault, battery is separated into the simple and aggravated categories. Simple battery is defined as when a person intentionally makes physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with another person or intentionally causes physical harm to another.
Considering the example that was used for assault, when the defendant aims a punch at the plaintiff and connects, they may be guilty of battery. Just as the intent is important in considering assault charges, the intent is necessary for a battery charge. If a person swings their arm reaching for a carton of milk at the grocery store and hits another customer, the prosecutor would have a difficult time demonstrating that they had the intent to harm the other customer. Much like simple assault, simple battery is treated as a misdemeanor.
Aggravated battery requires malicious intent to case bodily harm to another by depriving them of the use of a part of their body or causing them significant damage. The penalty for this is a minimum of one-year imprisonment up to a maximum of 20. There are other examples of aggravated battery including battering an officer or battering a person over the age of 65.
One can now see how assault and battery can often be linked together. Looking at the example of the punch again, the defendant may commit assault when they start to swing at another person since that other person may reasonably fear being punched. The defendant may also have committed battery when their punch connected since they intentionally tried to harm the other person.
Simple assaults and simple battery in Georgia are both treated as misdemeanors. This is a less serious category of crime but still can impose stiff fines and up to one year in jail.
Even if the judge suspends a jail sentence or gives probation after a conviction of a misdemeanor, the conviction will remain on a person’s criminal record.
How an Athens Assault Attorney Can Help
If you have been charged with assault or battery, Athens assault lawyers are available to help. They work with their clients to fully explain the nature and possible consequences of their charges. They listen to your side of the story and examine all the State’s evidence to produce a custom defense given your unique circumstances. From arraignments and bail hearings, to pre-trial motions to a possible trial, assault attorneys in Athens are with you every step of the way.