Domestic violence occurs where there is a family or domestic relationship between the person committing the act of violence and the alleged victim. Domestic violence or family violence charges can come not only where serious injury has occurred, but also where there might have been less forceful acts, aggressive behavior, or intimidation.
It is important to take domestic violence charges very seriously, as a conviction can potentially lead to imprisonment. There are also consequences that impact families, such as a person being ordered to stay away from members of their family pursuant to a family violence protective order.
This is why you should seek the guidance of an Athens domestic violence lawyer as soon as you are able. A family violence defense attorney in Athens can help build your defense as soon as possible.
Domestic Violence Laws in Georgia
In Georgia, the Family Violence Protective Act applies between:
- People who live or used to live in the same household
- People who are parents of the same child
- Parents and children, including step- and foster family situations
One important aspect of domestic violence law in Athens is that the same crime has more serious consequences when it also involves alleged domestic violence. For instance, simple assault, such as striking another person, is a misdemeanor punished by up to one year in prison and up to a $1,000 fine.
If the simple assault occurs between two people in a domestic relationship, however, the misdemeanor is considered aggravated and carries up to a $5,000 fine and one year in prison. There are also greater restrictions on receiving credit on the sentence for days served, so that a person is more likely to spend more time behind bars. Other crimes such as battery also carry harsher punishments if they are a crime of domestic violence.
Another domestic violence crime is the violation of a family violence protective order. Judges can order a person who committed an act of domestic violence to not contact and stay away from members of their family or former household members. The protective order itself is not a criminal penalty, but violating the terms of the order is a crime under Georgia law. If someone is convicted of violating a protective order, they face up to one year in jail and up to a $1,000 fine.
Having a family violence protective order entered against a person can have long-term consequences, including being ordered to leave the family home and having limited or no contact with one’s children.
An attorney familiar with domestic violence laws in Athens will help someone navigate their particular situation. There may be defenses to the charges and options to reduce their charges or the harshness of their sentence, such as taking classes about family violence.
Talk to an Athens Domestic Violence Attorney Today
Domestic violence charges and protective orders can potentially impact not just your criminal record, but your relationships with your family. The right Athens family violence attorney will advise you and fight for you.