Domestic violence charges carry hefty fines, may result in jail time, and force you to comply with a Georgia temporary protection order (TPO). Having an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side can help to minimize the penalties you face.

If you have been charged with a domestic violence crime, contact a Forsyth County domestic violence lawyer right away to discuss your situation, analyze your options, and determine the right course of action for you. A qualified attorney can point you in the right direction.

Georgia Family Violence Act

Simply stated, Georgia’s Family Violence Act (FVA) protects family members from being abused by other family members. To be charged with domestic or family violence, there must be, 1) a special familial “relationship” between the accused and the victim, and 2) allegations of certain offenses. These are the five types of relationships which form a basis of a domestic or family violence claim. The key is they had or have to be members of the same household:

  • Foster parents and foster children
  • Parents and children
  • Parents of the same child
  • Spouses (both past and present)
  • Stepparents and stepchildren

Also included in this list are other people living (or formerly living) in the same household, which might include boyfriends, girlfriends, extended family members, friends, and others. Talk to a Forsyth County domestic violence lawyer for more information on the laws.

Offenses

These are the eight types of offenses which form a basis of domestic or family violence claim:

  • Simple battery – Pushing, shoving, and intentionally making physical contact in a provoking nature with does not necessarily result in physical harm. This is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail, fines up to $1,000, probation, and restitution – GA Code Sec. 16-5-23
  • Battery – Also referred to as aggravated battery, it is causing visible bodily harm. This is a felony punishable by one to 20 years in prison minimum, fines, and restitution – GA Code Sec. 16-5-24
  • Simple assault  – Causing a reasonable apprehension of immediately receiving a violent injury. This is a misdemeanor punishable by one year in jail, fines up to $1,000, probation, and restitution – GA Code Sec. 16-5-20
  • Assault – Also referred to as aggravated assault, it is the actual assault of another person. If aggravated, it is a felony punishable by one to 20 years in prison, fines, and restitution – GA Code Sec. 16-5-21
  • Stalking (Following, watching, or contacting another person without their consent to harass or intimidate that person. Stalking in Georgia is generally a misdemeanor, but can become a felony for subsequent abuses. This is punishable by one to 10 years in prison and fines up to $10,000 – GA Code Sec. 60-5-90)
  • Criminal damage to property – Intentionally damaging any property of another, or maliciously interfering with that property without the consent of the other person. This is a felony punishable by one to 10 years in prison and fines – GA Code Sec. 16-7-21
  • Unlawful restraint – Knowingly and intentionally restraining another person without that person’s consent and without legal justification. Classifications and punishments may vary – GA Code Sec. 16-12-100
  • Criminal trespass – Intentionally defacing, mutilating, or defiling any grave marker, monument, or memorial. This is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail, plus fines – GA Code Sec. 16-7-21

Protective Orders

Whatever the offense, chances are that a temporary protection order (TPO) will be issued, which can:

  • Affect visitation and custody rights, as well as child support payments
  • Force a person to leave their home
  • Interfere with the right to possess firearms
  • Prevent a person from contacting their spouse, children, girlfriend, or boyfriend
  • Require a person to complete a Family Violence Batterer’s Intervention Program (BIP)

A person may also be forced to pay attorneys’ fees to the other side.

Contact a Forsyth County Family Violence Attorney

The bottom line is that domestic violence charges can have a significantly negative effect on your reputation. If you have been charged with domestic violence, a Forsyth County domestic violence attorney can discuss your pending charge, possible defenses, and/or bond modification.