Under Georgia law, assault is placing someone in reasonable fear of bodily harm through your words or through your conduct. Assault is using words or actions to place another person in fear of great bodily harm, but what differentiates assault from battery is that while assault is the act of causing fear in another, battery involves causing physical harm to another.
When this offense is alleged, a Fulton County assault lawyer can investigate the specific facts and circumstances associated with the charge and determine the strongest course of action to take. To learn more or discuss your case, consult with a defense attorney in Fulton County today.
Simple Assault and Aggravated Assault
In Georgia, simple assault occurs when someone commits an act that causes another person to be in fear of immediately receiving a violent injury, but does not involve the use of a weapon. Aggravated assault may involve the use of a weapon and requires the threat of significant bodily harm, or the fear of death or significant bodily harm.
The penalties for misdemeanor simple assault in Georgia are up to 12 months in jail and fines reaching $1,000, while the penalties imposed on a person convicted of committing aggravated assault can include a prison term lasting anywhere from one to 20 years, thereby making it imperative an assault attorney in Fulton County is contacted.
Long Term Consequences
Assault charges are intimidating to clients because they know they are facing jail time if convicted, and may be faced with a lingering social stigma. Among other social consequences, violent charges such as assault can prevent people from obtaining or maintaining employment, earning certain types of accreditation, and gaining admission to certain schools.
People do not want to associate or spend time with individuals who have violent records, which is common sense both for their own safety and to prevent the risk of becoming negatively associated with the violence. Ridding oneself of a violent stigma is a lifelong, uphill battle, and a Fulton County assault attorney’s goal is to prevent the stigma from manifesting to begin with.
Treatment of Assault
Law enforcement officers in Fulton County assault cases tend to issue arrests first, and ask questions later. If an individual makes a claim of assault and is able to provide some sort of proof or evidence for that claim, the police will arrest the person they believe committed the alleged assault as part of the effort to prevent any additional violent crime or issue from ensuing.
Law enforcement’s investigation period before issuing an arrest for assault is very short. Police officers speak with various sources, to separate witnesses and see if anybody has a contradicting story. Officers examine all available physical evidence to begin building the case, but will generally not conduct a full day of investigation for an assault call. The goal of, and duty assigned to an officer is to break up the situation and ensure that no serious damage or injury takes place.
Building a Defense
A Fulton County assault lawyer has the resources necessary to defend clients against assault charges, and the goal of an assault defense is to identify a third-party witness who observed the incident. The attorney will take witness statements from anyone who may have seen the incident occur, or who may have knowledge of the situation, and will employ an investigator to go observe the scene of the alleged assault.
Oftentimes in assault cases, there is no witness, and the case develops from a he-said-she-said situation. Assault charges are not the easiest offenses to defend, but an attorney with experience will implement their skill set toward identifying some sort of corroborating story that can result in a solid defense against the charges. Generally, in assault cases, all evidence is word-based, therefore, the evidence can present itself through various forms of communication that a defense attorney will know how to find and where to look.