Being accused of any criminal offense is something that can bring feelings of shame, uncertainty, and unmitigated panic. This is certainly the case when the charges lodged involve assault against another person. It is important for everyone to realize that in Georgia, the crime of assault does not necessarily need to include physical contact with the alleged victim.
The fact of the matter is that charges can be lodged even in cases where another individual feels or fears that they are in imminent danger of unwanted contact. As a result, allegations of assault can arise under circumstances which most observers would find quite surprising.
Given the potentially serious consequences of any assault conviction to personal liberty, employment prospects and other key aspects of life, it is vital for any accused individual to seek the aid of a Georgia assault lawyer possessing significant experience defending the rights of those accused and seeking justice on their behalf.
Assault Statutes in Georgia
According to O.C.G.A. § 16-5-20, simple assault represents the most basic category of assault charge lodged in Georgia. This type of offense involves an attempt to utilize violence against another individual or make threats of violence such that the other party does, in fact, fear imminent harm.
A simple assault is a misdemeanor, according to Georgia law, and as such will typically be punishable by no more than one year in jail and/or monetary fines and community service requirements.
Aggravated assault is a far more serious charge, and according to O.C.G.A. § 16-5-21, those convicted of such an offense are guilty of a felony punishable by a term of imprisonment ranging from one to 20 years, from three to 20 years if the aggravated assault was perpetrated against someone 65 or older or from five to 20 years if against a correctional officer.
Crimes within this category involve an assault committed concurrently with an intent to rape, murder or rob another; an assault committed with a deadly weapon or an assault in which a firearm is discharged from a moving vehicle.
Not unlike assault offenses, battery crimes in Georgia are also classified as being simple or aggravated, depending on the surrounding circumstances. Simple battery is a misdemeanor which involves an intentional making of physical contact with another that is of a provoking or insulting nature or the intentional infliction of physical harm to another.
Aggravated battery, as defined by O.C.G.A. § 16-5-24, is the intentional infliction of a severe injury such as physical disfigurement, loss of a limb or other such harm to another. The aggravated offense is a felony, carrying with it longer terms of incarceration and more onerous financial penalties than simple battery making it imperative an assault lawyer in Georgia is contacted.
Potential Legal Defenses
Considering the severity of the sanctions which can follow an assault conviction in Georgia, it is critical that accused individuals act swiftly to secure the most vigorous legal defense possible. Defenses to assault and battery charges do indeed exist, with self-defense being particularly viable in many cases.
An affirmative defense of this nature involves admitting the fact that an assault or battery did occur, but also arguing that the accused had a legitimate fear for his or her safety and that nothing more than reasonable force was employed.
While a Georgia assault attorney will always make every effort to achieve a significant reduction or dismissal of pending charges, there may be times when such an outcome is simply impossible. Under such a scenario, a seasoned practitioner will bring deft plea negotiation skills to bear in order to secure favorable terms and minimize the penalties ultimately imposed.
How a Lawyer Can Help
Criminal convictions can wreak very real havoc on the lives of individuals, and it is incumbent upon anyone accused of assault to seek a vigorous legal defense. A Georgia assault lawyer will work tirelessly to mitigate the damage to reputation, livelihood and relationships criminal charges are known to bring. For more information about how we can help, contact us today.