By: Larry Kohn, Criminal Defense Lawyer Atlanta
Georgia defines domestic violence charges as any felony or battery, simple battery, assault, aggravated assault, stalking, criminal damage to property, or criminal trespass (damage less than $500) that takes place between members of the same household or formerly of the same household. This group includes parents of the same child, past or present spouses, foster parents, parents, and children. The criminal charge of family violence may be a precursor to a divorce, and family disruption.
Facing a domestic violence or family violence battery charge is a stressful experience, where someone must worry about the potential of a conviction and the many potential social and financial consequences that could follow them. Then, review your options for hiring an experienced criminal attorney Atlanta GA to represent you. The top criminal lawyers near me will have high lawyer ratings with multiple, trusted legal industry organizations than you will find in an online lawyer directory calling for GA family violence advocates to bid for your case.
Therefore, skilled and experienced Georgia domestic violence attorneys will be essential if you are facing charges, as they can work hard to develop a course of action that will help you receive a desirable outcome. An experienced attorney will have handled many domestic violence cases and will be able to give you the best possible defense for your case. With this level of experience, you can be confident in knowing there is a defense lawyer who can point you in the right direction. En Español.
Georgia Domestic Violence Laws
Under Georgia law, domestic violence includes a variety of criminal activity including battery, simple battery, assault, simple assault, stalking, criminal damage to property, unlawful restraint, and criminal trespassing. Violence between family members is the primary aspect of domestic violence and includes aggressive behavior towards current and former spouses, and parents and their children.
A person arrested for domestic violence will typically have to spend the night of their arrest in jail. Someone cannot be bailed out until they have appeared before a judge, which usually means they will be in jail for at least 24 hours. A first-time conviction for domestic violence or family violence battery is punishable as a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature, and that person could potentially pay a fine of up to $5,000 and spend a maximum of 12 months in jail. Each additional conviction for domestic violence will be punished as a felony and could result in a maximum jail sentence of up to five years, making it imperative that a domestic violence attorney in Georgia is consulted immediately.
Definition Of Domestic Violence In Georgia
In a nutshell, the definition of domestic violence or family violence is the criminal act of abusive behavior that is manifested by harmful physical or emotional actions within a domestic (family or household) unit. The victim can be a family member or person in an intimate relationship (past or present), whether the parties are married or not. Plus, Georgia laws extend to parents of the same child, foster parents, stepparents, siblings, or grandparents.
The illegal actions can occur through a myriad of forms of abuse that can include forcing sex, physical violence, psychological abuse, or other abusive behavior. Signs of emotional abuse or other types of domestic violence often begin with a small incident but escalate to domestic abuse over time.
Long Term Consequences of A Domestic Violence Conviction
While paying fines and facing jail time are the typical consequences of domestic violence convictions, other sanctions can be handed out that will negatively affect the quality of a person’s life. One of the first things that can happen to a person charged with domestic violence is that they can be issued a protective order mandating they stay away from the other party and have no contact with that person. Within 30 days of filing a domestic violence suit, a hearing will take place to discuss the allegations, and a judge may decide that a Family Violence Protection Order is necessary to keep the prosecution safe.
Further, if a convicted person is caught with a firearm, they could face up to 10 years in jail and find it difficult to gain employment once they are released. Visitation limitations are also frequently mandated for those who have committed domestic violence. A judge can reduce and set conditions on a person’s visitation rights, including supervised visits or the completion of a family violence intervention program with the help of a domestic violence defense lawyer in Georgia. All of these sanctions can be implemented by a judge and can drastically affect the quality of a person’s day-to-day life.
A court can grant a protective order based upon the filing of a party. The order may direct a person to:
- refrain from acts of violence
- grant a party possession of a household
- exclude a party from the household
- require a party to provide suitable alternative housing
- award temporary child custody of one or more children and establish visitation schedules
- order a party to make payments for a minor
- provide for spousal support
- provide possession of personal items, award costs, and attorney fees
- order the person against whom the restraining order was taken to get psychiatric care and other types of counseling, especially in sexual assault cases.
These orders typically last a year but can be extended to three years or even become permanent. The protective orders can force a person to stay away from that party, move out of their shared house, or provide the other party with a place to live during that time. While a protective order can certainly limit a person’s choices, their right to bear arms is also in jeopardy if convicted of domestic violence. Federal law prohibits a person from possessing firearms or ammunition if a person has been convicted of domestic violence or is subject to specific protection orders.
Understanding Ex Parte Relief
A person who is seeking relief files a petition with the Superior Court in their jurisdiction alleging one or more acts of family violence. If this petition establishes probable cause that family violence has occurred in the past and may occur in the future, the Court can order temporary ex parte relief. This relief happens without the need for any hearing. Once a judge signs this order, the other party must be served and abide by the order.
However, within ten days and no longer than 30 days, a hearing must take place where the person who filed the petition must present their case to a judge to determine if the allegations are true. They do not need to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The person just needs to show that the allegations are more likely than not, true.
Working With an Attorney on a Plan to Clear Your Record
If a person has been charged with domestic violence, it is crucial that they understand all the consequences that can come with a conviction. Our experienced Atlanta area law firm has three top Atlanta criminal lawyers ready to give immediate legal advice and will try to help you avoid a criminal conviction. Sometimes this advice means that we will recommend domestic violence programs for a client that needs these charges to disappear. You will want an experienced trial lawyer for such complex cases with thousands of criminal cases under his or her belt.
Cory Yager, criminal lawyer Atlanta GA, was a police officer for nearly a decade and understands these cases at a different level than most criminal law attorneys. Bubba Head is considered by many to be the best criminal defense Atlanta attorney and is top-rated with both Super Lawyers and Best Law Firms in America. Once you hire a member of our law group, the attorney-client relationship is established, and all that you tell us is confidential.
These charges should be taken seriously and require the help of a knowledgeable attorney who will not be intimidated by the prosecution or the situation at hand. If you have been charged with domestic violence and need guidance, you should contact Georgia domestic violence lawyers who can provide you with a clear defense strategy and will be able to produce an advantageous outcome.
Our law office accepts calls 24 hours a day to our family violence lawyers in GA. Our lawyers in Atlanta have been representing clients for over 73 collective years of experience. For a FREE lawyer consultation, call us NOW at 404-567-5515. While 85% of our cases are in Fulton County Superior Court, Cobb County Superior Court, Gwinnett County Superior Court, and DeKalb County Superior Court, our law office offers statewide coverage.
Georgia Non-Profit for Domestic Violence Victims (Atlanta domestic violence hotline)
Title: Quick Legal Action
By: Howard Landsman
Such a relief was having Lawrence Kohn on my side....nobody plans to get involved with personal legal troubles...... but if you do.....you want to have the legal knowledge and professionalism to solve your problem as quickly as possible. My personal recent experience with Lawrence Kohn was quite impressive.....each and every time I had to reach out to Lawrence he either had an immediate answer or if need be an answer or resolution within a couple of hours.....not sure where I'd be today had it not been the quick legal action of Lawrence.....I would recommend the Kohn & Yager legal team each and every time.....