Domestic violence occurs where there is a familial or domestic relationship between the person committing the act of violence and the alleged victim. Convictions for family violence have potentially grave consequences, including having a criminal record and, in some cases, serving time in prison.

Not only that, but a domestic violence offense can have a profound impact on someone’s relationship with their family if they are the subject of a protective order. If you or someone you know has been charged with a domestic violence crime, it is important to understand the law and consult a skilled criminal attorney who can fight for you. If a loved one has received notice of a protective order against them, contact a Smyrna domestic violence lawyer as soon as possible.

Domestic Violence Laws

In Georgia, the Family Violence Act covers people in the following types of relationships:

  • Spouses (both current and former)
  • Parents of the same child
  • Parents and children
  • Stepparents and stepchildren
  • Foster parents and children
  • Current or former household members

One important aspect of domestic violence law in Georgia is that a crime has more serious consequences when it also involves alleged domestic violence. For instance, simple assault, such as striking another person, is a misdemeanor punishable 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, the misdemeanor is considered high and aggravated. 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 (O.C.G.A. § § 16-5-20, 17-10-4, 42-4-7). Other crimes, including battery, also carry harsher punishments if they are a crime of domestic violence.

Smyrna Protective Orders

Another area that can lead to criminal charges is family violence protective orders (O.C.G.A. § § 19-13-3 and 19-13-4). Judges can order a person who committed an act of domestic violence to not contact and not go near members of their family or former household members. It is imperative an individual facing abuse charges speak with a Smyrna domestic violence lawyer regarding their case.

This can even include being ordered to vacate the family home, even if the person owns the home. A protective order is not a criminal conviction, but can be a serious constraint on a person’s liberty. Violating a protective order is a crime punishable by up to one year in jail and up to a $1,000 fine. Protective orders can be renewed and even become permanent.

If someone has received notice that another person is seeking a protective order against them, or been charged with a crime of domestic violence, there are possible defenses. For example, Georgia law expressly protects the parent’s right to reasonably discipline their child. An attorney will investigate an accused person’s case and determine what grounds there might be to fight the charges.

Working with a Lawyer

Being charged with domestic violence is a serious matter, but there are often ways to improve the situation. A Smyrna domestic violence lawyer will help you to make smart decisions amidst the fear and stress if you face charges, and find ways to defend and fight for you. While family violence cases in Smyrna are treated seriously, there are many defenses including self-defense and other issues that make a person immune from prosecution.