If someone is charged with assault in the State of Georgia, it can mean any number of things. Georgia laws concerning assault are separated into simple assault, aggravated assault, simple battery, and aggravated battery.
Each of these categories have their own definitions and potential penalties. With so much variety and nuance to assault laws in Georgia, people who are charged with assault can become confused and frustrated.
They often ask for more information about their charges, what the potential penalties can be, and what a Walton County assault lawyer can do for them. Experienced criminal attorneys answer these questions daily and can work with potential clients to achieve the best possible results in their circumstances.
Categorizing Assault Offenses
Simple assault is the attempt to commit violent harm to another person, or taking an action that places another person in fear of physical harm. It is important to understand that there does not need to be any actual touching for this to occur.
Simply threatening to punch someone in the face for example, could result in an assault charge. There are a number of more serious instances of assault, known as aggravating factors, that make the crime more severe. These include assaulting a family member, assaulting a school employee, and assaulting a pregnant woman. The full body of the law is contained in Georgia Code Title 16-5-20.
Aggravated assault carries the same definition as simple assault in that a threat of physical harm is sufficient. However, aggravated assault is considered to be more severe due to the use of a weapon, or the assault happening during the commission of another crime. Aggravated assault carries harsher penalties than simple assault, the full definitions can be found in Georgia Code Title 16-5-21.
What Does Battery Mean?
Simple battery is intentionally making physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature to another person, or intentionally causing physical harm to another. Therefore, pushing someone during an argument is enough to warrant a simple battery charge. It is not necessary that the person who was pushed suffer any harm. Just as in simple assault, there are a number of aggravating factors including battery on a police officer, family member, or sports official. More information about simple battery can be found in Georgia Code Title 16-5-23.
Defining Aggravated Battery
Aggravated battery differs from the concept of aggravated assault in that not only is the target of the battery a factor, but also the nature of the injuries and intent of the accused. For aggravated battery to apply, a person must commit malicious bodily harm to another that renders the victim’s body useless, or that causes significant bodily harm. The full definition is found in Georgia Code Title 16-5-24.
Regardless of which of these four categories under which our clients are charged, our firm’s Walton County assault lawyers comprehend the nuances of all potential charges and work with clients to better understand them.
Potential Penalties for Assault
Just as there are four categories of charges, there are varied levels of penalties. A simple assault charge without an aggravating factor is considered to be a misdemeanor. This carries a maximum of one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
If the assault charge is considered to be of a high and aggravated nature, the jail term remains up to one year, but the fine increases to $5,000 and may be levied in addition to jail time.
Potential penalties for aggravated assault are far more severe with penalties ranging from a minimum of one year in jail to twenty years incarceration. The exact penalties are found in the aggravated assault statute. Simple battery is treated identically to simple assault for sentencing purposes. Individuals can face up to one year in jail or a fine for simple battery.
If there is a factor that make the misdemeanor high and aggravated this increases the potential fines. Aggravated battery is treated in the same way as aggravated assault with required jail time of no less than one year with a potential of twenty years.
Speaking with a Lawyer
Being charged with any crime, including assault, is a daunting and frightening experience. From appearing in court, to dealing with aggressive prosecutors, to a potential trial, the process can be intimidating.
Walton County assault lawyer s work with clients through the entire process from arraignment to trial. They will examine every aspect of your case, talk to witnesses, scrutinize the evidence, and work with you to achieve a positive result in your unique circumstance. Contact today.