A Guide to Assault & Battery Offenses in Georgia
You may often hear assault and battery listed together as one single charge. However, they are actually two separate offenses. They can be committed at the same time, but they are not mutually exclusive.
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What constitutes an assault varies by state. In Georgia, assault is defined as when an individual acts in a way that makes another person reasonably frightened that they will be violently harmed. It is also defined as when a person attempts to physically injure someone else.
Assault is the threat of battery. There does not need to be any physical violence for the altercation to be considered an assault. For example, threatening to break someone’s arm would be an assault.
Battery is when there is bodily harm done to the victim. Battery is an intentional crime, meaning that you can’t commit a battery on accident. For example, punching someone.
If someone were to threaten to punch someone, invade their personal space, and then punch them, that would be an example of a combined assault and battery charge.
Simple battery charges are typically given for minor injuries.
When the circumstances of the altercation are more severe, a simple charge is increased to an aggravated charge.
Some of the factors that could lead to an aggravated assault charge include:
- If a deadly weapon was present or used
- If there was intent to cause further harm such as murder, rape, or robbery
- If a firearm is fired from inside a motor vehicle directed outward
- If the victim is over 65 years of age
- If the victim is pregnant
Battery becomes an aggravated charge when the physical injuries to the victim are serious.
Injuries that could lead to an aggravated battery charge are:
- Broken bones
- Amputation of limbs
- Traumatic brain injury
Assault and battery are both serious crimes, and when considered an aggravated charge, the penalties become even more severe.
Simple Assault and Battery
Simple assault is a misdemeanor offense. This may be punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and/or up to 12 months in jail. You may also be given one year of probation or restitution payments.
Restitution is a court order that the defendant must pay back the victim for any damages. When ordering restitution, the judge does not take into account whether or not the defendant is financially stable enough to pay. Therefore, this can quickly become an expensive, long-term punishment.
Because simple battery is also a misdemeanor, it has the same potential penalties as simple assault.
Aggravated Assault and Battery
Penalties for aggravated charges are a bit more complicated because they often vary based on the aggravating factor. There is a large range of potential penalties for felony aggravated assault and/or battery.
Penalties may include:
- One to 20 years in prison
- More expensive fines
- Restitution payments
Whether it’s a simple or aggravated charge, it will stay on your criminal record.
If you are facing assault and/or battery charges, you will need a strong defense.
Some potential defenses against assault and battery charges include:
- You had consent to behave in that manner
- There was no intent to harm (remember, this is critical for the definition of what constitutes battery)
- There was no physical contact
- You were defending others or property
If any of these aspects can be proven, it will significantly help your chances of either being found innocent or having your charges reduced/dismissed.
These serious charges can impact the rest of your life by potentially preventing you from voting, finding employment, and more. Hiring a criminal defense attorney will significantly help your case. A skilled lawyer can help argue your defense, collect evidence, and support you through your case. Contact The Abt Law Firm, LLC to get started. Our Atlanta defense attorneys offer free consultations so you can discuss the next steps for fighting your case.