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Assaults and Batteries in Georgia

There is no one crime called "Assault and Battery" in Georgia.  Rather, there are several different crimes that might commonly be called "assault" or "battery."  Most commonly they are: (1) simple assault, pursuant to OCGA 16-5-20; (2) aggravated assault, pursuant to OCGA 16-5-21; (3) simple battery, pursuant to OCGA 16-5-23; (4) battery, pursuant to OCGA 16-5-23.1; (5) family violence battery, pursuant to OCGA 16-5-23.1(f); and (6) aggravated battery, pursuant to OCGA 16-5-24. 

Simple assault is a misdemeanor, usually punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a $1,000 fine.  Under certain circumstances it is punishable as a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature.  Georgia law specifies two different acts that can be charged as simple assault.  First, a person can be charged with simple assault if they "[a]ttempt[] to commit a violent injury to the person of another," such as by throwing a punch that doesn't connect.  OCGA 16-5-20(a)(1).  Second, a person can be charged with simple assault if they "[c]ommit[] an act which places another in reasonable apprehension of immediately receiving a violent injury."  OCGA 16-5-20(a)(2).  Simple assault can become a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature, meaning it is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000, rather than $1,000 for other misdemeanors, and 12 months in jail.  Simple assault can become a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature if: (1) it takes place in a public transit vehicle or station; (2) the alleged victim is a certain type of relation to the defendant, as specified in OCGA 16-5-20(d); (3) the victim is 65 years' old or older; (4) the victim is a public school employee who is working; or (5) the victim is a pregnant woman.  

Aggravated Assault is a felony, normally punishable by up to 20 years' imprisonment.  Georgia law specifies that a person can be charged with aggravated assault if they assault a person: (1) "with intent to murder, to rape, or to rob;" (2) "[w]ith a deadly weapon or with any object, device, or instrument which, when used offensively against a person, is likely to or actually does result in serious bodily injury;" (3) "[w]ith any object, device, or instrument which, when used offensively against a person, is likely to or actually does result in strangulation;" or (4) "without legal justification by discharging a firearm from within a motor vehicle toward a person or persons."  OCGA 16-5-21.  Aggravated assault is a very serious charge and Georgia law regarding aggravated assault is much more complicated than it appears from only reading the statute.  Courts have held that an incredibly wide variety of objects, devices, and instruments are likely to result in serious bodily injury.  A person charged with aggravated assault should speak with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. 

Simple battery is a misdemeanor, usually punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a $1,000 fine.  Under certain circumstances it is punishable as a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature. Georgia law specifies two different acts that can be charged as simple battery.  First, a person can be charged with simple battery if they "[i]ntentionally make[] physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with the person of another."  OCGA 16-5-23(a)(1).  Second, a person can be charged with simple battery if they "[i]ntentionally cause[] physical harm to another."  OCGA 16-5-23(a)(2).  Simple battery can become a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature, meaning it is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000, rather than $1,000 for other misdemeanors, and 12 months in jail, if: (1) it takes place in a public transit vehicle or station; (2) the alleged victim is a certain type of relation to the defendant, as specified in OCGA 16-5-23(f); (3) the victim is 65 years' old or older; (4) the victim is a public school employee who is working; (5) the victim is a law enforcement officer in the course of their duty; (6) the defendant is an employee or volunteer at a nursing home, long-term care facility, etc., and the victim is a person who is receiving services from one of the specified places; (7) the victim is a pregnant woman; or (8) the victim is a sports officials officiating an amateur contest.  OCGA 16-5-21(c)-(i).

Battery is usually a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a $1,000 fine.  Under certain circumstances it is punishable as a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature, or as a felony.  According to OCGA 16-5-23.1(a), a person commits battery when they "intentionally cause[] substantial physical harm or visible bodily harm to another."  Visible bodily harm "means bodily harm capable of being perceived by a person other than the victim."  OCGA 16-5-23.1(b).  A third or subsequent conviction for battery against the same victim will be a felony, punishable by one to five years' imprisonment. See OCGA 16-5-23.1(e).  Also, a battery against a teacher or other school employee will be a felony if the victim was working or on school property.  OCGA 16-5-23.1(i).  Finally, a battery where the defendant is an employee or volunteer at a nursing home, long-term care facility, etc., and the victim is a person who is receiving services from one of the specified places, will be a felony, punishable by one to five years' imprisonment and a fine of up to $2,000, or both.  OCGA 16-5-23.1(k).  Battery will be a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature, meaning it is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000, rather than $1,000 for other misdemeanors, and 12 months in jail, if: (1) it takes place in a public transit vehicle or station, OCGA 16-5-23.1(g); (2) the victim is 65 years' old or older, OCGA 16-5-23.1(j); or (3) the victim is a pregnant woman, OCGA 16-5-23.1(h); or (4) the victim is a sports officials officiating an amateur contest, OCGA 16-5-23.1(l).  If the victim of a battery is a "household member," then the crime is "family violence battery," discussed in more detail in the next paragraph.

 

Family violence battery occurs when a battery is committed between household members.  According to OCGA 16-5-23.1(f), household members means "past or present spouses, persons who are parents of the same child, parents and children, stepparents and stepchildren, foster parents and foster children, or other persons living or formerly living in the same household."  Family violence battery is usually a misdemeanor, but it can be a felony depending on whether a person has certain previous convictions.  Family violence battery cases in Georgia are exceptionally complicated to defend against.  Will Kelbaugh has defended dozens and dozens of family violence battery cases.  Mr. Kelbaugh uses all of his experience and expertise to achieve the best results possible for clients charged with family violence battery.    

 

Finally, aggravated battery is a felony, punishable by 1 to 20 years' imprisonment.  OCGA 16-5-24(b). 
 Aggravated battery means that a person "maliciously causes bodily harm to another by depriving him or her of a member of his or her body, by rendering a member of his or her body useless, or by seriously disfiguring his or her body or a member thereof."  OCGA 16-5-24(a).  Aggravated battery is a very serious charge and a person charged with aggravated battery should speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney such as Will Kelbaugh as soon as possible. 

If you or a loved one are charged with any type of assault or battery, call the Kelbaugh Firm to discuss your options.  

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