Assault and Family Violence Can be a Felony or Misdemeanor in Georgia

Family Violence

Before dealing with classic "assault" cases, you need a basic understanding of a thread common to many assault type offenses - Family Violence. Please read the Family Violence Section first if you have been charged under the Family Violence Act with one of the offenses listed on this page or any felony.

 

Assault Offenses

For purposes of this section, I will include the following offenses in assault :

  • Simple Assault is a misdemeanor in Georgia

    • Definition Of Simple Assault

      • A simple assault occurs when you:

        • 1) Attempt to commit a violent injury to another; or
          2) Commit an act that places another in apprehension of receiving violent injury.

    • Penalties For Simple Assault

      • Simple assault is a misdemeanor. In certain circumstances it is a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature.

    • Penalties For Simple Assault Under The Family Violence Act

      • Under the Family Violence Act, it is a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature.

OCGA § 16-5-20

  • Simple Battery is a misdemeanor in Georgia

    • Definition of Simple Battery

      • A simple battery occurs when you:

        • 1) Make intentional contact of an insulting or provoking nature; or

        • 2) Cause intentional harm to another.

    • Penalties For Simple Battery

    • Penalty For Simple Battery Under The Family Violence Act

      • Under the Family Violence Act, it is a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature.

OCGA § 16-5-23

  • Battery can either be a felony or misdemeanor in Georgia

    • Definition of Battery

      • A battery occurs when you cause substantial physical harm or visible bodily harm to another person (e.g. black eyes, swelling, bruising).

    • Penalties for Battery

      • A first and second offense (with no family violence involvement) are misdemeanors. However, conviction for a second offense against the same person requires a minimum jail sentence of ten days.

      • A third or subsequent offense against the same person is a felony for which you can receive 1-5 years in jail.

    • Various other battery offenses can be high and aggravated misdemeanors or felonies.

    • Penalty for Battery Committed Under The Family Violence Act

      • A first offense Family Violence battery is a misdemeanor.

      • A second offense Family Violence Battery is a felony for which you could receive a jail term of 1-5 years.

      • Read the following code section for battery against various other persons.

OCGA § 16-5-23.1

  • Aggravated Battery is a felony in Georgia

    • Definition of Aggravated Battery

      • An Aggravated Battery is malicious bodily harm resulting in loss of the use of a body part or serious disfigurement.

    • Penalties for Aggravated Battery

      • Depending upon the circumstances, you could receive a sentence of 1-20 years, 3-20 years, 5-20 years, or 10-20 years for this felony offense.

    • Penalties for Aggravated Battery Under The Family Violence Act

      • A conviction of Family Violence aggravated battery carries a prison term of 3-20 years.

OCGA § 16-5-24

  • Aggravated Assault is a felony in Georgia

    • Definition of Aggravated Assault

      • An aggravated assault occurs when you assault someone:

        • 1) With intent to murder, rape, or rob;

        • 2) With a deadly weapon; or

        • 3) With any object which, is likely to or actually does result in strangulation; or

        • 4) Fire at persons from a moving vehicle.

    • Penalties for Aggravated Assault

      • Depending upon the circumstances, an aggravated assault is a felony for which you could receive a sentence of 1-20 years, 3-20 years, or 5-20 years.

    • Penalties for Aggravated Assault Under The Family Violence Act

      • A conviction for Family Violence Aggravated Assault is a felony punishable by 3-20 years.

OCGA § 16-5-21

  • Stalking can either be a felony or misdemeanor in Georgia

    • Definition of Stalking

      • If you place someone under surveillance, or contact another to harass or intimidate, you can be charged with stalking.

      • Keep in mind that 'contact' can be in person, phone, mail, computer, broadcast, or other means.

    • Penalties for Stalking

      • A first offense is a misdemeanor.

      • A second offense is a felony for which you can receive 1-10 years in prison.

OCGA §16-5-90

  • Aggravated Stalking is a felony in Georgia

    • Definition of Aggravated Stalking

      • An aggravated stalking can occur if you violate a:

        • peace bond,

        • restraining order,

        • protective order,

        • good behavior bond,

        • injunction, or

        • condition of pretrial release, probation, or parole that prohibits surveillance or contact.

      • Please note the strong Family Violence implications of this statute.

    • Penalties for Aggravated Stalking

      • Upon conviction of this felony, you can receive a prison sentence of 1-10 years and up to a $10,000 fine.

OCGA § 16-5-91

  • Criminal Trespass is a misdemeanor in Georgia

    • Definition of Criminal Trespass

      • A criminal trespass occurs when you either:

        • Damage someone's property in an amount of $500 or less; or

        • Enter upon the land, premises, or property of someone either:

          a) for an unlawful purpose, or

          b) without authorization after receiving proper notice.

OCGA § 16-7-21

  • Criminal Damage to Property is a felony in Georgia  OCGA § 16-7-23

    • Criminal Damage To Property Second Degree

      • Property Damage Only

      • 1) You intentionally damage the property of another in an amount exceeding $500.

        • This is a felony for which you can receive 1-5 years in prison; or

        • Endangerment of Life

      • 2) You recklessley or intentionally, via fire or explosive, damage the property of another

      • This is a felony for which you can receive 1-5 years in prison.

    • Criminal Damage To Property First Degree  OCGA § 16-7-22

      • 1) You interfere with any property in any manner so as to endanger human life; or

      • 2) You, by force or violence, interfere with the operation of any system of public communication, public transportation, sewerage, drainage, water supply, gas power, or other public utility service.

    • Criminal Damage to Property First Degree is a felony for which you can be sentenced for 1-10 years.

False Imprisonment and/or Kidnapping is a felony in Georgia

 

False Imprisonment


If you violate the personal liberty of another person by arresting, confining, or detaining that person without legal authority, you have committed the crime of false imprisonment.

False imprisonment is a felony for which you could receive up to 10 years in prison.

OCGA § 16-5-41

Kidnapping


The essential difference between kidnapping and false imprisonment is that kidnapping involves the additional element of asportation. Asportation means that you have moved the person from one place to another. You need to be aware that this movement only needs to be slight movement. However, practically speaking, a prosecutor might have a difficult time getting a conviction for kidnapping if the person was just moved from one room to another.

 

Kidnapping is a felony with a sentence of 10 to 20 years if the victim is age 14 or older. If the victim is under age 14, the sentence is 25 years to life. A conviction for kidnapping for ransom or kidnapping with bodily injury can result in either life in prison or death. 

 

Keep in mind that kidnapping is considered a violent felony and a conviction means you must do at least 10 years in prison without parole. If this is your second violent felony/conviction, life without parole is mandatory.

 

OCGA § 16-5-40

 

See OCGA § 17-10-6.1 and 17-10-7 for other sentence enhancements.

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