Atlanta Assault (or Battery) Lawyer
At Schnipper Law, we represent Atlanta residents and visitors accused of all sorts of crimes, including assault and its closely-related crime, battery. Here is an overview of those crimes and how we can help when you face an assault or battery charge in Georgia.
A simple assault is defined as attempting to commit a violent injury to someone or when one person causes another to think he or she is going to receive a violent injury. A simple assault is charged as a misdemeanor. However, the charge is increased to a high and aggravated misdemeanor if the simple assault is:
- Committed in a public transit vehicle or station;
- Committed against certain family members;
- Committed against someone who is 65 years old or older;
- Committed against someone who works for the public school system on school property or if the person is acting in official duties; or
- Committed against a pregnant woman.
The Georgia Code defines aggravated assault as an assault with the intention to commit a rape, murder or to rob someone using a deadly weapon or object which is being used to cause serious bodily injury (such as a rope in a strangulation case). If you discharge a firearm from a vehicle and are aiming toward people, you could also be charged with aggravated assault. You could receive up to 20 years in prison for aggravated assault.
If you are accused of committing aggravated assault against a public safety officer, you could face a minimum mandatory prison sentence of 10 years. If the aggravated assault is not committed with a firearm, the mandatory minimum is 5 years.
If you commit an aggravated assault against someone who is 65 years old or older, or against a person of any age in a public transit vehicle or station, then you could face a three-year mandatory minimum prison sentence.
If the aggravated assault is committed during the theft of a vehicle that is involved in the commercial transportation of cargo, including rail cars and trailers, the penalty if a five-year mandatory minimum not to exceed 20 years and/or a fine that is at least $50,000 but not more than $200,000.
The mandatory minimum jail sentence for aggravated assault against certain family members is three years. Aggravated assault against school personnel has a mandatory minimum jail sentence of five years.
If you have been accused of aggravated assault with the intent to rape a child under 14 years of age, you face a mandatory minimum term of 25 years and up to 50 years in prison.
A simple battery is a misdemeanor and is defined as intentionally touching another person in a provoking or insulting way or intentionally causing physical harm to someone. Even if you pose a threat without actually touching a person, such as spitting on someone or throwing an object at a person, that would be considered battery.
As with assault, battery penalties vary depending on the circumstances. If you commit battery in certain situations, the charge changes from a misdemeanor to a high and aggravated misdemeanor. These circumstances include:
- Against a person who is 65 years old or older;
- Against someone in a public transit station or vehicle;
- Against a police officer or corrections officer;
- Against certain family members;
- Against someone working in a healthcare facility, including assisted living communities;
- Against a sports official in an amateur contest; and
- Against employees of the public school system.
If you maliciously cause bodily harm by disfiguring someone, making that person’s body useless or by “depriving him or her of a member of his or her body,” you could be charged with aggravated battery. You could face a minimum of a year of jail time and up to 20 years.
If you are 17 years or older and you commit aggravated battery on a public safety officer, the minimum is 10 years in prison. If you are over 17 years of age, the mandatory minimum is three years, and that time cannot be stayed, suspended, deferred, probated or otherwise changed. However, if the prosecutor and the defendant are able to come to an agreement, the sentence could be less than the mandatory minimum. Additionally, you could be hit with a fine of at least $2,000.
Additionally, if the aggravated battery is against someone who is 65 or older or is a student or school personnel, the mandatory minimum is five years. If the aggravated battery is against certain family members, the mandatory minimum is three years.
Committing a Crime and Assault
If you commit assault by threatening to commit a crime, and then you actually commit the crime, you cannot be charged with assault and the crime. Instead, you will be charged with the crime itself. Thus, if you tell someone you are going to stab him or her and then you actually stab that person, you will be charged with the stabbing, whether it is charged as a battery, attempted murder, or attempted manslaughter.
When You Should Retain a Criminal Attorney
As soon as you are able to make a phone call after being accused of an assault and/or battery crime, you should contact a Georgia criminal law attorney. The sooner an experienced Atlanta criminal defense attorney gets involved in defending you, the better your chances of avoiding the harshest penalties and protecting your rights. Do not speak with anyone in law enforcement or from the state’s attorney’s office before you speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can protect your rights. You have the right to remain silent, and you should always use it.
Contact Schnipper Law if You Are Facing Assault or Battery Charges
If you are accused, arrested, or charged with a crime, or if you have a loved one facing criminal charges, contact Schnipper Law at (404) 545-5845 as soon as possible. We cannot defend your rights until we hear from you, so call us right away. Your life and livelihood are at risk with every moment you go without an experienced Atlanta criminal defense attorney.