Georgia, like other states, has harsh penalties for those who harm others and commit violent crimes. In some cases, violent crimes might be charged as misdemeanors. Generally, however, Georgia state’s attorneys aggressively prosecute violent crimes, seeking the maximum penalties possible. That means that most violent crimes in Georgia get charged as felonies.
Having a violent crime conviction on your record can change your life for the worse. Even if you don’t serve a lot of prison time, you will likely have professional and personal consequences which will stay with you for the rest of your life.
If you or someone you love faces a violent crime charge in the Atlanta area, contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer to represent you and protect your rights. You can reach Schnipper Law today at (404) 545-5845 to schedule a free one-hour consultation to determine the best path forward for your situation.
Assault and Battery
In Georgia, assault and battery can be charged as a felony or misdemeanor. Assault and battery are two separate violent crimes, but they often occur together. “Assault” refers to the threat of violent injury from another party, while “battery” refers to actual physical harm to another person. The potential penalties increase when prosecutors allege an “aggravated” assault or battery. Aggravated assault occurs when the offender uses a weapon to make violent threats. Aggravated battery refers to doing extreme physical harm that causes scarring and/or disfigurement from wounds or the loss of a body part.
Domestic violence is a separate type of assault and battery occurring between partners or spouses which constitutes a separate crime under Georgia Law
Under Georgia law, someone who takes another person’s property by force with “an offensive weapon, or any replica, article, or device having the appearance of such weapon,” is guilty of armed robbery. When a fatality occurs during an armed robbery, convicted offenders can face the death penalty or life in prison. A conviction for armed robbery which doesn’t result in death carries a minimum prison sentence of 10 years, but not more than 20 years.
Several types of sexual offenses can potentially fall under the umbrella of a violent crime under Georgia law. They include:
- Rape/aggravated sodomy. Georgia laws state that non-consensual sexual penetration of one person by another, or of anyone under 10 years of age, constitutes rape and/or aggravated sodomy. A conviction for these crimes carries a minimum 25-year prison sentence up to a maximum penalty of death in extreme cases. It is not a defense to a charge of rape or aggravated sodomy that the victim was the perpetrator’s spouse.F
- Child molestation/aggravated child molestation. These charges apply to an immoral or indecent act committed against a child under age 16. Aggravated molestation which causes physical injury to a child is considered a violent crime. A conviction will result in a mandatory 25 years in prison, but those who are guilty might also be sentenced to life in prison.
- Sexual battery/aggravated sexual battery. Sexual battery, the inappropriate touching of another without consent, is a misdemeanor charge which carries one to five years in prison. According to Georgia Law, aggravated sexual battery occurs when an offender commits sexual battery by penetrating a victim with a foreign object. Those convicted of aggravated sexual battery face a prison sentence from 25 years to life.
Murder under Georgia law means a person commits premeditated murder with malice or when a person causes the death of another while committing a felony. A murder conviction in Georgia means life in prison, possibly without parole. Offenders might also face the death penalty depending on the circumstances of the murder.
Sometimes referred to as second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter is almost the same as a murder charge. Premeditation is the distinguishing factor. Georgia law states voluntary manslaughter would otherwise be murder, except the offender “acts solely as the result of a sudden, violent and irresistible passion resulting from serious provocation sufficient to excite such passion in a reasonable person.” A person convicted of voluntary manslaughter must serve a minimum of one year in prison up to as many as 20 years.
When a person has abducted another against their will without legal authority or a warrant, kidnapping has occurred. Prison sentences for kidnapping vary greatly based on the circumstances of the kidnapping. Broad sentencing guidelines include:
- If the victim was age 14 or older, those convicted will serve 10 to 20 years in prison.
- If the victim was under age 14, those convicted will serve 25 years to life in prison.
- If the victim was injured or kidnapping involved ransom, a conviction carries a life sentence and courts might hand down a death penalty
Contact a Skilled Atlanta Violent Crimes Defense Attorney Today
If you are charged with a violent crime, you have much more to lose than your freedom. The collateral consequences of a felony conviction follow you for the rest of your life, even if you serve a short sentence or get out early on parole. Regardless of guilt, you are guaranteed rights during the legal process. The best way to protect your rights and maximize your chances of acquittal, a reduction in penalties, or a fair plea bargain? Hire a skilled Atlanta violent crime defense attorney.
If you need representation for yourself or a loved one after police arrest and/or charge you with a violent crime in the Greater Atlanta area, contact Attorney David Schnipper at (404) 545-5845 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case. With years of experience and familiarity with how Georgia prosecutes violent crimes, the team at Schnipper Law can advise you on the best course of action to defend the charges against you and to protect your rights.