Georgia assault laws include the offenses of both "assault" and "battery." Both crimes are broken down into two separate degrees: "simple" and "aggravated." Simple assault and battery are misdemeanor crimes. Aggravated assault and battery are felonies.
The following table highlights the main provisions of the Georgia's Assault and Battery Laws. See Assault and Battery Defenses, Assault and Battery Penalties and Sentencing, Other Crimes Against Persons and Assault and Battery as a Tort for more information.
Simple Assault: O.C.G.A. §16-5-20
Aggravated Assault: O.C.G.A §16-5-21
Simple Battery: O.C.G.A §16-5-23
Aggravated Battery: O.C.G.A §16-5-24
|What is Prohibited||
Simple Assault: Attempting to commit a violent injury on someone else or putting them in a situation where it’s reasonable they can be injured in such a manner. No actual physical touching is necessary to violate the law. Words can be enough. For example, threatening to break someone's neck, if done in a menacing manner, can be considered simple assault.
Aggravated Assault: Assaulting someone:
Aggravated Battery: Intentionally and maliciously inflicting a serious injury to the victim, such as loss of a limb, loss of use of a limb, or serious disfigurement.
|What is "Serious Disfigurement?"||
Any kind of physical alteration to another person's body, such as a visible scar on someone’s face or other body part; or a broken bone that alters one’s physical appearance
Simple Assault: Misdemeanor: Up to 1 year in jail, fines reaching $1,000, probation, and restitution. Can be elevated to a "high" and "aggravated" misdemeanor with enhanced penalties (up to 1 year in jail and $5,000 fines) if the assault committed involved a firearm, public transportation, a pregnant woman, a public school employee, a senior citizen, or if it was a domestic assault (committed against a family member).
Aggravated Assault: Felony: One to twenty years in prison, fines, restitution.
Simple Battery: Misdemeanor: Up to 1 year in jail, fines up to $1,000, probation, and restitution. Can be elevated to a misdemeanor of high and aggravated nature if it’s determined the victim was pregnant, over 65, a police officer, a caregiver, school employee, or if the crime is domestic. This misdemeanor is also punishable by up to one year but carries potential fines up to $5,000.
Aggravated Battery: Felony: one to twenty years in prison minimum, fines, restitution.
|Who Prosecutes this Crime?|
|Hate Crimes||O.C.G.A. §17-10-17. If someone commits an assault or battery or any crime against a victim because of bias or prejudice, such as racial or gender bias, the court must impose a more severe penalty than would be normally imposed for the crime (according to court or local policy), but no greater than the maximum sentence permitted under the statute. The offender must serve at least 90% of the sentence before being released (offenders serving sentences in jail or prison generally serve less than the sentence imposed because of "good time" credit or early release programs for good behavior).|
Note that criminal laws change from time to time and can sometimes be complicated. It may be a good idea to consult an experienced Georgia criminal defense attorney if you have questions about your specific situation.
Get Professional Legal Help With Your Assault and Battery Case
Assault and battery, which usually are charged together, are treated as serious crimes against an individual. Conviction on such charges can not only lead to stiff sentences, fines, and probation periods, but also can impact one's life down the road. If you're facing these charges, it's in your best interests to work with a skilled Georgia defense attorney.
Contact a qualified attorney.