The state of Georgia defines domestic violence as an act of "family violence." The law protects against physical, sexual, and emotional abuse among family members. You don't have to be married to someone in order to be a victim of domestic violence in Georgia.
Who is Protected?
Georgia’s Family Violence Act is a law designed to protect individuals who are abused by present or past spouses, 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. It can also be used to get temporary custody, financial support, and other assistance for the abused person. Additionally, victims that do not qualify under Georgia’s Family Violence Act may seek protection pursuant to Georgia’s stalking laws.
Most of the laws relevant to domestic violence are based on state law. This includes restraining or protection orders, divorce, custody, crimes, and more.
Domestic violence charges are treated very seriously in Georgia. The court can issue a Family Law Protective Order. This order prohibits the offender from having contact with the victim for a specified period of time. If a person is found to violate a restraining or protective order, he or she could be jailed and charged with a separate crime, including aggravated stalking.
A Family Violence Protection Order can:
|Code Sections||The Family Violence Act: O.C.G.A. §19-13-1 et seq., Protective Orders: §19-13-2 et. seq., Stalking Laws: §16-5-90 et seq.|
Family Violence, Intimate Partner Violence, and
|What is Prohibited?||
Committing any felony, battery, simple battery, simple assault, assault, stalking, criminal damage to property, unlawful restraint and criminal trespass.
|What is Not Prohibited?||Does not include "reasonable" discipline administered by a parent to a child in the form of corporal punishment, restraint, or detention.|
|Relationship Requirement||Current or former spouses, persons who are parents of the same child, parents and children, stepparents and stepchildren, foster parents and foster children, or persons currently or formerly living in the same household.|
Felony or misdemeanor (depending on the crime): probation, jail time, anger management classes, community service, and fines. Factors, such as prior offenses or history of domestic violence, help determine the severity of the punishment. Sentence may also include a Family Violence Protective Order (restraining order).
|Types of Protective Orders Available||
Family Violence Protective Orders
|Penalty for Violation of Protective Orders||Contempt of Court and/or a misdemeanor with up to 12 months in jail and a $1000 fine. Can also be considered "stalking" or "aggravated stalking" and can be sentenced as either a misdemeanor or a felony.|
Talk to an Attorney About Your Domestic Violence Case
If you're the victim of domestic violence, make sure you get immediate help and keep a safe distance from your abuser. And if you were charged with the crime, make sure you have the opportunity to defend yourself against the charges, as is your constitutional right. The best way to defend yourself against domestic violence charges is to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Georgia who can review your case and give you personalized legal advice on how best to proceed.
Contact a qualified attorney.