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Simple and Aggravated
Assault is a serious crime, and in the state of Georgia, there are two types of assault charges: simple and aggravated. Both of these charges carry severe penalties if convicted, including jail time, fines, and a criminal record that can negatively impact your future. If you or a loved one is facing simple or aggravated assault charges in Georgia, understanding the legal process and your rights is crucial to building a strong defense.
Simple Assault Charges in Georgia
Simple assault in Georgia is defined as an intentional act that causes another person to feel fearful of immediate harm or offensive contact. This charge is considered a misdemeanor, and penalties can range from a fine to up to one year in jail. If the victim is a family member or intimate partner, the charges can be elevated to domestic violence.
It’s important to note that simple assault charges do not require physical contact to occur. In Georgia, threatening behavior or verbal assaults can be enough to warrant a simple assault charge.
Aggravated Assault Charges in Georgia
Aggravated assault is a type of violent crime that involves the use of a deadly weapon, causing serious bodily harm or placing someone in danger of death. The penalties for this crime can include a lengthy prison sentence, steep fines, and probation, depending on the severity of the offense.
Differences Between Simple and Aggravated Assault Charges
Under Georgia state law, simple assault charges are typically considered lesser offenses than aggravated assault charges. Simple assault charges involve attempted or actual bodily harm to another person, whereas aggravated assault charges are for more serious instances of violence. Aggravated assault charges often involve the use of a weapon or the infliction of serious bodily injury. Simple assault charges may carry lesser penalties, with fines and shorter jail time, whereas aggravated assault charges may result in longer prison sentences and significant fines.
Defenses for Assault Charges
There are various legal defenses available to individuals charged with assault:
Self-defense is the most commonly used defense in assault cases, where an individual claims to have acted in response to an imminent threat to their safety. Self-defense can be justified only when a person reasonably believes that they or someone else is in danger of imminent harm, and no other alternatives are available to protect themselves or others. The threat must be immediate and imminent.
Another defense that can be used is the defense of consent, where the victim or the target of the assault willingly agrees to engage in violent behavior. However, this defense may only be applicable in certain situations, such as when engaging in consensual BDSM activities. In most cases, physical violence and assault cannot be consented to and are considered illegal.
It is important to note that consent cannot be given if the victim is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, if there is a power dynamic at play, or if the victim is coerced into giving their consent. In cases where the victim’s ability to consent is compromised, the defense of consent will not hold up in court.
Involuntary intoxication, where an individual’s drink is spiked without their knowledge, can be used as a defense in certain cases. If a person commits a crime while involuntarily intoxicated, they may have a defense to the charge.
The defense of involuntary intoxication is based on the idea that the defendant did not have the intent to commit the crime due to being under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In some cases, a successful defense of involuntary intoxication can result in charges being reduced or dismissed entirely.
Reasons to Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney for Assault Charges
Due to the gravity of the crime and the potential consequences, it is crucial to enlist the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney if facing charges of aggravated assault. An attorney can help to investigate the circumstances of the incident, negotiate with prosecutors, and create a strong defense strategy to achieve the best possible outcome.
Contact a Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or a loved one faces assault charges, it is important to hire a reputable lawyer. Attorney Joshua J. Smith has more than 20 years of experience helping clients with criminal defense cases. Contact Joshua J. Smith Attorney at Law by calling us at (706) 217-2095 or following out our contact form.