Assault and Battery Laws in Gwinnett County, GA
As upsetting as a charge for assault or battery can be, it is not a conviction.
Many people are wrongly accused of assault and battery in Gwinnett County every year – and others make mistakes in the heat of the moment.
Whatever the circumstances, any charge of assault or battery is serious and can affect your immediate rights and freedoms, as well as your future.
Speak to Adam D. Brown for a free case evaluation and a clear understanding of how we can best defend the charge against you.
What is the difference between assault and battery?
The crimes of assault and battery are frequently confused.
In the simplest terms, assault is the threat of or attempted harm of another person while battery involves physical contact with another person.
So, even threatening to inflict harm on another person is enough for a criminal charge.
The crimes of assault and battery are sub-classified according to the nature of the threat or harm inflicted on another person.
For instance, a person accused of battery can be charged with simple battery, battery, family violence battery, aggravated battery, sexual battery, the battery of an unborn child, etc.
What is simple assault in Georgia?
Simple assault is one of the most common assault charges filed in Gwinnett County.
It is an intentional act that attempts to cause physical injury to another person or reasonably causes a person to fear impending violence.
For instance, if you try to punch someone and miss or threaten to “knock someone out” and appear capable of doing so, you can be charged with simple assault. This is a misdemeanor offense in Georgia.
If mere words are used, it is possible that you can be charged with terroristic threats, as well, which can be either a misdemeanor (non-death threat), or a felony (threat of death).
What is simple battery/battery in Georgia?
If you intentionally make physical contact with another person in Georgia, you can be charged with simple battery or battery.
The exact nature of the charge will depend mainly on whether your physical contact left a mark on the other person.
Intentionally hitting, shoving or throwing something and striking someone during an argument might lead to a simple battery charge, so long as no mark was caused on the other person’s body (bruising, cutting, redness, swelling, etc).
Even ripping someone’s clothing during an argument, if it happens aggressively and leaves no mark, can result in a charge of simple battery.
A charge of battery may be filed if “substantial physical harm” or “visible bodily harm” is caused to the victim.
This could be:
- a black eye,
- redness, or
- other physical signs of violence.
Battery and simple battery are both misdemeanor charges in Georgia, unless you have previously been convicted of the same offense against the same alleged victim. At this point it may become a felony charge of Aggravated Battery, which is a felony crime.
What are the penalties for battery in Georgia?
In Georgia, anyone facing a first-time misdemeanor charge for battery risks the following penalties if convicted:
- Up to 12 months in jail and/or
- A fine of up to $1000
In assault or battery cases, probation is often imposed by the court in place of or in addition to a short custodial sentence.
A skilled assault and battery lawyer like Adam D. Brown will work to mitigate the consequences against you even if you are convicted.
If you are sentenced to a probation period, you must report to your probation officer and comply with conditions set by the court or you can be re-arrested and sent to jail
Conditions may include:
- No further arrests or convictions
- Attending counseling
- Performing community service
- Submitting to chemical tests (e.g., drug or alcohol tests)
As part of a penalty for an assault or battery conviction, you may be required to pay restitution to the alleged victim.
If this is the case, you will need to reimburse the alleged victim for expenses resulting from the crime, such as medical treatment or counseling.
What are the penalties for assault & battery repeat offenders?
Repeat offenders are treated much more harshly than first-time offenders by the justice system in Georgia – especially if multiple crimes are committed against the same victim or the victim is a family member.
Mandatory sentences may apply. For instance, a second conviction for battery against the same victim will incur a penalty of confinement for no less than ten days and could result in
- 12 months in jail,
- as well as a $1,000 fine.
After multiple convictions for battery, any further charges could be upgraded to felony charges.
If an assault or simple battery is committed against family members a second conviction may be classed as a felony and the offender sentenced to at least one year in jail.
What is an aggravated misdemeanor in Georgia?
In certain cases, battery penalties may be upgraded as a result of the conviction being treated as a misdemeanor of a high or aggravated nature.
With such an offense, jail time is more likely. An aggravated misdemeanor may apply if the offense is committed:
- In a public transit vehicle or station
- Against a pregnant female
- Against a teacher or other school employee engaged in duties on school property
- Against a person aged 65 years or more
- By an employee, agent, or volunteer at a long-term care facility against a resident
- Against a sports official during an amateur contest
“High and aggravated” misdemeanors can result in a sentence of 5 years or less. Also, “good time” jail calculation of time served will be more along the lines of a felony calculation than a misdemeanor.
What defenses can be applied in assault or battery cases?
There is nearly always a valid defense for any crime you are accused of. The best defense always depends upon the precise circumstances of the offense.
In the case of assault and battery cases in Gwinnett County, Adam D. Brown may apply one of the following defenses:
- No contact: there was no physical contact between the defendant and the victim (a defense against battery but not against assault).
- Self-defense: if there was an unprovoked threat of harm against the accused and a reason to be fearful of injury.
- Defense of others: if your actions were taken to prevent injury to someone else.
- Defense of property: if your actions involved reasonable force to prevent damage or loss of property.
- Consent: if there was consent from the alleged victim to commit an act and you did not overstep the bounds of this consent.
- No intent: if there was no intent to threaten or injure someone.
- No injury: the absence of injury may be a valid defense for battery but not for assault.
Mistaken identity (factual innocence): it was not you who committed the offense.
Contact the Law Office of Adam D. Brown Today
The Law Office of Adam D. Brown can defend you in an assault or battery case in Gwinnett County.
We will examine the evidence and determine if you were wrongfully charged or other reasons mean that the case may be dismissed before trial.
If the case does go to court, we will defend you vigorously or look to negotiate a deal with the prosecution to mitigate the consequences.
Contact us to arrange a free case evaluation.