There are many different charges in the Atlanta Metro area when it comes to Assault and Battery. Both charges can lead to devastating loss of job, family, and friends. Being charged with either can also lead you into the Family Violence Court and having the “domestic violence” stigma attached to you. But what is the difference? And can you be charged with both? Let’s break down both charges.
Simple assault is a misdemeanor in Georgia. The crime is an attempt to cause physical injury to another person – for instance, attempting to strike someone with a hand or object, and missing. Simple assault also is any intentional act or threat of action that reasonably causes a person to feel afraid of impending violence. Threatening to beat up someone or to knock him out, when said in a menacing or angry manner, is assault if it appears that the assailant has the ability to carry out the threat and the victim believes or could reasonably believe that he is about to be struck or injured.
The Georgia legislature also has criminalized, as a simple assault, any attempt to injure an unborn child, except for the purpose of abortion or medical treatment for the mother or fetus.
Simple battery, a misdemeanor, is actual offensive physical contact, such as punching another person or hitting someone with an object. Hitting another person with a fist during an argument or shoving someone are straightforward examples of simple battery. The physical act must be intentional, rather than an accident or a joke among friends, but no specific intent to injure is required. A more unusual example of simple battery is grabbing and ripping someone’s clothing in anger. This is considered a touching because the clothing is an extension of the person.
Battery in Georgia involves intentionally causing “substantial physical harm” or “visible bodily harm” and also is a misdemeanor. Visible harm is defined as physical harm visible to others, such as blackened eyes, a swollen lip, or significant bruises.
Simple assault, simple battery and battery are generally misdemeanor crimes under Georgia law. In certain cases these crimes can be charged as aggravated misdemeanors, which carry more severe penalties. Assault or battery on certain victims including but not limited to, a family member or intimate partner, a person 65 years of age or older, or a public school employee engaged in his duties are aggravated misdemeanors. Assault or battery in a public transit station or vehicle or on public school property, including school buses and school bus stops, are aggravated misdemeanors, as well as battery against a law enforcement officer and battery or simple assault against a pregnant woman.
The Georgia statutes provide that, if a victim uses “opprobrious or abusive language” against the offender, the language may be considered justification for the offender’s threatening behavior or use of force and, therefore, a defense to the crime of assault or battery. Examples of such language are egregious insults or racial slurs, but the language must rise to a level of abusiveness that justifies the amount or type of force used. If the language is mildly abusive or insulting and the offender reacts with significant violence, the language will not justify the crime committed.
If you or someone you know has been arrested in Atlanta on a Simple Battery or Simple Assault Charge, you are going to need an Attorney so it doesn’t blemish your reputation. DON”T go at this ALONE. Contact the Howard Law Group ASAP so we can defend your reputation.