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Facing family violence charges in Georgia

According to O.C.G.A. Sec. 19-13-1, Georgia's Family Violence Act, many different behaviors toward family members could result in charges of family violence. Generally, these behaviors include battery, assault, stalking, criminal property damage, criminal trespass, and unlawful restraint. These behaviors can occur between past and current spouses, parents of the same child, parents and children, and former or current housemates. The law does, however, permit parents to use reasonable methods to discipline their children in the form of corporal punishment, restraint or detention.

The most commonly talked about form of family violence is domestic violence, when a husband or wife attacks their spouse in a violent manner. However, even walking onto your ex-spouse's property without permission could lead to criminal trespass charges under the statute, even if you used to live there.

If someone is alleging that you committed an act of family violence against them, they are permitted to seek a protective order against you. That person will then have to present evidence that violence occurred and they need protection from the court. The court may then issue a temporary protective order if it deems that it is necessary to protect the victim from further violence. Within 30 days, a hearing will be scheduled where the alleged victim will have to establish that family violence did occur. You and your attorney will also be permitted to present your defense at this time. The court will then decide whether to extend the original order, make it permanent, or dismiss it altogether.

If there is a protective order against you, it is very important that you do not violate the terms of the order. Any violations could result in additional criminal charges and serious penalties.

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