Any arrest or accusation is cause for concern, but when criminal allegations involve a violent crime like assault, your way of life is at stake. Prosecutors in Georgia take a harsh stance against these and other violent crimes, typically seeking severe penalties upon a conviction.
Unfortunately, few people know what assault means, most believing it is the same as the offense of battery. When working on your criminal defense, you must understand the specific charges against you to avoid an unfavorable outcome.
What is assault?
Television shows like to use the terms assault and battery interchangeably, but they are two separate crimes. Assault is generally the lesser offense as it involves less bodily harm and malicious intent than battery.
Simple assault is a misdemeanor offense in Georgia. It involves inflicting a violent injury on another or placing them in a position to suffer an injury. No physical contact is required to face simple assault charges—even threats of violence can lead to an arrest.
Aggravated assault is a felony. It involves assaulting another with intent to rob, rape or murder. You could also face felony assault charges if a deadly weapon is used against another or if you shoot at someone from a vehicle.
What are the possible penalties?
For simple assault, defendants typically face up to a year in jail and fines approaching $1,000. Most must also pay restitution and serve a period of probation. Sometimes, a simple assault charge can be upgraded to aggravated assault under certain circumstances (involves a firearm, a pregnant victim, etc.)
The penalties for an aggravated assault conviction include up to 20 years of imprisonment, costly fines and restitution.
Get started on your criminal defense right away to avoid the harshest consequences of a felony assault conviction.