Aggravated assault charges in Georgia carry between one and twenty years in prison and harsh fines. Swingle Levin Law is dedicated to fighting serious cases.
What Is an Assault?
People often confuse the terms assault and battery. Simply said, while insulting or offensive physical contact must exist for the crime to be defined as a battery, assault only occurs when someone’s words, actions, or behavior fall short of making physical contact.
However, threatening or attempting to cause serious bodily injury to another person in a way that person feels afraid of violence can result in an assault charge.
Regarding assault and battery in Georgia, these crimes include simple assault, aggravated assault, simple battery, battery, and aggravated battery.
What Constitutes Aggravated Assault?
One of the most common allegations of violence in Georgia is aggravated assault. It’s a serious charge, even though it’s common.
The basic elements of an aggravated assault charge are that a person assaults another person with either one of the objects or intents listed below:
- With the intent to murder, rape, or rob
- With a deadly weapon
- With an object that chokes or could choke someone
- By discharging a gun or another type of weapon from a car in the direction of another person.
Hands and feet can be considered deadly weapons under Georgia’s aggravated assault statute (See Walker v. State, 298 Ga. App. 265 2009). But specific pleading requirements may subject your indictment to a demurrer.
Common Penalties in Aggravated Assault Cases
Unlike simple assault charges, a misdemeanor aggravated assault is a felony crime. Prison sentences range from 1 to 20 years for most variants of aggravated assault crimes.
However, remember that a harsh mandatory minimum sentence can be imposed in certain circumstances. So aggravated assault involving discharging a firearm from a vehicle or committed in a public transport station or a vehicle can trigger a three or five-year minimum prison sentence, depending on the circumstances surrounding the case.
Also, the minimum sentence can significantly increase if the alleged victim is a police officer, firefighter, emergency health worker, or any one of a few other favored/protected groups of people.
In addition, an individual can be convicted of aggravated assault if the prosecution proves that they committed a misdemeanor assault and any of the abovementioned circumstances apply.
Also, the state doesn’t need to prove that a person was injured to prove a charge of aggravated assault. So, merely pointing a gun at another person threateningly without justification could trigger the 1 to 20-year sentence range for aggravated assault.
In addition to fines that can go to $100,000, the court can also impose restitution to the victim as another penalty for aggravated assault. In that case, the defendant has to reimburse the victim for any expenses they suffered from the crime.
Steps to Take When Charged With Aggravated Assault
Being charged with aggravated assault can be an overwhelming experience. It is important to understand and follow a specific set of steps to ensure that your legal rights are protected. Here’s a comprehensive guide outlining the key steps to take if you’re faced with such charges:
Step 1: Remain Silent
Upon arrest, you must exercise your right to remain silent. Anything you say can be used against you in court. Politely decline to answer questions until your legal counsel is present.
Step 2: Compliance with Police Officers
Even if you believe the charges are unjust, cooperate with the police officers during the arrest process. Any resistance or perceived aggression can lead to additional charges or be used against you in court.
Step 3: Secure Legal Counsel
It is your right to have an attorney present during questioning. As soon as possible, seek a defense attorney experienced in handling aggravated assault cases. The choice of legal counsel can significantly impact the outcome of your case.
Step 4: Preserve Physical Evidence
If any items or physical evidence could prove your innocence or create reasonable doubt about the prosecution’s case, ensure they are preserved. Let your attorney know about these immediately.
Step 5: Identify Witnesses
If there were people present during the incident, who can support your version of events or demonstrate that you didn’t intend to cause serious bodily injury, compile their contact information and provide this to your attorney.
Step 6: Document Your Account of Events
While events are fresh in your memory, write down a detailed account of what happened. Include any details that might be relevant to your defense. Share this document with your legal counsel.
Step 7: Understand Possible Defenses
Talk to your attorney about possible defenses that could apply to your case. This could include self-defense, defense of others, or denying the intention to cause great bodily harm.
Step 8: Stay Out of Further Legal Trouble
While your case is pending, avoiding further encounters with the law is important. Any additional charges could harm your case or negatively influence your sentencing if convicted.
Step 9: Participate in your Defense
Work closely with your legal counsel throughout the process. Attend all meetings, provide information as requested, and stay engaged in your defense strategy.
How Can Our Law Firm Help?
Although every case is unique, if you are charged with aggravated assault, finding criminal defense lawyers with experience can be a good idea. They may tell you which defense can be the best option. Aggravated assault is a serious crime that requires a serious defense. At Swingle Levin Law, that is exactly what you can get.
Depending on the facts of your case, you may be able to raise a claim of self-defense, which will require a detailed investigation and thorough pre-trial litigation. There may be demurrers that I can file to attack the charging document in your case. And you may have other defenses revealed when we obtain discovery.
I have successfully represented clients facing aggravated charges in numerous counties throughout Georgia. Give me a call at 404-850-1856 to talk about defending yourself against a charge of aggravated assault.