Your Assault and Battery Attorney in Athens, GA

Swingle Levin LLC is skilled in representing those facing assault and battery charges. Our experienced attorneys are here to fight for you.

Experienced Athens Criminal Defense Attorney

Assault and battery charges are some of the more commonly occurring criminal charges related to an act of violence. Such cases are serious legal matters that involve allegations of intentional harm or unwanted physical contact.

The penalties for assault and battery convictions can vary widely, depending on the severity of the offense and local laws. They may include fines, probation, community service, or imprisonment. In cases involving actual physical injury, the consequences can be more severe. If you or a loved one has been charged with assault or battery in Athens, GA, the services of a criminal defense lawyer become invaluable.

In this article, our criminal defense attorneys from Swingle Levin LLC delve into the complexities of assault and battery charges, exploring the potential repercussions one may face. We also shed light on how we can make a substantial difference in navigating these legal challenges, ensuring that the accused receives a fair and just defense in the face of adversity.

Understanding the Laws in Georgia

In Georgia, the terms “assault” and “battery” are not used in separate legal definitions. Instead, they refer to a single offense of aggravated assault, simple battery, or misdemeanor battery under §16-5-20 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA).

According to OCGA §16-5-20, an individual commits the offense of simple battery when he or she:

  1. Makes “physical contact” with another person;
  2. Intended to injure, offend, or provoke that person; or
  3. Knows that his or her act causes such harm.

There are different degrees of assault and battery charges in Georgia that carry varying penalties, depending on the severity of the offense and any aggravating factors such as prior convictions or use of a weapon.

What Is the Difference Between Assault and Battery?

People often use the terms “assault” and “battery” interchangeably or in tandem. However, they are two distinct criminal acts. It is possible for a person to commit assault, battery, or both assault and battery.

A battery occurs when one person causes bodily harm to another person. For a battery to be deemed a criminal act, there must be what is known as mens rea, or criminal intent. In other words, the person initiating violence must act intentionally or knowingly without legal justification.

An assault, on the other hand, occurs when someone engages in conduct that places another in reasonable apprehension of receiving a battery. To be charged with assault, it does not matter whether physical harm was inflicted on the victim. The act of threatening harm is itself a criminal offense. An assault can lead to more serious criminal penalties if it is perpetrated with a weapon, for example.

An individual can be charged with both assault and battery stemming from the same behavior. For instance, if someone communicated a threat of harm by words or behavior to a victim and then actually inflicted that harm, they could be charged with both criminal offenses.

Aggravated Assault and Battery

Assault or battery charges can be elevated to aggravated status, depending on the surrounding circumstances. Aggravated assault charges are filed when an assault is committed:

  1. With the intent to rob, rape, or murder.
  2. With a deadly weapon.
  3. By discharging a firearm from a vehicle.

Aggravated battery occurs when the offender intentionally inflicts a serious injury, such as a coma, permanent disfigurement, or the loss of a limb. In Georgia, aggravated assault is considered a felony offense and carries significantly harsher penalties than simple assault or battery charges.

Assault and Battery Penalties in Georgia

In Georgia, assault charges and battery charges can be considered either misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the facts of the case.

A simple assault, for instance, is considered a misdemeanor with penalties of up to one year in jail, up to $1,000 in fines, and/or probation. Aggravated assault, on the other hand, is treated as a felony and carries penalties of up to twenty years in prison and a hefty fine of up to $200,000, depending on the facts of the case.

Simple battery is also a misdemeanor with penalties of up to one year in jail, fines, and/or probation. Aggravated battery is a felony charge punishable by one to twenty years in prison and fines.

Even simple charges can be elevated to a “high” misdemeanor offense depending on the circumstances, making the punishments more severe. Additionally, repeat offenders (those with one or more felony convictions) can be required to serve the maximum sentence for aggravated assault or battery based on their prior convictions.

In addition to fines, jail time, and probation, offenders convicted of assault or battery in Georgia may also be ordered to pay restitution to their victims. Restitution reimburses assault and battery victims for any expenses resulting from the crime. This could include medical treatment, for example.

Legal Process and a Defense Attorney’s Role

In an assault and battery case, prosecutors must prove that the accused intended to commit these acts and that they had the capacity to do so. The legal process consists of the following processes:

  1. Investigation: Assault and battery cases typically begin with an incident report or complaint to law enforcement. The police conduct an initial investigation, gathering evidence and interviewing witnesses. Attorneys from Swingle Levin LLC can provide legal counsel, protect rights, and ensure fair treatment during police questioning and evidence collection.
  2. Charging: If sufficient evidence exists, the accused may be charged with assault, battery, or both. Charges can vary based on the nature of the alleged offense and the jurisdiction’s laws. An essential step for anyone facing assault and battery charges is to consult with an experienced assault and battery attorney. We are well-versed in defending individuals accused of these crimes and can help navigate the legal process.
  3. Trial Preparation: We work to build a strong defense strategy. This may involve questioning the credibility of witnesses, examining evidence, and exploring potential defenses, such as self-defense or reasonable doubt.
  4. Court Proceedings: During the trial, both the prosecution and defense present their cases. The prosecution seeks to prove the accused’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. At the same time, as your defense attorney, we endeavor to cast doubt on the allegations or provide a valid legal defense.
  5. Verdict: The judge or jury will render a verdict based on the evidence presented. If the accused is found guilty of assault and/or battery, sentencing will follow.

Our role as your assault and battery lawyers is crucial for safeguarding your rights and interests in an assault and battery case. Our goal is to ensure that the legal process is fair and that the prosecution meets its burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Understanding the intricacies of how these cases work is essential for anyone facing assault and battery charges.

Swingle Levin LLC Can Help

A criminal conviction can have severe ramifications for your personal and professional life. Whether caught up in a barroom brawl or guilty of a more serious offense, consider protecting yourself and your prospects by hiring an experienced assault and battery lawyer.

We have extensive experience in criminal defense and have successfully defended clients throughout Georgia. Contact us to schedule an initial free consultation today, and let our law firm help you build the right criminal defense for your case.