Fighting a Charge? Your guide to aggravated assault in Georgia

David Banks
Authored by David Banks
Posted Thursday, April 22, 2021 - 1:10pm

You're facing aggravated assault in Georgia. You feel overwhelmed and powerless. You're not sure how you can fight the charges in court. An aggravated assault case can carry prison time and hefty fines, but an attorney can help you.

With the help of a lawyer, you stand a good chance of beating the charges. The last thing you want to do is represent yourself in court. You'll need strong legal representation to make an effective argument in the courtroom.

This article will explain aggravated assault in greater detail. Read further to know more.

Whatis aggravated assault?

An aggravated assault in Georgia boils down to the following:

  • The discharge of a firearm from a car
  • The intent to rob, murder, or rape
  • The use of a weapon that can be used to commit bodily injury

The weapon can be deadly or non-deadly and used to commit bodily injury. The weapon can cause injury or is threatening enough to cause harm.

Further, an object used to commit strangulation, including the threat of strangulation, falls under aggravated assault. Overall, aggravated charges are more serious than simple assault and battery charges.

Aggravated assault and battery

Aggravated assault differs from an aggravated battery charge. Aggravated battery occurs when the offender inflicts a serious injury on the victim.

The seriousness of the injury may result in a loss of limb, disfigurement, or disability. Aggravated battery is a felony.

On the other hand, simple battery is a less serious offense involving physical contact. Physical contact may entail shoving or punching someone.

To qualify as a simple battery charge, physical contact is necessary. This charge is a misdemeanor and usually doesn't exceed a year in jail.

Simple assault is a misdemeanor as well. Simple assault doesn't require physical contact. The charge may apply if an offender threatens to harm the victim.

A simple assault charge also applies if the victim fears for their safety. An aggravated assault is appropriate if the offender uses a weapon (i.e. gun or crowbar) to threaten or harm the victim.  

Is aggravated assault a felony?

Aggravated assault is a felony in Georgia. Georgia felonies typically have minimum prison sentences. The most serious felonies warrant the death penalty.

Death penalty crimes include murder and rape (in some cases). Rape can carry a sentence ranging from 25 years to life without parole.

Georgia doesn't classify felonies by letter or number like many states. Instead, the state distinguishes between felony and misdemeanor crimes. Misdemeanor cases result in jail sentences, and the sentences usually last less than a year.

Above all, the details of the case will determine the sentence.

What is the sentence in Georgia?

The sentences depend on the nature of the offense and the offender's criminal record. Those with a history of aggravated assault will face harsher sentences. The following are some examples of aggravated assault charges:

  • Aggravated Assault with No Additional Aggravating Circumstances: Offenders will receive a minimum one-year sentence but no more than 20 years. These offenses are usually eligible for probation. The offense comes with a $2,000 fine as well.
  • Discharging a Firearm From a Vehicle Towards People: This offense carries a minimum five-year term but not more than 20 years. The offender is eligible for parole if the victim wasn't a public safety official.
  • Discharging a Firearm From a Vehicle Towards a Public Safety Officer: This charge has a mandatory 10-year sentence but won't exceed 20 years. No part of the mandatory sentence can be suspended in any way. The offender must also pay a $2,000 fine.
  • Aggravated Assault Against a Public Safety Official without a Firearm or the Use of the Person's Body: This term comes with a five-year mandatory minimum and a $2,000 fine.
  • Aggravated Assault Against a Public Safety Official without the Use of their Body: This sentence has a five-year minimum, but the sentence may be eligible for probation depending on the circumstances.
  • Aggravated Assault Against the Elderly (Age 65 and over): You'll face a minimum three-year charge, but it won't surpass 20 years, and you'll have a chance of probation.
  • Aggravated Assault Against A Child with Intent to Rape: This charge typically stretches between 25 to 50 years, with 25 years being the minimum sentence.

These are just some of the many types of aggravated assault offenses in Georgia. The best way to know what you're facing is to contact an attorney.

The importance of a lawyer

Since aggravated assault charges have lengthy sentences, you need an experienced attorney who specializes in assault cases. Don't hire a general-practice attorney who knows little about aggravated assault cases. A seasoned professional knows how they can get the charges dismissed or reduced.

You're more likely to get a longer sentence if you use a public defender. All too often, public defenders encourage clients to enter plea bargains.

Many public defenders are overworked or don't have enough experience to fight the case. Instead, invest in a private-practice attorney who can articulate your defense within a legal framework. They'll help you craft a viable defense for a judge or jury.

Fighting aggravated assault in Georgia

To fight aggravated assault in Georgia, an attorney will be your most important asset. Aggravated assault usually entails the intent to commit harm and comes with minimum sentencing guidelines.

When facing arrest, invoke your right to remain silent, and don't say anything until your attorney is present. The police and prosecution can use anything you say and do as evidence against you.

Want to know how a criminal defense attorney should operate? Click here to keep reading.


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