Violent crimes in Georgia can carry serious consequences, but you’ll need to know where your charge falls to understand what you could face. Your future might depend on how the state grades severity.

Assault and battery can start with hefty fines, probation and jail time, but more serious consequences can quickly come into play for more serious offenses. It’s important to know the distinctions when the state has a wide range of options available when charging violent crimes.

Degrees of separation

Simple counts could start as a misdemeanor with up to a year in jail, up to a year of probation and fines up to $1,000. Scaling things up for aggravated charges could result in a felony count with up to 20 years in prison, the same amount for probation and fines up to $100,000.

Assault

Simple assault isn’t a hard threshold to reach. Threatening harm, putting someone in a dangerous position or even trying and failing to hit someone can be enough. But reaching aggravated assault is usually a clear distinction, marked largely by intent and the possibility of dire harm:

  • Designs to murder, rape or rob someone
  • Using a deadly weapon or an object that will likely cause serious injury
  • Shooting a gun at someone from inside a moving vehicle

Battery

There are twice as many ways Georgia can present battery, but they all come into play once you make contact:

  • Simple battery: Connecting on your intention to provoke or harm someone through contact will often net you the slightest form.
  • Battery: There is a half-step up known only as battery, which can include visible or substantial bodily harm like a black eye or swollen lip, and is also a misdemeanor.
  • Aggravated battery: Graduating into serious injury is where the aggravated label comes in, when the other person loses the ability to use a limb, loses the limb altogether or suffers some other form of disfigurement.
  • Family battery: When the act involves a member of your family, things can get more complicated. While a first charge could fall under a misdemeanor, repeat offenses will likely face felony punishments.

There are big changes between what the state can lay at your feet. Understanding the difference between all the ways Georgia can classify violent crime will likely have a large impact on how you proceed.