In Georgia, there are two types of assault offenses that an accused person may be convicted of: simple assault and aggravated assault. Generally, simple assault is classified as a misdemeanor where aggravated assault is a felony offense. In this blog, we will solely discuss the latter.
According to O.C.G.A. § 16-5-21, a person commits the offense of aggravated assault when he/she commits an assault in one of the following aggravating circumstances:
- The accused has the intent to murder, rape, or rob;
- The accused commits the assault with a deadly weapon or object in which could result in serious bodily injury;
- The accused commits the assault with an object, which is likely or is actually used for strangulation; OR
- The accused commits the assault without legal justification by discharging a firearm from within a motor vehicle.
When the accused person commits an assault in one of the above-mentioned manners, the accused may be sentenced, if convicted, anywhere between 1-20 years in prison. However, the following offenses, as listed below, have different penalties due to the enhanced circumstances that surround the incident:
- If the accused commits the aggravated assault upon a police officer while he/she is engaged in his/her official duties, the accused person may be sentenced to at least 10 years, but no more than 20 years in prison if such assault occurs from the discharge of a firearm. However, when the aggravated assault does not involve the discharge of a firearm, the accused person may be sentenced anywhere between 5-20 years in prison;
- Any person who commits such an assault against the elderly may be sentenced to at least 3 years, but no more than 20 years in prison. The same punishment is true for any person who commits the aggravated assault in a public transit vehicle or station;
- If the accused commits the aggravated assault upon public school personnel or on school property, he/she may be sentenced anywhere between 5-20 years in prison;
- If such an assault is committed against a family member, as defined as “family violence” under Georgia law, the accused may be sentenced to at least 3 years, but no more than 20 years in prison; AND
- Lastly, any person who commits such an assault with the intent to rape a child under the age of 14 years old, may be punished by a prison sentence of anywhere between 25-50 years.
Due to the severity of the penalties for an aggravated assault conviction, it is of vital importance to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney who is knowledgeable of all possible options for an accused dealing with such serious allegations. At the Law Offices of W. Scott Smith, our lawyers are trained at defending such charges. Therefore, if you or a loved one has been arrested for aggravated assault, please call our office today at 404-581-0999 for a free consultation.