In Georgia, a family violence battery is the identical charge of battery except that the alleged victim in the case has some sort of familial connection to the accused. The State of Georgia also takes family violence offenses very seriously and they can prosecute the accused of family violence, even if the victim does not want to press charges.
According to O.C.G.A. § 16-5-23.1, a person commits a battery when he/she intentionally causes substantial physical or visible bodily harm to another. However, in order for a person to be charged with family violence battery, the crime must have occurred between the following people:
- Spouses or former spouses;
- Individuals who have a child together;
- Parents and children;
- Step-parents and step-children;
- Foster-parents and foster-children; and
- Individuals living or formerly living in the same household.
A family violence battery can either be characterized as a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the past criminal history of the accused. A major consequence of a family violence battery conviction is that any future convictions of the same crime is an automatic felony. The first conviction of a family violence battery is sentenced as a misdemeanor, however, the second and subsequent convictions have a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison. This rule, however, does not apply to simple battery- family violence. According to O.C.G.A. § 16-5-23, simple battery occurs either when:
- A person makes physical contact of an insulting or provoking manner with the person of another; or
- Intentionally causes physical harm to another.
Simple battery-family violence is identical to the crime of simple battery, except the alleged crime occurred between the following people listed above, which constitutes a familial tie.
After the first conviction of simple battery-family violence, unlike family violence battery, the second conviction is still merely characterized as a misdemeanor. A person convicted of simple battery- family violence or misdemeanor family violence battery may be sentenced to a maximum penalty of 12 months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.
Due to the severity of the penalties for a family violence charge, 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 a serious charge. At the Law Offices of W. Scott Smith, our lawyers are trained at defending such allegations. Therefore, if you or a loved one has been arrested for family violence battery or simple battery-family violence, please call our office today at 404-581-0999 for a free consultation.