Photo from Pexels
If you’ve been charged with aggravated assault in the state of Georgia, it’s important to know your options. The first step after being charged should always be to contact a qualified aggravated assault defense attorney. Contact Jarrett Maillet, J.D., P.C., today to get started on your best possible defense.
What Is Aggravated Assault?
Georgia Code Section 16-5-23 defines aggravated assault as an incident in which one person (called the aggressor) attempts to assault another person (called the victim) with the intent to murder, rape, or rob.
The aggressor may or may not use a firearm, weapon, or other object to threaten the victim. Other objects, in this case, can include obvious weapons of opportunity, such as a crowbar or baseball bat, but can also include anything that can be used to cause additional harm, such as a beer bottle or coffee mug.
The aggressor also may or may not commit aggravated assault by way of strangulation. This can be perpetrated with the hands or arm, with a weapon such as a garotte, or with some other object, such as the cord of a lamp.
Georgia Code Section 16-5-23 also outlines another form of aggravated assault, namely when the aggressor discharges a firearm in the direction of another person, granted that the aggressor does so from inside an automotive vehicle.
What’s the Difference Between Assault and Aggravated Assault?
In the state of Georgia, an incident qualifies as assault when the aggressor attempts to cause the victim harm. While this may include a verbal threat, it must involve an actual physical movement. This may be swinging an object towards the victim with the intent to impact, or pulling back their fist to punch. Regardless of the method, the victim must have a real and present fear of imminent harm due to the aggressor’s actions, not just their words.
With this in mind, the differentiation between assault and aggravated assault comes down to intent: if the intent is to harm, it’s assault. If the intent is to murder, rape, or rob, it’s aggravated assault.
What About Battery?
You’ve probably heard the term battery as “assault and battery.” In fact, the two are used together often enough that most people don’t realize they are actually separate charges.
As previously mentioned, assault is when the aggressor attempts to cause the victim harm, and aggravated assault is when the aggressor attempts to cause the victim harm with the intent to murder, rape, or rob. The key word in these two definitions is ‘attempt.’
Battery, on the other hand, is when the aggressor successfully manages to make contact with the victim, causing them harm. Aggravated battery is when the aggressor makes contact with the victim and causes them harm with the intent to murder, rape, or rob.
For example, say the aggressor gets into an argument with the victim and threatens to hurt them. Then, the aggressor swings a baseball bat at the victim. If the bat does not actually hit the victim (therefore harming them), then the incident is considered assault. If the bat does hit the victim, causing them harm, the incident graduates to assault and battery.
If the aggressor’s threat includes an indication that they intend to not just harm but also to kill the victim, and their swing with the bat misses, the incident is considered aggravated assault. If the swing actually hits and harms the victim (not actually killing them), the incident would graduate to aggravated battery.
What Are the Consequences for Aggravated Assault in Georgia?
Aggravated assault in Georgia is considered a felony, and is punishable by up to 20 years probation and/or prison, up to $100,000 in fines, and restitution. If you have previous felony convictions, you are most likely to face the maximum of these charges.
There are other factors that may elevate the possible sentence. The following circumstances carry a minimum prison sentence of 3 years in addition to the consequences listed above:
- The offense is committed on public transit, such as a city bus, subway, etc.
- The offense also qualifies as domestic violence.
- The offense is committed against an elderly person 65 years of age or older.
The minimum prison sentence graduates to 5 years for the following:
- The offense is committed against a correctional officer, firefighter, police officer, or officer of the court.
- The offense involves the use of a firearm.
- The offense takes place in a school safety zone.
- The offense is committed against a teacher, student, or other school personnel.
If the offense involves the use of a firearm, the minimum prison sentence increases to 10 years.
And lastly, the most severe charges are reserved for those offenses that are committed with the intent to rape a child under the age of 14. In such a case, the prison sentence is a minimum of 25 years up to a maximum of 50 years.
What Should Your Next Steps Be If You’ve Been Charged with Aggravated Assault?
No matter what the situation is, the first step after being charged is always to contact a lawyer. There are many points in the charging and sentencing process at which an experienced defense attorney can advocate on your behalf, and it’s vital to take advantage of all of them.
Jarrett Maillet, J.D., P.C., has the experience you need to deal with your charges. If you’ve been charged with aggravated assault in Savannah or the surrounding area, contact us today for a consultation.
Jarrett Maillet J.D., P.C.
210 E 31st St
Savannah, GA 31401