Georgia law defines which acts of violence constitute Simple Assault (which is a misdemeanor) or Aggravated Assault (which is a felony). O.C.G.A. §16-5-20 defines Simple Assault as either an attempt to commit a violent injury on another or an act which places another person in reasonable apprehension of immediately receiving a violent injury. Trying to punch someone is a classic example of a Simple Assault. No contact is required. In fact, if contact is made, it would constitute either Simple Battery or Battery depending on the damage inflicted.
Aggravated Assault Generally
An Aggravated Assault can occur in a variety of different ways, though the main crux is the same. If you assault another person with a firearm, a deadly weapon, or with an object that can cause serious bodily injury, then you’ve committed an Aggravated Assault. Additionally, assaulting another person with in the intention of raping, robbing or murdering that person is another method of committing an Aggravated Assault. The punishment for committing an Aggravated Assault in either of these manners is 1 to 20 years in prison although it can be served on probation.
Specific Situations Defined by Statute
Georgia’s statute on Aggravated Assault (O.C.G.A. §16-5-21) underwent some revisions last year though the primary definition and punishment remained the same. The legislature added on new methods of committing an Aggravated Assault along with punishments for those new offenses. For example, using a firearm against a student or teacher while in a school safety zone constitutes an Aggravated Assault (it would have under the prior statute as well) but is punishable by 5-20 years in prison, which can be probated. Assaulting a child under 14 with the intent to rape that child is punishable by 25-50 years in prison and that term cannot be probated or paroled. There are several other situational definitions in O.C.G.A. §16-5-21. Please either refer to it or contact me for more information.
If you’ve been charged with the offense of Simple Assault or Aggravated Assault, please feel free to give me a call at 404-474-2531 for a free and confidential consultation. I have handled hundreds of assault cases in my career and would love to help you.