O.C.G.A.§16-5-24 defines Aggravated Battery as when a person maliciously causes bodily harm to another by depriving him/her of a part of their body, rendering a part of their body useless or by seriously disfiguring the person or a part of their body. Battery, on the other hand, is defined as when a person causes ‘substantial’ physical or visible bodily harm to another person (O.C.G.A. §16-5-23.1). So what really is the difference?
Let’s start with Battery, which occurs when one person causes physical bodily harm to another. Black eyes, busted lips and nasty bruises are all classic examples of injuries that occur as a result of a Battery. These injuries typically occur as a result of a fist-fight. But on occasion a fist-fight can lead to charges of Aggravated Battery when the damage is significant enough. If bones are broken during the fight, the prosecutors often elevate the charge from Battery to Aggravated Battery.
Aggravated Battery can take a variety of forms. Blinding another person (permanently or temporarily), pouring acid or scalding liquid on another, cutting, shooting or even beating as previously mentioned can result in Aggravated Battery charges. In order to support such a charge, however, there has to be some evidence that the perpetrator intended to cause the harm that occurred.
Punishment for Battery and Aggravated Battery
Punishment for the charge of Battery, a misdemeanor, is up to 12 months in custody. The time, of course, can be probated. The code section provides for different sentencing guidelines depending on the type of victim (law enforcement, over the age of 65, or a family member). Punishment for Aggravated Battery, a felony, is 1 to 20 years in custody, which can be probated. Additional punishment is provided for special victims and circumstances including law enforcement, elderly, school personnel and family members.
If you or a loved one have been charged with either Battery or Aggravated Battery, please give me a call at 404-474-2531 for a free consultation.