Criminal Defense And High-Stakes Divorce In Georgia Requires Grit And Local Insight

Aerial View of Lake Oconee

Can verbal threats be considered assault in Georgia?

On Behalf of | Jun 9, 2024 | Assault

Verbal threats can create a sense of fear and intimidation, impacting a person’s sense of safety. These threats may seem less harmful than physical violence, but they can still cause emotional and psychological distress.

Understanding whether verbal threats constitute assault involves examining the legal definition and how it applies to non-physical forms of intimidation.

Definition of assault in Georgia

In Georgia, assault means attempting to commit a violent injury or acting in a way that makes someone fear harm. You do not have to touch someone to commit assault. Actions or words that make a person believe they will be harmed can be enough.

Simple assault vs. aggravated assault

Georgia law separates assault into two categories: simple and aggravated. Simple assault includes threats or actions that make someone fear immediate harm. Aggravated assault involves more serious threats or actions, often with a deadly weapon. Simple assault can include verbal threats if they make someone reasonably fear for their safety.

From verbal threats to assault

A verbal threat counts as assault if it is specific and immediate. General threats or insults do not usually count. If someone threatens to harm you right away and you believe they can do it, that can be assault. The key is whether a reasonable person would feel scared and believe the threat is real.

Consequences of verbal assault

Assault charges in Georgia lead to serious consequences. Simple assault usually counts as a misdemeanor, which can result in fines, community service or jail time. Severe verbal threats that count as aggravated assault carry harsher penalties, including longer prison sentences.

Defending against assault charges

When someone accuses you of verbal assault, the context of the situation matters. The court considers what you said, how you said it, and the circumstances around the threat. Defending against these charges often involves showing that the threat was not serious or that the person did not actually fear for their safety.

If you get accused of assault due to verbal threats, understand your legal rights and seek appropriate counsel to protect yourself.