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What constitutes assault?

On Behalf of | Jun 12, 2024 | Assault

Assault in Georgia involves an intentional act that creates a reasonable fear of imminent harm in another person. Under Georgia law, assault can be categorized into simple assault and aggravated assault.

Simple assault

Defined under O.C.G.A. § 16-5-20, simple assault occurs when someone attempts to commit a violent injury or acts in a manner that places another person in reasonable apprehension of immediately receiving a violent injury. This does not require physical contact. A threat or gesture suffices if it reasonably instills fear of harm.

Aggravated assault

Under O.C.G.A. § 16-5-21, aggravated assault involves an assault committed with the intent to murder, rape, or rob, or with a deadly weapon or object likely to result in serious bodily injury. This includes pointing a firearm at someone, even if the gun is unloaded.

Legal consequences

Generally classified as a misdemeanor, penalties for simple assault may include up to 12 months in jail and fines up to $1,000. However, assaults against certain individuals, such as police officers or domestic violence cases, may lead to enhanced penalties.

Classified as a felony, aggravated assault carries severe consequences, including imprisonment for 1 to 20 years. If the person hurt is a peace officer or the assault occurs in a public transit vehicle or station, the penalties increase significantly.

Defenses and legal representation

Common defenses against assault charges include self-defense, defense of others, and lack of intent. Those facing assault charges in Georgia should seek experienced legal counsel to navigate the complexities of their case and develop an effective defense strategy.