In the state of Georgia, a person can be charged with simple assault, a misdemeanor, without even touching another person. A violent threat is sufficient for a charge of simple assault. Simple battery involves making contact with the other person. The contact must be deliberate and provocative or insulting or must cause harm on purpose. Simple battery is also a misdemeanor.
Aggravated assault, which is a felony, occurs when the intention is to rob, rape or murder the other person. An attack with a weapon or any other object that is likely to cause or does cause serious injury or firing a gun from a vehicle toward a person are also acts of aggravated assault. Aggravated battery involves a serious injury. This includes what is known as “serious disfigurement”, which could mean an injury that results in a broken bone or a scar.
Simple assault and simple battery can result in up to a year of jail time and $1,000 in fines as well as probation and restitution. There may be additional penalties if there are other factors. These include a victim who is pregnant or a school employee. Aggravated assault may result in one to 20 years in prison while aggravated battery carries a minimum penalty of one to 20 years in prison. The penalty is more severe in the case of a hate crime.
A person who is facing charges for these types might want to consult an attorney about defense strategies. Among the possible defenses, the person might claim that any injury was an accident or that it was a case of self-defense. The accuracy of eyewitness accounts and forensic evidence could be called into question, and a person might claim to have not been at the scene at all. Another option might be to plead guilty to lesser charges in exchange for a less-severe penalty.