Understanding the Difference Between Assault and Battery

Though assault and battery charges are both typically referenced together and associated with harming another person, they have different definitions and come with different penalties. In Georgia, a person can be charged with either assault or battery, and the charge will either be “simple” or “aggravated.” A simple assault or battery charge is a misdemeanor crime whereas an aggravated charge is a felony. 

What is assault?

Assault is when one person threatens to or attempts to harm another. Under Georgia law, a simple assault is where someone attempts to violently injure another or puts another person in a situation where they could be injured. The actual act itself does not need to take place, and the person does not need to suffer injury for the charge to be upheld. Penalties for this charge can include fines up to $1,000, probation, and restitution. 

Aggravated assault is more serious, and can consist of attacks that involve firearms and are taken against pregnant women, police officers, senior citizens, or public school employees. Aggravated assault charges could include shooting a firearm towards a vehicle or other person, or the intent to murder, rape, or rob someone using a deadly weapon. If charged with aggravated assault, the penalties are more severe and could see the defendant incarcerated for up to 20 years.

What is battery?

Battery is when one person actually carries out that physical contact and harms another. If a person intentionally makes physical contact with another to cause harm, they could be charged with battery. Simple battery penalties include fines up to $1,000, probation, and restitution. 

If charged with aggravated battery, however, a person is considered to have intentionally and maliciously caused another person serious injury. The severity of this injury could be a loss of limb or severe disfigurement. If charged with aggravated battery, the penalties are more severe and could see the defendant incarcerated for up to 20 years.

Hate Crimes

If a person is charged with assault or battery, but the motivation for doing so is due to a prejudice against their race, gender, sexual orientation, or religion, this could be considered a hate crime and therefore the court must impose a harsher sentence, though no greater than the maximum penalty for that crime. 

Assault and battery charges are often charged together and are extremely serious crimes. At Pak and McRae, our experienced team of lawyers will help to ensure your rights are protected and provide an aggressive defense. For a free, confidential consultation call us today at (678) 632-5298.

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Pak & McRae Law

At Pak and McRae Law, LLC we provide straightforward, sincere criminal defense for local, state, and federal matters. Our team includes a former Assistant District Attorney, so we understand how prosecutors approach cases and will use those insights to benefit your case.

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