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what's the difference between assault and battery?


Both assault and battery charges are not to be taken lightly. In Georgia, assault and battery can be charged as misdemeanors or felonies with both types of charges meaning potentially hefty fines and jail time.

What Is The Difference Between Assault And Battery?

According to Georgia laws, assault is defined as the threat of or attempted harm of another person, while battery is the actual physical contact and potential harm of someone else. For a battery charge to be filed, there needs to be physical contact between the accuser and the victim.

An example of battery includes hitting or punching someone forcibly to cause them pain. While an assault charge could include accusations such as:

  • Swinging at someone and missing
  • Throwing an object at someone
  • Pointing a weapon at someone and threatening them
  • Threatening to hit or kill someone
  • Attempted rape

Is Assault and Battery a Felony?

Generally, assault and battery are often classified as misdemeanors, which are less serious crimes involving minor injuries or threats. Penalties for misdemeanors typically include fines, probation, community service, and/or jail time of less than one year.

However, the charges can be escalated to a felony in certain situations.

These can include cases where:

  • A weapon was used during the assault
  • The victim sustained serious injuries
  • The perpetrator has a history of similar offenses
  • The assault was committed against a protected individual like a police officer, healthcare provider, elderly person, or child

Felony assault and battery charges carry more severe penalties, including larger fines and longer periods of incarceration in a state prison.

Always consult with a legal professional for advice specific to your situation.

What Types of Charges Can be Filed for Assault or Battery?

There are two different types of charges that can be filed for both assault and battery - simple and aggravated. The difference between the charges can be broken down into the accuser’s intent and if that intent was malicious. Each type of charge can lead to different punishments in the state of Georgia:

  • Simple Assault and Simple Battery: these charges are usually defined as a misdemeanor. This could lead to up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $5,000.
  • Aggravated Assault and Aggravated Battery: compared to their simple assault and battery counterparts, an aggravated assault or battery charge has a heftier penalty. A conviction could mean up to 20 years in prison, probation up to 20 years, and a fine up to $100,000. If someone is convicted of aggravated assault and used their firearm while in a vehicle, the state imposes a three-year minimum prison sentence.

If you or a loved one is facing an assault or battery charge - whether it’s classified simple or aggravated - our attorneys are ready to help you. Call today at (404) 471-3177.

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