What is the Difference Between Battery and Family Violence Battery in Georgia?

It is important to understand the distinction between family violence battery and “normal” battery in the state of Georgia. At first glance, the two crimes may seem identical. In both cases, the victim is being assaulted or physically harmed in some way by another person. However, these two crimes have different types of penalties. In the eyes of Georgia law, things change considerably when you commit battery against a family member. If you have been charged with family battery violence, you face much more serious consequences. This is why it is important to enlist the help of a qualified legal expert as soon as possible.


The Definition of Family Violence According to Georgia Law


So what exactly is family violence battery? While other states may include assaults between family members under their definition of “domestic violence,” Georgia calls this “family violence” instead. According to Georgia law, family violence occurs between:


  • Current or former spouses

  • Parents of the same child

  • Children of parents

  • Stepparents or stepchildren

  • Anyone living in the same household who are deemed to be part of the same “family unit”


Family violence may include things like stalking, trespassing, unlawful restraint, and of course, battery. It is important to note that even former roommates may be charged with family violence battery. 


What is Family Violence Battery?


Family violence battery is when people of the same “family” (listed above) intentionally commit physical or visible bodily harm upon each other. An example would be a slap, a punch, or a push that left a visible mark, such as a bruise or a scrape. Note that even a “simple battery” (harm that does not leave a mark) is still defined as a different crime called “simple family violence battery” when committed against family members. 


The Main Difference Between Battery and Family Violence Battery


The main difference between battery and family violence battery involves the penalties for each crime. Simply put, battery comes with much less serious penalties compared to family violence battery. First, let us examine the penalties for a “normal” battery charge:


  • First Offense: Misdemeanor charge. Up to 12 months in prison, a $1000 fine, or both. 

  • Second Offense: Misdemeanor charge. Up to 12 months in prison, a $1000 fine, or both.

  • Third Offense: Same as above – unless you have assaulted the same person on two previous occasions. In this case, it becomes a felony charge with up to five years in prison. You may also be charged with a felony if you have assaulted a healthcare worker or a patient at a healthcare facility. 


As you can see, it is difficult to be charged with a felony if you have committed a “normal battery.” Now let us look at what happens if you commit that same crime against a family member:


  • First Offense: Misdemeanor charge. Up to 12 months in prison, a $1000 fine, or both. 

  • Second Offense: Automatic felony with up to five years in prison. 


It is obvious that a family violence battery quickly becomes a serious offense if you commit this crime more than once. In addition, this is seen as a “deportable offense,” which means you may be forced to leave the country. You may also lose your gun rights. It is worth pointing out that these strict penalties only apply to family violence battery, and a second “simple family violence battery” offense is still just a misdemeanor. 


Getting Legal Help 

If you have been charged with family violence battery, it is crucial that you seek expert legal help as soon as possible. Reach out to Lankford & Moore Law today, and we will help you strive for the best possible outcome.

I realized the true function of a lawyer was to unite parties riven asunder. The lesson was so indelibly burnt into me that a large part of my time during the twenty years of my practice as a lawyer was occupied in bringing about private compromises of hundreds of cases. I lost nothing thereby — not even money, certainly not my soul.

Mahatma Gandhi

Lankford & Moore Law in Downtown Lawrenceville

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