Fulton County Assault Lawyer
Although many people may think otherwise, you do not have to physically harm another person to be charged with assault. Under certain circumstances, an assault charge could arise just from an alleged attempt to harm someone else, or even solely from a verbal confrontation where a threat to harm is made.
Regardless of how an assault charge originates, it is important that you take it seriously by acting quickly to retain a criminal defense attorney. Without a skilled Fulton County assault lawyer by your side, you may have a difficult time achieving a positive resolution to your case and avoiding serious criminal consequences.
Simple Assault Charges in Fulton County
The most basic form of assault is defined by Official Code of Georgia §16-5-20 as any action that either results in a violent injury to someone else or makes that person reasonably fear they will be harmed. The specific wording of this statute means that it is not necessary for someone to actually cause an injury for an assault charge to be warranted. So long as a reasonable person would have anticipated being harmed because of the alleged action, a criminal case for assault may be made.
A first-time conviction for simple assault is typically prosecuted as a misdemeanor offense punishable by a maximum of one year in jail, a maximum fine of $1,000. Most simple assault sentences do not result in heavy jail time, but rather a period of probation and a condition that there be no contact with the victim, or at least no violent contact. In some cases, restitution to the assaulted party may be ordered by the judge. However, simple assault may be upgraded to a “high and aggravated” misdemeanor where the offense:
- Involves the use of a firearm, or
- Impacts a pregnant woman, elderly person, or public school employee, or
- Occurs on public transportation, or
- Impacts a family or household member
An assault attorney may be able to help contest allegations of this kind of conduct and minimize the penalties a defendant faces for this type of offense in Fulton County.
What is the Legal Definition of “Aggravated Assault”?
Assault is classified as “aggravated” in nature if it involves particularly violent conduct. Specifically, O.C.G.A. §16-5-21 lists the following justifications for a charge of aggravated assault:
- Assault with a deadly weapon
- Assault with any object that could reasonably cause serious physical harm
- Assault associated with attempted rape, robbery, or murder
- Discharging a firearm towards a vehicle with at least one person in it, regardless of whether anyone was hit
Unlike simple assault, aggravated assault is a felony offense in Georgia, with accordingly harsher potential penalties. Upon conviction for aggravated assault, a person in Fulton County may face anywhere from one to 20 years in prison, and they may have to pay steep fines and provide financial restitution to the victim.
Assault Designated as a Hate Crime
As provided for in O.C.G.A. §17-10-17, any act of assault and/or battery committed against someone based on their membership in any federally protected class must be punished more severely than a typical assault offense. While this increased penalty may not exceed the maximum set for normal assault crimes, anyone convicted of assault as a hate crime must serve no less than 90 percent of their total sentence, without being eligible for earlier release or parole. Representation from a knowledgeable assault lawyer in Fulton County is crucial to avoiding this kind of outcome in a case.
Speak with a Fulton County Assault Attorney Today
A conviction for assault can result in harsh penalties even if no physical harm occurred. In light of this, it is wise to retain legal counsel if you are facing such an accusation, particularly if you do not believe the charges against you have any merit.
A Fulton County assault lawyer could clarify what your legal situation is and help you assess your options for defending your case in court. To start discussing your case, call today.