Fulton County Domestic Violence Lawyer
Domestic violence charges can leave a family emotionally devastated as well as physically harmed. Although some disputes can be settled, others may require the presence of law enforcement to ease tensions.
If you are arrested after a volatile altercation with a family member, get in touch with one of our skilled attorneys at Hawkins Spizman today. A Fulton County domestic violence lawyer can help you make sense of your situation.
What is Domestic Violence?
The State of Georgia interprets domestic violence as assault and battery under Title 16 Chapter 5 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.). Simple battery is a criminal offense in which one party intends to provoke or harm another through physical contact. If simple battery occurs between former or current spouses, the courts will consider this misdemeanor as high and aggravated in nature. However, family violence charges are not reserved for just married couples. People living together or anyone closely related can be charged with family violence battery, including for:
- Abuse of the elderly
- Emotional or verbal abuse, which constitutes an assault
- Child abuse
- Spousal rape
- Threats of violence
Since domestic violence could lead to jail time, fines, loss of a job, loss of the right to carry a firearm, injunctions, anger management classes, and the breakup of a marriage, a family violence attorney in your area should be consulted for the best outcome.
What Happens After a Domestic Violence Arrest?
All misdemeanor cases allow the arrested person to post a bond, which means the accused will have to pay bail money to get out of jail.
No Contact Order
In a family violence case, a judge will most likely issue a No Contact Order as a condition of pre-trial release. This condition forbids the person arrested to have contact with the accuser and possibly with any minors in the household, leaving the accused to find somewhere else to live, at least temporarily. An accused person can be arrested and held in jail until the case goes to trial if the No Contact Order is violated. At this stage, a local domestic violence attorney could file a motion to modify the No Contact Order to No Violent or Harassing Contact, allowing the accused to return home under those conditions.
Official Charging Document
The Solicitor General’s Office prosecutes misdemeanor family violence cases. The accused’s file will initially reflect unaccused status until an accusation is filed by a prosecutor who has reviewed the case and has found probable cause to proceed. An accusation document officially charges a person and provides information about the case and how to defend it.
Pre-Trial Diversion Programs
The assigned prosecutor may be willing to negotiate with the attorney for the accused. If a pre-trial diversion program is appropriate, the accused may avoid a conviction after successful completion of the program. This program is meant for people who do not have a violent criminal history and may be available based on the facts. If the accused successfully pays the negotiated fines, attends counseling, and completes assigned community service, the charges can be dismissed. If the accused is not eligible for a program, trial preparation should begin.
Punishment for Domestic Violence
In Georgia, the penalty for a first conviction for family violence battery is a maximum of 12 months in jail and a $1000 fine. The judge may also order probation with a provision that the accused participate in, and complete, a family violence program that usually lasts 24 weeks. These programs charge additional fees. A second or subsequent conviction against the same or another family member ratchets the charge to a felony with a maximum of five years in state prison.
What a Fulton County Domestic Violence Lawyer Can Do for You
A criminal record can impact your life no matter the circumstances of the offense. You might be subject to random drug and alcohol evaluations, community service, and required to attend counseling. You can even lose your firearm privileges or your job. However, A Fulton County domestic violence lawyer at Hawkins Spizman has the skills and experience necessary to negotiate on your behalf to obtain a better outcome. Call today for a case evaluation.