Assault and battery crimes in the State of Georgia include:

  • Aggravated assault
  • Simple assault
  • Battery
  • Simple battery
  • Aggravated battery

Assault Definition: What is assault?

Simple assault in Georgia is defined as an attempt to cause another person physical harm, such as by trying to strike a person with an object or the hands and missing. Assault can also be any intentional threat or act that reasonably causes an individual to fear impending violence. Making statements like “I will break your arm” or threatening to beat a person up, when said in an angry or menacing fashion, may be considered assault when the person making the threat is able to carry this threat out and when the victim is convinced that there is reason to believe he or she may be struck or physically injured (as per Georgia Code Annotated §16-5-20.)

Battery Definition: What is battery?

Simple battery in Georgia is defined as either:

  • intentionally causing physical harm to another person or
  • intentionally making physical contact of an insulting and provoking nature with another person.

Thus, punching someone with a fist or pushing someone may be considered a crime of simple battery.

Battery is when someone intentionally causes substantial physical harm or visible bodily injury to another. “Visible bodily harm” is bodily harm capable of being perceived by someone other than the victim and may include substantially blackened eyes, substantially swollen lips or other facial or body parts, or substantial bruises to other body parts, among other injuries.

The Difference Between Assault and Battery

So, what is the difference between assault and batter? As mentioned above, battery actually causes harm to a person or involves some degree of physical contact. Assault is an attempt to cause harm that does not succeed or a threat of harm, verbal or otherwise, that causes the other person to believe they may be injured in some way. What about aggravated assault and aggravated battery?

Aggravated Assault and Aggravated Battery

Assault becomes aggravated assault, a felony in Georgia, when it is committed:

  • with the intent to rape, rob or murder
  • with a deadly weapon or any other item that is or can be used to cause serious physical harm
  • by discharging a firearm from inside of a motor vehicle
  • with any item which is likely to or does cause strangulation

Battery becomes aggravated battery, and a Georgia felony, when and if the offender willfully inflicts serious physical injury to the victim, causing loss of limb, the inability to use a limb, or severe disfigurement. Serious injury is harm that is far more severe than slight or minor harm and may include coma, broken bones, or wounds that merit hospitalization, require considerable suturing, or necessitate surgery. Serious disfigurement could mean any physical alteration of the body, such as a visible facial scar, a visible scar on any other part of the body, or a broken bone that disfigures a person’s appearance, including a broken finger that cannot be straightened any longer or a broken nose.

Penalties for Aggravated Assault and Aggravated Battery

Any person who is convicted of aggravated battery or aggravated assault in Marietta GA will face the following penalties:

  • Between 1 and 20 years in prison (a minimum of 3 years for aggravated assault if having discharged a firearm from a motor vehicle)
  • Maximum of 20 years probation
  • Maximum fine of $100,000 and
  • Restitution

If a person is found guilty of having committed aggravated battery or assault on a public transit vehicle or on public transit property or against specific victims listed in the statute (like an intimate partner, family members, a person age 65 or above, a law enforcement professional, or a corrections officer), depending on the victim, the court can impose a minimum sentence of 3, 5 or 10 years in prison.

Repeat Offenses

A person with one or more existing felony convictions on his or her criminal record may be required to serve the full, maximum sentence for aggravated battery and assault as a result of these prior convictions. (Official Code of Georgia Annotated 17-10-7)

Hate Crimes and the Additional Punishments They Can Entail

If a person commits battery or assault or any other crime against a person due to prejudice or bias against this individual, it may be considered a hate crime, and the court may impose a more serious punishment than what would normally be imposed for this same crime, not to exceed the maximum penalty under the statute.


Often persons serving prison sentences may be released early on parole. The decision to allow a prisoner to be released early is up to the Georgia Parole Board. Currently, persons convicted of serious violent crimes generally are required to serve 90% of their sentence.


It is possible for the court to impose probation rather than making the individual serve time in jail or after the person has spent time in jail. For example, in an aggravated battery case, a judge could order the defendant to serve 3 years of jail time and two years of probation.

People who are on probation have to meet with their probation officers on a routine basis, and they must follow all conditions that have been mandated by the court, such as going to counseling or taking part in community service activities. If the individual violates probation, he or she can be arrested and will likely be required to serve a part of all of the remaining balance of his sentence.

Pretrial Options and Pleas

If you are currently facing battery or assault charges in Marietta GA, Diana Whipkey Young is an attorney at the Young Law Firm who can research your case and determine whether or not you have been charged wrongfully or if there are other reasons why your case should be dismissed before going to trial. If it is not possible to have your case dismissed, Diana Whipkey Young, a Marietta, GA attorney might be able to negotiate a plea bargain on your behalf or build your defense and serve as legal representation throughout your trial. Prosecutors are often willing to negotiate and will let defendants plead guilty to lesser charges. Alternatively, the prosecutor might agree to the recommendation of a more lenient sentence like probation if the defendant is willing to plead guilty to the charge.

Please contact the Young Law Firm to help you if you are in this situation. Give us a call today at 770-795-9596 or fill out our contact form to schedule a consultation.