Aggravated Battery is one of the more serious crimes that a person can be charged within the state of Georgia, carrying penalties including fines and up to twenty years in prison. Under Georgia code O.C.G.A. §16-5-24, “A person commits the offense of aggravated battery when he or she maliciously causes bodily harm to another by depriving him or her of a member of his or her body, by rendering a member of his or her body useless, or by seriously disfiguring his or her body or a member thereof.”
Simple Battery vs. Aggravated Battery
Speaking plainly, aggravated battery differs from other, less serious forms of battery in the severity of the injury inflicted.
Georgia law allows for three different definitions of battery: Simple Battery, Battery, and Aggravated Battery. The differences between each come down to the circumstances of the actual crime. The following breaks down a few aspects that prosecutors will examine in order to determine the nature of battery.
- Simple Battery: A minor act of physical contact that, while intended to offend, does not cause any significant harm. This charge generally comes when there are no visible injuries
- Battery: An act of physical contact intended to cause harm, resulting in visible injuries to the other person such as bruises or lacerations.
- Aggravated Battery: Physical contact intended not just to harm, but to harm severely, resulting in egregious injury, loss of mobility, or disfigurement.
As progressively more serious crimes, each of these charges carries their own legal consequences, with progressively greater fines and jail time for each. As the most severe classification of battery, aggravated battery carries the greatest fines and jail time.
What are the Consequences of Aggravated Battery?
Under Georgia law, aggravated battery is considered a felony, and prosecuted accordingly. While the exact circumstances of the case will play a role in sentencing, the resulting prison term for a conviction can run between one and 20 years.
These penalties are significantly higher in cases where the victim was a member of a protected group of people. Aggravated battery on a police officer, for example, carries a prison sentence between 10-20 years. If the victim is over the age of 65, the prison sentence can run between 5-20 years. And if the victim was a family member, the prison sentence can be anywhere between 3-20 years.
Additional consequences facing those convicted of aggravated battery in Georgia can also include:
- Probation: This can be served in addition to, or instead of, jail time, and allows those convicted to remain free in their community under supervision. This may include mandatory community service.
- Restitution: Those convicted can be ordered by the court to pay financial restitution to their victim to compensate for the losses and physical damage they suffered.
- Counseling or Anger Management: The court may compel those convicted to attend counseling to help overcome anger, depression or other underlying mental issues.
- Protective Orders: Those convicted may be required to obey a restraining order, maintaining physical distance from the victim as well as agreeing to not contact them.
Even after the fines have been paid and the prison sentence has been served, a conviction for aggravated battery on your permanent criminal record will have long-lasting – potentially life-long – effects.
- Financial Challenges: A conviction can make it harder to secure a job in the private or public sectors or be licensed for a particular trade or profession. In addition to the financial impact of required fines, those convicted may find their insurance premiums rising and access to public assistance or financial aid limited.
- Personal Challenges: Not only will a conviction impact your standing in the community, but it can strain family relationships and cause stress to the children and loved ones of those convicted. This sense of mistrust, exacerbated by the fact that a conviction is public record, can cause difficulty in creating social connections, re-entering society and creating deep self-esteem issues.
- Loss of Rights: Particularly for those convicted of felony aggravated battery, the loss of personal freedoms can be extraordinary. Convicted felons can lose the right to vote, possess a firearm, serve on a jury, adopt a child, and in some cases operate a motor vehicle. They can also lose custody of children and face issues with their immigration status.
Defending Against Aggravated Battery Charges
Being charged with aggravated battery does not mean you are guilty. A skilled attorney can help prove your case by offering alternative narratives, establishing defenses against allegations and refuting the evidence against you. Some of the more common defenses in aggravated battery cases include:
Acting in Self-Defense or Defense of Others: One of the most common defenses against aggravated battery charges, this requires you to demonstrate that there was a perceived threat, to yourself or other people in the immediate area, to which you responded proportionately.
Acting with Consent: While challenging to prove, this defense contends that you were given permission by the alleged victim, such as in the context of a sporting event.
Acting without Intention: Whether accidental or incidental, this defense attempts to show that the act itself was not premeditated or malicious.
Acting without Full Faculties: This argument posits that the defendant was not capable of committing the crime intentionally, either through mental incapacity, insanity or involuntary intoxication.
Questioning the Victim’s Account: Rather than focusing on the defendant’s actions, this defense examines the evidence and testimony of the alleged victim, whether it’s a case of mistaken identity or false accusation.
Questioning the Official Evidence: This defense calls into question the case as laid out by the prosecution: establishing an alibi, discrediting forensic evidence, highlighting possible police misconduct, arguing that the evidence is insufficient or working to have evidence excluded.
The Best Preparation, The Best Results
When it comes to fighting for your rights, the best thing you can be is prepared. At Busbee Law Group, we take this a step further, digging deep into the details of your case and creating an exhaustively researched defense on a foundation of facts and evidence. The rigorous preparation we put into each case allows us to enter the courtroom with a greater knowledge of your case than the prosecutors and the arresting officers, giving us an edge.
That intense preparation is only possible because of our firm’s dedication to each client. We keep our caseloads low, so our focus can stay right where it belongs, on your case. To our team, you’re not just another case file. You’re a person with rights that deserve our undivided attention. That’s why you get our entire legal team on your side, turning over every lead and investigating every aspect of your case.
A charge of aggravated battery can be a frightening thing to face. But you don’t have to face it alone. With the Busbee Law Group focused on your freedom, you can rest assured that everything possible is being done to secure the best possible outcome for you. Submit your contact details below and schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation to get started.