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Statute of Limitations on Domestic Violence

The statute of limitations is the length of time that an individual has to file a lawsuit or expire. The statute varies depending on the type of case.

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Domestic Violence in Georgia

Domestic abuse or intimate partner abuse is a widespread problem across Georgia. Abuse is different from violence and refers to intentional inflictions of imminent bodily injury, physical harm, or impairment. However, the Office of Violence Against Women defines violence as any act or a pattern of physical and emotional abuse by an intimate partner to gain or maintain power and control over the other.

What Is a Statute of Limitations?


A statute of limitations, in general, is the time limit to bring or file the criminal charges against the alleged offender. Each criminal charge has a specific time frame during which prosecutors can file criminal charges. The statute of limitations varies for different criminal offenses depending on your state.

Is There a Statute of Limitations on Domestic Violence?

In Georgia, the statute of limitations on domestic violence is two years if it is a misdemeanor and four years if it is a felony crime. Victims cannot seek charges against the accused after these time frames. Usually, misdemeanors are considered less serious offenses than a felony, resulting in slightly less severe punishments.

In addition, there is no statute of limitations on charges of domestic violence involving sexual or molesting acts if DNA evidence attests to the identity of the accused. Forcible rape, however, carries a 15-year statute of limitations.

To better understand domestic violence cases and their process timeline, consult with a skilled domestic violence lawyer in Marietta at the Waltman Firm.


Misdemeanor Domestic Violence


In domestic violence cases, it is considered a misdemeanor when the following is fulfilled:

  1. It is a misdemeanor under federal, state, and tribal law.
  2. Using or attempting to use physical force, a deadly weapon, or any other means to cause physical harm to the alleged victim
  3. Committed by a former spouse or the current spouse, parent, childhood acquaintance, guardian, or any other person who lives in the same household

Family Violence Complaint and Investigation

When a victim files a complaint of domestic violence, it is not up to a victim whether or not to file criminal charges for domestic violence in Oklahoma. Instead, law enforcement will make this decision.

Alternatively, law enforcement might witness domestic violence, or another witness – such as a neighbor or family member – might come forward with a complaint. Once there is proof that domestic violence might be occurring, law enforcement can open an investigation.


What Is Considered a Felony?


However, a felony offense in domestic violence could include:

  • Aggravated assault
  • Aggravated battery
  • Kidnapping
  • False imprisonment
  • Reckless conduct
  • Cruelty to children
  • Stalking, harassing, and intimidating
  • Cruelty or physical violence
  • Sexual crimes, including rape, child molestation, incest, or aggravated sexual battery
  • Aggravated sodomy

Punishment for Domestic Violence

The penalties or punishments for domestic violence would be:

  • Jail time
  • Fines
  • Probation
  • Community service
  • Mandatory attendance at anger management programs
  • Protective (restraining) orders

Some penalties for other crimes that fall under domestic violence offenses are the following:

  • Simple assault and battery: A maximum jail sentence of one year and a fine up to $1000
  • Aggravated assault and battery: Imprisonment of between one and twenty-year and a $100,000 fine
  • Child molestation or rape: A maximum of 50 years in prison
  • Stalking: One-year jail sentence for a misdemeanor and up to 10 years incarceration for a felony offense

Working with criminal defense attorneys skilled and experienced in handling family violence, sexual assault, and child abuse cases is recommended to protect your rights in criminal courts.

Family Violence Complaint and Investigation in Georgia

In Georgia, law enforcement officers arrest the perceived perpetrator of domestic violence. It is not the victim’s responsibility to file criminal charges, but rather it is the responsibility of law enforcement to do so. Also, a neighbor, friend, or family member may report domestic violence to law enforcement, or another witness may report domestic violence to law enforcement. Law enforcement can open an investigation once the proof is found that domestic violence might be taking place.

Statute of Limitations on Domestic Abuse


In Georgia, the statute of limitations on domestic abuse is two to four years depending on the type and category of the abuse. After this time limit, the prosecution won’t be able to process your case. Abuse is a serious crime and can happen to anyone regardless of age, gender, race, sexual orientation, or social and economic status.

Because of how serious the consequences are in Domestic Violence cases, you need to be fully prepared. Whether you are a domestic violence survivor or you have been accused of committing domestic violence, a trustworthy domestic violence attorney can help you with your case. Consult with our personal injury attorney and identify how you can proceed with a domestic violence case.

As a trusted domestic violence attorney in Marietta, GA, Holly Waltman of The Waltman Firm offers strong, compassionate legal guidance to both victims of domestic abuse and individuals facing charges.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Withdraw Domestic Violence Charges?

The Georgia domestic violence law is strict and can put you in a tight spot because the victim cannot drop or withdraw the charges on their own. The decision on case proceedings is the sole choice of the prosecutor.


Can Men Be the Victims of Domestic Violence?

Mostly women are the victims of domestic violence and abuse, and they find it difficult to their abusive relationships. However, it doesn’t mean that a man cant be a victim of domestic assault. With proper counseling and appropriate treatment, both physical and psychological, precious lives can be saved.

However, to stop the crazy cycle of domestic violence and provide care and support to the victims, it is necessary to get a temporary protective order (T.P.O.) from the court. For more information, please consult with our protective order defense attorney.


How Long Does a Domestic Violence Charge Last on Your Record?

A domestic violence case’s timeline depends on the crime type and the prosecution’s approach. Domestic violence charges typically remain on the perpetrator’s record for about 2 or 4 years. However, if the victim is a minor, such charges stay for 7 years.