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What Crimes Are Considered Domestic Violence Crimes in Georgia?

What crimes are considered domestic violence crimes in Georgia? Ask the Waltman Law Firm. Get the answer to that question and many more. Contact us today!

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What Crimes Constitute Domestic Violence in Georgia?

Domestic violence is a much broader term than many people can imagine. Many crimes can be considered domestic violence in Georgia.

In addition to domestic assault & battery, domestic violence crimes can also include:

  • Sexual abuse or assault

  • Spousal abuse

  • Child abuse

  • Emotional abuse

  • Physical abuse

  • Stalking

  • Harassment

  • Unlawful restraint

  • Criminal trespass

  • Criminal property damage

However, to be considered domestic abuse or violence, these crimes must be committed against someone with whom the perpetrator has an intimate relationship. In fact, in Georgia courts, domestic violence crimes are referred to as family violence.

Domestic violence cases are considered some of the most challenging and emotionally charged cases. In addition, a person accused of domestic violence is often presumed guilty and has to wait a significant period to get the chance to tell their side of the story. So, if you or a loved one is charged with domestic violence in Georgia, hiring a domestic violence lawyer in Marietta as soon as possible can be quite beneficial to your case.

What Constitutes Family Violence in Georgia?

The Georgia Family Violence Act, as well as domestic violence laws O.C.G.A. 19-13-30 – 19-13-34, formally addresses domestic violence matters. Family violence in Georgia is defined as any felony or violent offense of simple battery, battery, simple assault, assault, criminal damage to property, stalking, unlawful restraint, or criminal trespass that occurred once or several times.

In addition to the offense committed against an alleged victim, another critical factor determining a domestic violence charge includes the relationship between the alleged perpetrator and the victim.

Qualifying relationships include parents of the same child, past and present spouses, parents and children, stepparents and stepchildren, foster parents and foster children, or other individuals living currently or that used to live in the same household. According to Georgia domestic violence laws, these individuals are referred to as a family.

Crimes Considered Family Violence

Common charges involving domestic violence include assault and battery. Assault involves attempting to cause violent injury or rob another individual while using some kind of weapon or even without a weapon. Intentionally causing substantial physical harm or physical contact to provoke or insult is considered battery.

In terms of domestic violence, stalking involves following or surveilling the activities of another household member without their consent.

Unlawful restraint involves kidnapping and physically restraining the victim. It can also involve not allowing an individual to leave.

Knowingly preventing or interfering with someone from using property or possessions is considered criminal trespass, while criminal damage to property includes damaging or destroying personal belongings, regardless of whether the damage was intended.

Bear in mind that individuals currently living or who used to live in the same household can include relationships beyond close family members, including roommates and unmarried dating partners.

In short, family violence occurs when a felony or some of the described offenses occurs between individuals whose relationship can fall under the definition of family. However, according to Georgia law §19-13-1, it’s important to note that domestic violence doesn’t include “reasonable discipline administered by a parent to a child” and that corporal punishment, restraint, or detention aren’t considered family violence. 

What is the Difference Between Violence and Domestic Violence?

A domestic violence offense can result in criminal charges depending on the circumstances of the offense, the injuries an alleged victim may have suffered, and a defendant’s prior convictions. But, Georgia’s criminal justice system punishes most offenses involving family violence more harshly than identical acts committed between people who are strangers and don’t share a domestic relationship.

For instance, while batteries that don’t involve domestic violence are not considered felonies until the defendant’s third conviction for battery, a second conviction for family violence battery will most likely be prosecuted as a felony.

Also, most simple assault offenses are prosecuted as misdemeanors. But if the simple assault involves family violence, the crime can result in more severe penalties that would correspond to a high and aggravated misdemeanor.

In addition, simple assault can be an exchange of words that would communicate a reasonable belief that a serious bodily injury will occur. An individual doesn’t have to hit another or make physical contact. 

However, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help navigate domestic violence charges and give their best to mitigate the potential consequences. 

Are Domestic Violence Charges in Georgia Serious?

Charges for domestic violence should be considered very serious since individuals if convicted, can end up in jail and pay substantial fines. These cases almost always attract a jail or prison sentence, especially if an individual charged with domestic abuse has a previous domestic violence conviction.

Other consequences include a permanent criminal record, potential loss of child custody rights, and mandatory anger management classes.

It’s also important to know that once the case starts, family violence charges can’t be dropped if the alleged victim changes their mind. The prosecutor decides whether to prosecute the domestic violence case, and it can proceed even without the victim’s cooperation.

If individuals report family violence or think it may occur in the future, they can seek protection in the form of a family violence protective order. If someone has a protective order filed against you, hiring a Marietta protective order defense attorney could be a good strategy. That way, they can make sure your rights are protected in the process.

Is Emotional Abuse a Crime in Georgia?

Yes, emotional abuse is a crime in Georgia because it’s defined as an act of family violence. Georgia law protects individuals against sexual, emotional, and physical violence and abuse between household members. You don’t have to be related to someone or married to be a domestic violence victim in Georgia. Also, the crime itself doesn’t have to be physical to be considered domestic abuse.

How Can The Waltman Firm Help With Domestic Violence Charges?

Although many family violence offenses are committed in the heat of the moment, domestic violence convictions can have harsh and long-term consequences that can extend beyond the courtroom. These consequences include limiting education, housing opportunities, and employment or suspending specific professional certificates or rights, such as the right to carry a concealed weapon.

When these offenses appear on a domestic violence background check of your state or federal criminal records, your potential landlord, employer, or school administration knows you have been convicted of a domestic violence crime.

Domestic violence can also affect the personal lives of defendants even before they are convicted since they are likely to face civil sanctions arising from temporary restraining orders. Violating a restraining order can result in jail time and a charge with a separate crime.

The Waltman Firm’s Holly Waltman has extensive experience handling cases like these, which is why she is a great choice for this type of case. By taking an innovative approach, we are able to draft legal strategies that are appropriate for your case. Contact The Waltman Firm today!