Crimes Against People

Crimes Against People in Georgia

Crimes against people contain offenses that usually involve causing bodily harm to another, threatening to cause bodily harm, or other actions committed against the will of an individual. An aggravated offense occurs when the crime is made worse or more serious due to certain circumstances such as using a deadly weapon. Aggravated offenses come with more severe penalties.

Lawson and Berry and their team of Georgia Crimes Against People Attorneys have over 20 years experience are familiar with the subtle differences that distinguish each of the crimes and can help you build a strong defense. Don't wait because you and your loved one's future depends on it. Call us today and schedule a free consultation.

Crimes Against People in Georgia Include:

Aggravated Assault: Aggravated assault can occur in a variety of ways. The first way happens when a person attempts to commit a violent injury to another. The second way is when a person commits an act that places another in fear of immediately receiving a violent injury.

Aggravated Battery: Aggravated battery occurs when a person maliciously causes bodily harm to another. This can happen by depriving them of a member of their body, by rendering a member of their body useless, or by seriously disfiguring his or her body or a member thereof. Some examples of aggravated battery include shooting a person with a gun or hitting someone with a weapon.

Aggravated Stalking: Stalking rises to the level of aggravated stalking when a person violates a protective order by placing the person under surveillance. It can also occur when they contact the person in violation of the order. 

Assault: Assault and battery are often interchanged but they are completely different crimes. A person has committed assault when they attempt to commit a violent injury to another. The second way a person can be guilty of assault is when they commit an act that places another in reasonable apprehension of immediately receiving a violent injury. 

Assault on an Unborn Child: Assault on an unborn child differs from the simple assault crime because it only applies to unborn children. A person will have violated the statute when they attempt to inflict violent injury to an unborn child. 

Assisted Suicide: Physician assisted suicide is legal in some states but not in Georgia. Georgia considers it a crime when a person knowingly and willfully assists another in the commission of such person's suicide. This includes whether a person physically helped or providing the means for the suicide to occur. 

Battery: Battery is often confused with the crime of assault. A person commits battery when they intentionally cause substantial harm or visible bodily harm to another.

Battery of an Unborn Child: The crime of battery of an unborn child carries negative reactions within the community. A crime occurs when a person, without justification, intentionally inflicts physical harm upon an unborn child. Lawson and Berry and their team of Georgia Crimes Against People Attorneys understand that a charge is not the same as a conviction. We are here to help you. 

Cruelty to Children: Cruelty to children is broken down into three different degrees. First and second degree will be felony convictions. A third degree cruelty to children conviction can be either a misdemeanor or a felony. A person will have committed cruelty to children when they jeopardize a the well-being of a child under 18 years of age. 

False Imprisonment: False imprisonment is similar to the crime of kidnapping. It occurs when a person in violation of the personal liberty of another, arrests, confines, or detains another person without legal authority.

Felony Murder: Felony murder occurs when a person commits murder while committing a felony. The underlying felony could be burglary, rape, kidnapping, or arson. The penalty for a felony murder conviction is life in prison or the death penalty. 

Female Genital Mutilation: Female genital mutilation is a crime laid out in federal law, international law, and Georgia law. It occurs when a person knowingly circumcises a female under 18 years old. Another way it can occur is when a parent or guardian knowingly consents or permits the circumcision of such female.

Feticide: It occurs when a person willfully and without legal justification causes the death of an unborn child by any injury to the mother of such child.Feticide is a felony conviction punished by life in prison.

Hazing: Hazing is often seen as an initiation for a sports team, greek organization, school, or a club. The crime of hazing occurs when a person is subjected to an activity which endangers or is likely to endanger the physical health of a student. It does not matter whether the student willingly participated in the activity or not. 

Interference with Custody: The crime of interference with custody occurs when a parent tries to disrupt the custody rights of the other parent generally by not following the visitation/child custody agreement. This does not mean that the child was taken against their will. Interference with custody can occur even if the child wanted to go with that parent. 

Involuntary Manslaughter: Involuntary manslaughter is a type of crime that results in the death of another. It occurs when there is an unintentional killing resulting from recklessness or criminal negligence.

Kidnapping: In Georgia, kidnapping occurs when a person abducts or steals away another person without lawful authority or warrant and holds such person against his or her will. Georgia law states that even a slight movement will be enough to constitute kidnapping. 

Malicious Confinement of a Sane Person in an Asylum: The crime of malicious confinement occurs when a person maliciously confines a sane person in an asylum. The asylum can be a public or private asylum. 

Murder: The crime of murder occurs when a person unlawfully causes the death of another. Georgia law also requires that the crime is premeditated. Murder can be in the first or second degree. 

Reckless Abandonment: Reckless abandonment requires that a person is first in immediate charge of a child under one or is supervising the child. Second, they must willfully and voluntarily abandon the child. Third, the abandonment must with the intent of severing all parental and custodial duties. Lastly, the desertion must result in the death of the child.

Reckless Conduct: There is not a set definition of what constitutes reckless conduct. Instead, it is compared to how a reasonable person would act in the situation. Reckless conduct occurs when a person causes bodily harm or endangers the bodily safety of another person by consciously disregarding a substantial risk that his act will cause harm or endanger the safety of the other person.

Restraining Orders and Protective Orders: Both restraining orders and protective orders are issued by the Court generally in domestic violence cases. Their purpose is to protect someone from harassment, stalking, or assault. 

Simple Battery: There are three different types of battery: simple battery, battery, and aggravated battery. Simple battery occurs when a person either intentionally makes physically contact of an insulting or provoking nature with the person of another. Another way it can occur is when a person intentionally causes physical harm to another.

Stalking: Privacy is one of the fundamental rights guaranteed to citizens under the U.S. Constitution. A person's right is violated when they are followed, placed under surveillance, or contacted by someone without their consent. Additionally, the purpose must be for harassing and intimidating the other person.

Trafficking of Persons for Labor or Sexual Servitude: Georgia law breaks down trafficking into two categories: sexual and labor. Both types come with severe penalties. While an individual can be charged with violating this crime, corporations can be guilty as well. 

Voluntary Manslaughter: Many people do not understand the difference between voluntary and involuntary manslaughter. Voluntary manslaughter occurs when a person causes the death of another acting out of a sudden, violent, and irresistible passion resulting from serious provocation. The difference between murder and voluntary manslaughter is that the killing is done in hot blood. Murder requires that there is malice or deliberation. 

Voluntary Manslaughter of an Unborn Child: Similarly to voluntary manslaughter, this crime occurs as a result from serious provocation that results in the death of an unborn child. However, the provocation must be enough that a reasonable person would also have been provoked. 

Georgia Case Law

Demarques Lee Williams was charged with aggravated assault and battery. Williams and the victim were invited to a Christmas party. Williams asked the victim to play dice and the victim won all of Williams' money. Williams continued to lose money as the night went on. Later that night, the victim turned around and found Williams had a gun pointed to his head. He tried to push Williams' hand away but Wililams' came back swinging and hit the victim with his pistol. They began fighting and the victim was shot and his spine was severed. Williams was convicted of aggravated assault due to the initial action of pointing the gun at the victim's head. His next action of shooting the victim was considered an act of aggravated battery and he was found guilty of that crime as well. Williams v. State, 332 Ga. App. 805, (2015).

The Court found sufficient evidence to convict James Austin, Jr. of stalking and criminal trespass. Austin v. State, 335 Ga. App. 521, (2016). Austin and the victim were friends but never had an intimate or dating relationship. Their friendship lasted a couple years until Austin began to call the victim and was hostile during the phone class. He would be upset if she hung out with another male friend and would leave angry voicemails. Austin repeatedly went to the victim's home even though she asked him to stop. One incident occurred when a neighbor spotted him outside in front of her windows late at night. Austin admitted that he parked in front of her home for 20-30 minutes at least two times. To be convicted of stalking, there must be a pattern of behavior. The Court found there was sufficient evidence supporting a stalking conviction and a criminal trespass conviction.

In Sanchez v. State, Ricardo Sanchez was convicted of felony murder and reckless conduct. The victim's were gathered a friend's home when they heard tires screeching outside. They exited the home and confronted Sanchez as he got out of his vehicle. The owner of the home demanded Sanchez leave the home and he was escorted back to his vehicle. As the family members were walking back into the house, Sanchez struck one relative, Gerardo, and ran over another one, Juan. Sanchez put his truck in reverse and backed over Juan and then put his truck in drive and ran over Juan a third time. The Court determined there was enough evidence to conclude Sanchez was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of felony member since he ran over Juan three times. The Court also found him guilty of misdemeanor reckless conduct when he hit Gerardo with his truck in conscious disregard that his act would cause harm. Also, his deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would have exercised in that situation. Therefore, he was convicted of felony murder and reckless conduct. 285 Ga. 749, (2009).

Penalty for a Conviction for Crimes Against People in Georgia

A conviction for crimes against a person in Georgia generally comes with a prison term and a fine. While each crime and case is different, that is the general outcome. The fine amount varies from case to case.

However, another penalty that could be awarded by the Court is for the defendant to pay restitution to the victim. Restitution is where the defendant reimburses the victim for any expenses that resulted from the crime committed against them. It could include the cost of medical treatment or counseling. Anyone in Georgia that is convicted of assault of battery could be subject to this consequence.

Also, there is a possibility that the court would impose probation instead of jail time for part of the sentence or instead of a jail sentence. This is left to the judge's discretion and is evaluated on a case-by-case basis. If put on probation, the defendant would be required to meet regularly with a probation officer. There would also be conditions they would have to satisfy such as submitting to drug tests, performing community service, attending counseling, etc.

Defenses to Crimes Against People in Georgia

While each crimes has specific defenses that apply to it; there are some defenses that generally apply to crimes against a person in Georgia including:

Consent: If the defendant had consent to do the action they are being accused of, then that is a complete defenses. A crime against a person involves the suspect doing something against another's will but if consent was given by the victim; then no crime has been committed. However, there are a couple crimes that this does not apply to including hazing and trafficking of persons for labor or sexual servitude. They will still be crimes even if permission was given by the victim.

Defense of Others: This argument is similar to regular self-defense with the only difference being that you must honestly believe that another person is in danger of being harmed. The victim must reasonably believe that they are at risk of being injured to satisfy this defense.

Defense of Property: If you used reasonable force when defending your property, such as your home, then you may have an argument that the assault was justified. An example is if someone stole your purse or bag, then you could have the right to use reasonable force to recover that property. There is not a bright line rule on when an owner is allowed to use reasonable force. Instead, the Court rules on a case by case basis. Your Georgia Crimes Against People Lawyer will assist you in arguing that the force used was necessary, and therefore, the assault charges should be dropped.

Innocence: An alibi or witness testimony that you could not have committed the crime is always valuable. It can also be useful if there is a case of mistaken identity.

Lack of Intent: Many crimes against a person require that the defendant have the intent to commit the crime. Evidence that there was no intent will be greatly beneficially to your case and can help your Attorney get the charge lowered or possibly dismissed.

Self-Defense: This is a common defenses used in assault and battery cases. However, there are some things that you must show to establish that self-defense was necessary. You must show that (1) there was a threat of unlawful force or harm against you; (2) there was a reasonable basis for your fear of injury to yourself;(3) you did not provoke the threat; and (4) there was no reasonable chance for you to escape or retreat. One of our highly skilled Georgia Crimes Against People Attorneys can assist with establishing that your actions were taken in self-defenses.

This is not an extensive list of the defenses that could be used in your case. These are just some of the defenses your crimes against people lawyer in Georgia will evaluate to see if they apply. Every case is different and our Lawyers will work with you to provide the best defense.

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Crimes against people are serious crimes and not ones to be taken lightly. You need a Georgia Crimes Against People Attorney who understands the consequences a conviction will have on your future. Your Crimes Against People Attorney in Georgia will investigate all the details surrounding your case and evaluate your options. They will be available all the time to you – even nights and weekends – because your case is important. Lawson and Berry and their team of lawyers will work with you to fight your charge and avoid a conviction.

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