A young man, Jamarious Foster, was facing the year anniversary of his father's death according to reports. His family said that he spent all day drinking and was behaving very unlike himself. He allegedly fired a gun a few times, tried to run his aunt off the road in her car, threatened a relative with a pistol, and drove away with another relative in his car.
Foster is now facing four counts of aggravated assault and two counts of kidnapping. Athens-Clarke County is still on the lookout for Foster.
This is yet another example that an arrest can happen to anyone, and it's usually the worst day of someone's life. A conviction can change the course of your life. An arrest can be as simple as one bad day or some poorly made decisions.
However, as a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer, I believe that no one should ever be assumed guilty just because he or she was accused of a crime. Let's take a look at the two offenses that Foster is being accused of currently.
To correctly understand aggravated assault in Georgia, first we need to look at the law on assault in Georgia.
A person commits the offense of assault when he or she either (1) attempts to commit a violent injury to the person of another; or (2) commits an act which places another in reasonable apprehension of immediately receiving a violent injury. (O.C.G.A. §16-5-20)
So if a person assaults another under the following conditions, the offense is raised to aggravated assault in Georgia:
- With intent to murder, to rape, or to rob;
- With a deadly weapon or with any object, device, or instrument which, when used offensively against a person, is likely to or actually does result in serious bodily injury;
- With any object, device, or instrument which, when used offensively against a person, is likely to or actually does result in strangulation; or
- A person or persons without legal justification by discharging a firearm from within a motor vehicle toward a person or persons. (O.C.G.A. § 16-5-21)
Since Foster allegedly committed assault towards his family members with a pistol, which is considered a deadly weapon in Georgia, he is facing aggravated assault.
In order to be convicted of aggravated assault, the state of Georgia will have to prove that Foster is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If he is found guilty and therefore, convicted, then he will be convicted of a felony.
The punishment for an aggravated assault conviction can include one to twenty years of imprisonment.
However, the Georgia Code outlines different instances which dictate prison terms:
- Upon a peace officer while conducting their official duties - 5 to 20 years
- Upon a person who is 65 years old or above - 3 to 20 years
- Upon a correctional officer while engaged in their official duties - 5 to 20 years
- In a public transit vehicle or station - 3 to 20 years
- During the commission of a theft of a commercial vehicle - 5 to 20 years + a fine between $50,000 - $200,000
- Involves a firearm on school personnel on school property - 5 to 20 years
- Between certain familial relatives such as spouses, foster parents and foster children, parents and children, stepparents and stepchildren - 5 to 20 years
- With intent to rape a child - 25 to 50 years
- Upon an officer of the court while engaged in their official duties - 5 to 20 years
The Georgia Code outlines kidnapping in Georgia as when “a person abducts or steals away another person without lawful authority and holds such other person against his or her will” (O.C.G.A. §16-5-40).
Even just a slight movement is enough to constitute the crime of kidnapping in our state.
Since Foster allegedly drove away with one of his relatives in the car against their will, he is facing kidnapping charges in Georgia.
In order to be convicted of kidnapping, the state of Georgia will have to prove that Foster is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If he is found guilty and, therefore, convicted, then he will be convicted of a felony.
Regarding kidnapping, there are two different types of felony punishment based on the following conditions.
First, if the victim is 14 or older, the prison sentence is between ten and twenty years. Second, if the victim is younger than 14, the prison sentence is heightened to either a life sentence or a minimum of twenty years with probation for life after release.
Also worth noting, if the kidnapping was for a ransom or if any bodily injury occurred to the victim, the prison sentence will be for life or the death penalty is also an option.
If you or a loved one has been charged with kidnapping or aggravated assault in Georgia, contact our Georgia Criminal Defense Attorneys today.