Since the start of the school year, Georgia schools have been experiencing a rise in violence and crime. It has only been a few weeks but there have been many reports of incidents on various campuses as well as arrests.
A high school student at South Cobb High School allegedly punched a teacher in the face after the teacher asked if he had completed an assignment. Jaden Change, a 17-year-old high school student, was arrested on charges of battery.
The warrant for his arrest stated: “Chang stood up out of his seat and started cursing at the teacher and then started punching the teacher in the face area knocking his glasses off to the floor and causing swelling around the left eye.”
As a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer, I will outline the law behind the criminal offense of battery in today's post as well as the consequences one faces if convicted of the crime.
Battery in Georgia
Battery in Georgia is defined by the Georgia Code in O.C.G.A. 16-5-23 as:
A person commits the offense of battery when he or she intentionally causes substantial physical harm or visible bodily harm to another.
By law, visible bodily harm is defined as bodily harm capable of being perceived by a person other than the victim and may include, but is not limited to, substantially blackened eyes, substantially swollen lips or other facial or body parts, or substantial bruises to body parts.
The offense of battery is classified as a misdemeanor. A misdemeanor in Georgia can result in 12 months of jail time and up to $1,000 in fines.
Georgia Misdemeanor Penalties are serious and can change a person's day to day life. However, there are certain situations in which the battery conviction will be escalated to a misdemeanor of a high or aggravated nature. The penalty for battery of a high or aggravated nature is up to one year confinement and/or fines. This includes:
- If the battery is committed in a public transit vehicle or station. O.C.G.A. § 16-5-23.1(g)
- If the crime is committed against a female, who is pregnant. O.C.G.A. §16-5-23.1(h)
- If the battery is committed against a teacher or other school personnel engaged in their duties on school property. O.C.G.A. §16-5-23.1(i)
- If the battery is against a person, who is 65 years old or older. O.C.G.A. §16-5-23.1(j)
- If the person who committed the battery is an employee, agent, or volunteer at a long-term care facility and the victim is a person who is admitted to or receiving services from such facility or person. An example of a long-term care facility is an assisted living community or personal care home. O.C.G.A. §16-5-23.1(k)
- If the battery was against a sports official during an amateur contest or while the official is on or exiting the property. O.C.G.A. §16-5-23(l)
If you or a loved one has been arrested for a crime in the state of Georgia, contact Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney now.