Have you been Arrested for Simple Battery in Georgia?
Battery and various other crimes against a person require a knowledgeable lawyer to help you sort through the details of your case. Lawson and Berry and their team of Georgia Battery Attorneys are experts in this field and are committed to helping you fight the charge. Remember, a charge is not the same as a conviction so call us today to schedule a free consultation. Don't wait to act; it could have detrimental consequences for you and your loved ones.
Battery is often confused with the crime of assault. However, many people do not know that there are three different types of battery crimes: simple battery, battery, and aggravated battery.
A person commits the offense of simple battery when he or she either (1) intentionally makes physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with the person of another, or (2) intentionally causes physical harm to another.
Case Law on Simple Battery
A suspect was convicted of simple battery and was required to pay restitution to the victim. Elsasser v. State, 313 Ga. App. 661, (2011). In this case, the suspect went to a house of Prater to confront him about some allegations he was making against the suspect. As they talked, a fight ensued, and Prater was hit and knocked to the ground. Also, a piece of lumber was used to smash in three windows of a truck owned by Prater's uncle. During the trial, the Court found the suspect guilty of simple battery and ordered that the defendant pay the amount of the repair bill for the broken windows.
What has to be Proven to be Convicted of Simple Battery
To be convicted of simple battery, the State must demonstrate that the accused is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. With regards to battery, there must be a showing that the suspect intended to make physical contact.
Penalty for Simple Battery in Georgia
The penalty if found guilty of simple battery is a misdemeanor. The consequences may include confinement of up to one year and a fine up to $1000.
However, there are certain situations in which the conviction will be escalated to a misdemeanor of a high or aggravated nature. The penalty for simple battery of a high or aggravated nature is up to one-year confinement and up to $5,000 in fines. Crimes that elevate battery to a high or aggravated nature include:
- If the crime is committed against a person, who is 65 years of age or older or a female who is pregnant at the time of the offense. O.C.G.A. § 16-5-23(c)
- If the simple battery is committed in a public transit vehicle or station. O.C.G.A. § 16-5-23(d)
- If the offense was against a police, officer, correction officer, or detention officer engaged in their official duties. O.C.G.A. §16-5-23(e)
- If the crime is committed between past or present spouses, foster parents of foster children, or other persons living in the same household. O.C.G.A. § 16-5-23(f)
- If the person committing the battery is an employee, agent, or volunteer at a long-term car 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(g)
- 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(h)
- If the crime is committed against an employee of a public school system of this state while the employee is engaged in official duties or on school property. O.C.G.A. § 16-5-23(i)
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 or 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.
Georgia Simple Battery Defenses
Lack of Intent: Simple battery requires that the suspect commit the crime with the intent to do so. Any evidence that you did not intend make contact with another or cause harm to another could help you obtain a verdict of not guilty.
There was no contact: Physical contact is required for the crime of simple battery. Therefore, if there was no contact, then a suspect cannot be convicted of simple battery. Even if not guilty of battery, a suspect could still be convicted of of another crime such as assault.
Self Defense: This is a common defense 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 Battery Lawyers can assist you with establishing this defense.
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 battery 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 Battery Attorney will assist you in arguing that the force used was necessary, and therefore, the charges should be dropped.
Consent: If you had consent to touch a person or commit an act, then it generally cannot be considered battery. However, if the touching exceeded the intended amount, then there still can be grounds for battery.
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.
While these are just some of the defenses your Attorney could use to help your case, every case is unique, and your Lawyer will evaluate your case to see which defenses will be the best option for your case. Your Attorney could negotiate on your behalf and try to work out a plea deal with less serious consequences or try to get the charges dismissed altogether.
What are not Defenses
The victim did not realize a severe injury: There is no requirement that a victim receives great bodily harm in a simple battery case; mere pain is sufficient to show physical harm. Meja v. State, 232 Ga. App. 548, (1998).
It was just a joke: Whether or not the threat was serious does not generally matter unless the threat was so unbelievable that the victim could not have honestly believed harm would come from it. If the victim was put in reasonable apprehension that a violent act could or was going to occur, then that is grounds for simple battery.
But it was my parents: Sometimes people are under the misconception that you cannot be charged with a crime against your parents. However, this is not true. If you intentionally harmed your parents, stepparents, or foster parents, then you would most likely be charged with simple battery.
Having knowledgeable representation is of up the utmost importance when facing a criminal charge. Your Georgia Simple Battery Attorney 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 Battery Attorneys will work with you to fight your charge and avoid a conviction. Call today and schedule a free consultation.