What Is Domestic Violence in Georgia?

While you may have heard of “domestic violence” as a crime, the term is merely a label for various crimes involving certain family or household members in Georgia. In our state, domestic violence is referred to as “family violence.”

What does the state of Georgia say about domestic violence? First of all, it defines the individuals who can be part of a domestic violence crime. These include:

  • Current and former spouses
  • Individuals who share a child regardless of whether they have ever been married or not
  • Parents and children
  • Stepparents and stepchildren
  • Foster parents and foster children
  • Others who reside or have formerly resided in the same household

The law goes on to describe the crimes that are considered to fall under the umbrella of family violence. These include:

  • Any felony
  • Simple battery
  • Battery
  • Simple assault
  • Assault
  • Stalking
  • Criminal damage to property
  • Unlawful restraint
  • Criminal trespass

Family violence crimes can include physical assaults, like shoving, punching, slapping, choking, or throwing objects at the victim, sexual attacks, verbal abuse, damaging inside or outside property, such as slicing tires, keying a car, breaking a window, or harming a pet, and more.

In cases where the above crimes are committed against family or household members, it is generally taken much more seriously than otherwise, carrying tougher penalties than the same crimes committed between unrelated individuals.

For example, a first conviction for the misdemeanor offense of battery is punishable by up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000 in both domestic violence and other battery cases. However, if you are convicted of a subsequent family violence crime of battery, you will be charged with a felony that carries up to five years in prison. For subsequent batteries not related to family violence, you must commit the battery on the same victim with two or more previous convictions to have the crime elevated to a felony charge.

Family violence convictions also can carry additional court mandates, such as completion of anger management classes, community hours service, and being subject to a protective order (restraining order).

Family Violence Protective Orders

If you are named in a protective order (restraining order) due to a family violence incident, you may be required to refrain from any type of contact with the victim, such as in-person contact, contact through phone, electronic means, mail, or a third party. You also may be forced to vacate the home you have shared with the victim. You could lose parental rights when it comes to any minor children you share with the victim while being ordered to pay child support. Other conditions and restrictions may be ordered by the court. If you violate any of the terms of the protective order, you will be charged with an additional misdemeanor punishable by another fine of up to $1,000 and/or up to 12 months in jail.

Why You Need a Gwinnett County Attorney

Many domestic violence cases are based on false claims, misleading statements, and exaggerations. However, this does not stop police officers from arresting you if they believe your accuser may be in danger. That is why you need a trusted and effective criminal defense lawyer in your corner as soon as possible. At Daniels & Taylor, P.C.. we have dealt with overzealous law enforcement and prosecutors in the past and we know how to build effective defense cases. With decades of experience and a passion to serve, we can vigorously fight for your freedom and future.

Arrange for a free, initial consultation about your case by calling our Lawrenceville office at (770) 285-1673.