You are facing felony charges of assault and battery, and you feel overwhelmed by frightening, complex criminal justice system. If you are convicted of your charges, the state will consider you a felon.
You never intended for your situation to get so out of control, and the thought of becoming a convicted felon horrifies you. You may be wondering what makes some assault and battery charges cross the line from misdemeanors to felonies.
The difference between simple and aggravated charges
In Georgia, the law identifies two categories of assault or battery: Simple, and aggravated. A simple assault involves violently injuring someone or putting someone in a situation that might cause injury. In a simple battery, someone deliberately causes physical harm or physical provocation. Simple assault or battery are misdemeanor offenses.
With certain aggravating factors present, the charge becomes an aggravated assault or battery. Assaulting someone with a weapon, shooting a firearm at them or assaulting them with the intent to rape, murder or rob them constitutes an aggravated assault. Intentionally, maliciously inflicting a serious injury, including the loss of a limb or disfigurement, is aggravated battery.
What are the consequences for misdemeanors vs. felonies?
The consequences for misdemeanors are usually much lighter than those of felonies. For example, a simple assault or battery can fetch up to one year in jail, whereas an aggravated assault or battery may receive up to 20 years. No matter which type of charges you face, it is crucial to know your rights and legal options.
Many people charged with felonies choose to work with an attorney and attempt to negotiate a plea deal. Some plea deals may involve reducing the charges to a misdemeanor, or dismissing the charges entirely. Other cases proceed to court, where a defense attorney attempts to obtain a favorable verdict. However, the sentences imposed by a court tend to be more severe than those in a plea deal.