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Georgia Battery Cases
In order to commit a Battery under O.C.G.A. § 16-5-23.1, a person must intentionally cause substantial physical harm or visible bodily harm to another. This physical harm must be perceptible by another person (other than the victim) and may include a black eye, swollen lip, or substantial bruising. It is not, however, limited to these injuries. This damage need not be permanent (and, if the damage is permanent, prosecutors will often charge the defendant with Aggravated Battery).
Sentencing in a Georgia Battery Case
Battery may be charged as a misdemeanor or as a felony, depending on the circumstances surrounding the case, who the alleged victim is, and where the offense allegedly occurred. While even a misdemeanor battery charge is not something to be taken lightly, a felony battery conviction carries the potential for even more serious punishment.
How to beat a Georgia Battery charge
The trier of fact may determine that the injury was not sufficiently severe to justify a battery conviction. Unlike in a simple battery case, the incident must result in some sort of “substantial” physical harm or visible bodily harm. For example, in Futch v. State, the Georgia Court of Appeals held that the victim’s testimony that the defendant “put his
hand” on the victim’s neck did not rise to the level of substantial physical or visible bodily harm. Futch v. State, 316 Ga. App. 376, 730 S.E.2d 14 (2012).
In contrast, in Danzis v. State the investigators observed “red scuff marks on the victim’s head, arms, and legs, and the scuff marks turnedinto substantial bruises.” The Court of Appeals found that this was sufficient to rise to the level of a battery. Danzis v. State, 198 Ga. App. 136, 400 S.E.2d 671 (1990).In terms of the severity of the injury, a battery falls between a simple battery, which does not require visible or substantial physical harm, and an aggravated battery, which requires a very severe injury.
Why hire a lawyer for a Battery case?
Even if you have been charged with misdemeanor battery, do not be tempted to think that the case is a small matter. If you are convicted, the battery charge will most likely remain on your record forever. Battery charges especially can be extremely stigmatizing. They can affect your job prospects, your living arrangements, and your ability to own a firearm. However, an accusation is not the same as a conviction. You still have rights, and you should protect them. I can help you with that. If you have been charged with battery in Georgia, call me today.