In Georgia, aggravated assault is a serious criminal offense that generally involves the intentional and malicious infliction of serious bodily injury on another person or the use of a deadly weapon with the intent to harm another person.
Aggravated assault is governed by Georgia Code § 16-5-21, and there are several circumstances that can elevate an otherwise “simple” assault to aggravated assault in the state. The difference between these charges can be significant for those who are accused of breaking the law.
Intent to injure
Aggravated assault generally requires that the perpetrator had the intent to cause serious bodily injury. This means that the act was deliberate and not accidental. The issue of intent can become incredibly important to the outcome of an individual’s case as a result.
Use of a deadly weapon
If a person uses a deadly weapon during the assault, even without causing serious bodily injury to the victim, the situation can still be considered aggravated assault. Potentially deadly weapons may include knives, clubs, firearms or any object used with the intent to cause harm.
Serious bodily injury
The use of force that results in serious injury (or the threat of it) is often a key element of aggravated assault. Serious bodily injury generally includes injuries that pose a risk of death, cause disfigurement, result in the loss or impairment of a bodily function or cause long-term physical pain.
The penalties for aggravated assault in Georgia can be severe and may include financial fines, imprisonment, time spent on probation and more. In some cases, restitution to the victim is required. The specific consequences depend on the details of the case, such as whether or not a deadly weapon was involved and how severe the victim’s injuries were.
Of course, those penalties also depend on a conviction in court, which is far from a given in any case. There are many ways to successfully defend against accusations of aggravated assault, whether an individual claims to be entirely innocent or that the definition of “aggravated assault” doesn’t fit the event that took place. Those who are facing such serious accusations can, therefore, benefit from a strategic, personalized professional approach to their defense.