Aggravated Assault Georgia: Charges, Penalties, & Defenses

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Have you been charged with aggravated assault in Georgia? This is a serious crime with harsh penalties if convicted. Here’s what you need to know.


Author: Philip Kim, Founder, Philip Kim Law, P.C.

Defense lawyer Philip Kim has committed his career to standing up for the accused, and protecting the rights and reputations of his valued clients. If you face criminal charges in Georgia, we can provide you with the skilled, effective defense representation you need.

Published on September 21, 2021. Updated on: Septemeber 26, 2023.


What Is Considered an Offense of Aggravated Assault in Georgia?

Most people tend to confuse aggravated assault conviction with simple assault. Like other crimes of assault and battery, aggravated assault involves the intentional infliction of harm to an individual. The law governing aggravated assault distinguishes this crime from other violent offenses in Georgia Code Title 16, Chapter 5, Article 2.

Under this law, aggravated assault is committed with the aim of making physical contact and causing severe bodily injury to a person and even property damage. Aggravated assault can also be executed using a deadly or sharp weapon such as a knife or a firearm, to name a few. Typically, it involves serious actions; this is why it’s classified as a felony offense in the State of Georgia.

On the contrary, simple assault involves minor injuries, threatening behavior, or words. If convicted of aggravated assault, you will have to go through a mandatory prison sentence. This is not the case with simple assault.

Suppose your friend thinks that all forms of assault are similar and can be treated equally. In that case, they should think again because Georgia law classifies the two as distinct offenses that are radically different from each other.

Understanding Assault, Battery, and Aggravated Assault

In Georgia, the distinctions between assault, battery, and aggravated assault are significant and carry different legal implications. Assault, often considered an attempt or threat to injure another person, does not necessarily involve physical contact. Battery, however, requires actual physical contact, whether harmful or merely offensive.

Aggravated assault is a more severe form of assault, typically involving a weapon or an attack that likely results in serious injury. This charge carries heavier penalties, reflecting the potential for more severe harm or intent. Understanding these differences is crucial for anyone involved in or accused of these crimes, as the defenses and legal strategies differ substantially.

How Serious is Aggravated Assault in Georgia?

Aggravated assault is deemed a severe crime in the State of Georgia. Being convicted of this offense can lead to imprisonment, depending on the circumstances surrounding your case.

The classification of this offense may vary depending on the offender’s past criminal record. In Georgia, a person with no criminal record will be charged with a “high and aggravated” misdemeanor if they commit assault against another individual.

If they have been convicted of previous offenses before, however, regardless of whether they are misdemeanors or felonies, they will be charged with a felony offense.

Even as an aggravated misdemeanor, this crime should not be taken lightly by anyone in the State of Georgia.

Examples of Aggravated Assault Cases in Georgia

There are a few types of assault cases here in Georgia that the State considers aggravated assault and are punished by imprisonment. These cases may be with the intent to murder or the intent to rape or rob an individual. They include:

  • Shooting an individual using a firearm or threatening an individual by pointing a loaded handgun at them.
  • Striking a victim with a deadly weapon or threatening to attack them if they do not comply with your demands or commands.
  • An assault with the intent of committing another crime, such as rape or robbery.
  • Assaults that result in serious bodily injury.
  • Assault upon a correctional officer while the officer is engaged in their official duties.
  • Assault upon a healthcare provider, an elderly or disabled person, or a social worker.
  • A person or persons can commit an aggravated assault without legal justification by discharging a firearm within a public transit vehicle toward a person or persons.

Aggravated Battery

In Georgia, the battery is broadly defined as the unwanted touching of another person. This means that even a minor pat on someone’s back can be considered an assault, which is punishable by law (unless it happens during sports and games). Aggravated battery in Georgia occurs when:

  • Force is used to touch a person against their will intentionally.
  • A weapon such as a knife or a firearm is used to commit the crime.
  • The victim sustains a severe bodily injury as a result of the attack.

If aggravated battery occurs when the attacker maliciously inflicts severe disfigurement or serious bodily injury to the victim, then these crimes would be considered felonies. Severe disfigurement is an injury that includes a visible scar or a broken bone that changes someone’s physical appearance. Bodily severe injuries can consist of a coma, broken bones, loss of a limb, or hurting a person in a way that requires surgery.

Aggravated battery cases that are considered felonies under Georgia law can result in imprisonment. Depending on the circumstances, if you are convicted of one, your penalty can be more serious.


Punishment for Aggravated Assault in Georgia

Even though aggravated assault sentence ranges and punishments are severe, aggravated assault punishments depend on the degree and injuries associated with the assault. Minor aggravated assaults are treated as serious ones.

Some of the possible punishments for aggravated assault in Georgia are outlined below.

Jail Time

A person convicted of an offense of aggravated assault is entitled to serve jail time for a period that a judge will impose. The number of years in prison shall depend on the degree of aggravated assault. Even if the person is a first-time offender, there is a greater possibility of being punished by imprisonment. A person who commits the offense can be sentenced to imprisonment for not less than a year.

Probation and Electronic Monitoring

Probation may be enforced on a person who commits the offense, and for any violation of this, the person shall be punished more severely. A law enforcement officer shall schedule dates when the person has to meet with the probation officer for assessment.

Electronic monitoring monitors the offender’s whereabouts at the detention address. The use of this object, device, or instrument is known as digital incarceration, mainly in the form of an ankle shackle or wrist bracelet.


A judge shall impose a fine of up to $25,000 on a person who knowingly commits the offense. If a person is convicted of an attempt to commit aggravated assault, they may be punished with a fine of up to $12,500. In cases where the person being convicted for the assault was armed and knowingly committed the offense, the person or persons shall be fined up to $75,000. Fines can go up to $100,000 and also include restitution to the victims.

Enhanced Penalties

Both aggravated assault and battery cases in Georgia can be considered felonies. Enhanced penalties can be imposed if these crimes are based on hate, prejudice, and bias. In addition, if the defendant already has one felony conviction on their criminal record, they may be required to serve the maximum sentences for these crimes.

Sentencing Guidelines for Aggravated Assault in Georgia

Specific sentencing guidelines under Georgia law establish the penalties mentioned above. If you face an aggravated assault charge in Georgia, it’s essential to understand these guidelines.

What is the Mandatory Minimum Sentence for Aggravated Assault in Georgia?

The standard sentencing time for aggravated assault ranges between one year to twenty years. Here are the sentencing and punishment provisions showing the penalties for aggravated assault upon specific categories of individuals:

  • A 3-year minimum sentence is imposed for any aggravated assault involving the discharging of a firearm within a motor vehicle toward a person or attacks toward public transit vehicles.
  • A 3-year minimum sentence is imposed for assault on family members or other household members. These can include past or present spouses, parents and children, stepparents and stepchildren, foster parents and foster children, or anyone else who lives with the defendant.
  • A 5-year minimum sentence is imposed for assault by discharging a firearm upon a student, a teacher, or any other school personnel in a school safety zone, a peace officer, or even an officer of the court.
  • A 10-year minimum sentence is imposed for an assault against a public safety officer by discharging a firearm toward them.
  • A 25-year minimum sentence is imposed for aggravated assault with the intent to rape a child under the age of 14. In this case, if a person is found guilty of raping a child, they can be sentenced to a maximum of 50 years.


Understanding GA Aggravated Assault Sentences with a Deadly Weapon

In most cases, a person commits aggravated assault if their cases are linked with the intent to murder, rape, or rob, and a deadly weapon is usually involved. If a deadly weapon is involved, this is enough evidence to speak the person’s mind and intentions. The use of a deadly weapon severely increases a person’s chances of being convicted of a felony.

In other words, if this type of assault is committed by discharging a firearm from a vehicle or with the intent to rob, rape, or murder, these crimes would be considered felonies. The same is considered if an aggravated assault is committed with a deadly weapon or an object that can be used, so it results in serious bodily injury or strangulation.

How to Beat Aggravated Assault Charges in Georgia

Aggravated assault is considered more serious than a simple assault and can result in several years in prison if a person is convicted. A person sentenced for aggravated assault can beat such charges in the following situations:


One of the most common defenses to an aggravated assault charge is a claim of self-defense. If you were threatened or attacked and responded in a way that was reasonably necessary to protect yourself, this may constitute self-defense.

The key is to demonstrate that your response was proportionate to the threat you faced. For instance, if someone threatened to hit you, and you responded by stabbing them, this may not be seen as a reasonable act of self-defense. However, if someone was about to shoot you and you defended yourself, this could be seen as necessary.

Lack of Intent

Another potential defense against an aggravated assault charge involves demonstrating a lack of intent. In order to be convicted of aggravated assault, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you intended to cause serious harm. If you can show that you didn’t have this intent or that you were intoxicated at the time and therefore couldn’t form the intent, you may be able to beat the charge.

Insufficient Evidence

If the prosecutor’s case relies heavily on weak or circumstantial evidence, then there is a chance that the charges could be dismissed due to insufficient evidence. The burden of proof lies with the prosecution, and if they cannot meet this threshold, the charges may be dropped, or a jury may acquit you.

Mistaken Identity

In some cases, a defendant may be wrongly identified as the perpetrator of the assault. Eyewitness testimony, often a significant piece of evidence in assault cases, is notoriously unreliable. If you can cast doubt on the identity of the perpetrator, you may be able to avoid a conviction.

Violation of Constitutional Rights

If your constitutional rights were violated during the investigation or arrest, any evidence obtained as a result may be inadmissible in court. Examples of such violations include an illegal search and seizure or a forced confession without being read your Miranda rights. If crucial evidence against you is thrown out, the prosecution may not have a strong enough case to secure a conviction.

Can a Criminal Defense Attorney Help You Beat Aggravated Assault Charges?

Facing an aggravated assault charge is a serious matter, and the stakes are high. If convicted, you could face several years in prison, as well as substantial fines and other penalties. Having an experienced criminal defense attorney by your side can make all the difference in the outcome of your case.

A knowledgeable lawyer will work to build a strong defense, investigate the prosecution’s case for weaknesses, and ensure that your rights are protected throughout the legal process. They can also use their negotiation skills to have the charges reduced or dismissed altogether potentially.

Get Legal Help for Aggravated Battery and Assault Charges

Suppose you have been arrested or know of someone who has been arrested for aggravated assault and needs help with their case. In that case, it is best to consult an experienced Georgia aggravated assault attorney.

Philip Kim Law, located in Lawrenceville, Georgia, offers knowledgeable and highly experienced criminal lawyers who can explain the relevant aggravated assault laws in the State of Georgia. When you meet with our team at your free consultation, we can advise you on the options you have based on your case and help you secure your freedom, your future, and your record.

Please get in touch with our Georgia criminal defense attorney and let us begin working on your case as soon as possible. We look forward to assisting you!

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Philip Kim Law, P.C.
368 West Pike Street, Suite 203
Lawrenceville, GA 30046
(678) 203-6968
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