Family violence, also known as domestic violence, is defined under Georgia law as a pattern of deliberately violent or abusive behavior committed between people in a domestic relationship, with the intent of establishing power and control. This can include parents and children, current or former spouses, and roommates or housemates. Although family violence is usually understood as physical abuse, it can include any number of acts codified under the Georgia Family Violence Act. This includes:
- Aggravated or simple battery
- Aggravated or simple assault
- Criminal trespass
- Criminal damage to property
- Any felony committed between the people mentioned above
Most reported victims of family violence are women and most reported abusers are men. However, anyone can be a victim of domestic violence, and anyone can carry it out, regardless of age, gender, or sexual orientation. As long as the act falls under the requirements mentioned above, it is considered family violence. Under Georgia law, the mere presence of children in the home when an adult is threatening or verbally abusing someone can also lead to a family violence charge.
If an act is considered family violence, it will be punished more severely than it would otherwise. For example, a first conviction of simple battery involving family violence means a maximum of twelve months of jail and a fine of up to $1,000.00, just like it would for a normal simple battery conviction. However, any subsequent conviction is considered a felony and can lead to up to five years in prison.
Georgia law mandates that an officer must arrest someone, namely whoever they identify as the primary aggressor, when they are called to investigate a domestic disturbance. This applies even if the parties involved don't want an arrest to happen. Don't underestimate the seriousness of the family violence charges that will follow an arrest. These convictions can have a serious impact on your future, and you will need an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side.Don't Let a Family Violence Conviction Ruin Your Life
Being charged with family violence doesn't just carry harsher than usual penalties. It can also change your entire life. If you are convicted of domestic violence, you may find yourself facing the following penalties, in addition to fines, jail time, and probation:
- If you live with the person who accused you of domestic violence, you may be forbidden from entering your home by the judge, forcing you to find a new place to live. This may not be easy, as many landlords refuse to rent to people with family violence convictions.
- You could lose your job as a result of your conviction, especially if you are a respected public servant, such as a police officer or a teacher. People may be more reluctant to allow you to work with women, children, or the elderly due to your conviction.
- Your accuser may file a temporary protective order against you. If you violate this order, even if your accuser is trying to contact you, you could find yourself facing probation, fines, and jail time.
- You may lose your right to own and possess a firearm if you are convicted for domestic violence. Your right to bear arms may also be threatened if someone files a protective order against you.
- If you are a divorcee, your visitation rights may be severely restricted, or you may be forbidden from having contact with your children altogether.
As you can see, a family violence charge can carry consequences much steeper than fines or jail time. Your professional future, your relationship with any children you might have, and your individual rights are all at risk. You do not want to face a charge of family violence on your own. This is why you need the help of the experienced criminal defense attorneys with the Don Turner Legal Team.
Contact our law office today for a free consultation at (770)-594-1777 for a free consultation and see how we can help you with your criminal case.