The act of simple assault constitutes a misdemeanor in the state of Georgia. However, since the severity of a misdemeanor is not always the same, you might face a more severe punishment than you expect.
Depending on the situation involving the assault, a state prosecutor could increase the charge to a high and aggravated misdemeanor.
Assaults that may increase a misdemeanor
According to Georgia law, assaulting certain kinds of people can amount to a high and aggravated misdemeanor. Such individuals include the following:
- People older than 65 years old
- Pregnant women
- Close family members
- Stepchildren and foster children
- Previous spouses
The location of the assault also matters. State law increases penalties for assaults on public transit vehicles or public school workers who are on public school property or are discharging their official duties.
A high and aggravated misdemeanor means you pay more in fines and spend additional time in jail. Georgia law explains that someone convicted of this type of misdemeanor could pay a fine of no more than $5,000.
The fine can be an alternative to jail time or in addition to it. State law places a cap of no more than 12 months in a county or state correctional facility. However, a court could modify or suspend the sentence depending on the case.
Finally, keep in mind that other forms of assault can carry heavier penalties, so even a high and aggravated misdemeanor is not the worst charge you could face. Assault cases vary, so it is important to get all the facts as they may prove crucial in a defense.