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Cowgirl Lawyer
Cowgirl Lawyer, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
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Experience:  Attorney for 22 years, criminal defense, from misdemeanors to murder, trials and appeals.
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What is the punishment for a simple battery charge in GA?

Customer Question

What is the punishment for a simple battery charge in Georgia, if you have no prior convictions?

Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Cowgirl Lawyer replied 6 years ago.

In Georgia, the statute defining simple battery is:

§ 16-5-23. Simple battery (a) A person commits the offense of simple battery when he or she either: (1) Intentionally makes physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with the person of another; or (2) Intentionally causes physical harm to another. (b) Except as otherwise provided in subsections (c) through (i) of this Code section, a person convicted of the offense of simple battery shall be punished as for a misdemeanor.

I did not copy and paste the entire statute here. The rather lengthy sections c through i of that portion of the code go on to describe many aggravating circumstances (victim age 65 or older, pregnant victim, etc.) which elevate the offense to a more serious crime. Therefore, one can be charged with "simple battery" and get a variety of different punishments, depending on the victim.

If the victim is not in one of the many protected classes of individuals which would elevate the seriousness of the crime, then the sentence is controlled by § 17-10-3. That statute is too long to include in this answer, but the gist of it is that a variety of sentences may be imposed, including a fine of up to $1,000, imprisonment of up to one year in a county jail, weekend confinement (allowing the person to work during the week), or probation. Additionally, the court may suspend a sentence, which means that if the person violates any terms of the court order, the sentence (usually jail in those circumstances) may be imposed.

Generally speaking, unless the crime was particularly bad, a first offender will not be looking at the more severe end of the sentencing spectrum. Generally, one would be looking at fines, probation, etc., rather than a year in jail. Also, if there were any medical bills (VERY rare in a simple battery misdemeanor charge), an order of restitution (paying the victim back) would be expected.

Aggravated misdemeanors (where the victim was in one of those protected classes) are covered by § 17-10-4. In those circumstances, the maximum fine is $5,000. The maximum term of imprisonment is still 1 year. Earning good time credit on the sentence in such circumstances is limited to 4 days per month of sentence.

Good luck and best wishes!

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Thanks for your response. What if the person being charged was also intoxicated and the person that was driving her received a D.U.I.? Would this be looked at as a particularly bad offense? Or would it not matter. The story is the person driving was under the influence. The passenger, the one that received the battery charge, was also intoxicated. The passenger asked the person to pull over at a convenience store to purchase a soda. When the passenger left the vehicle she immediately started walking across the street in the wrong direction. The driver then followed her to try to get her out of the street and she pulled away and started yelling and screaming. That is when the police showed up. The police say that her being abrupt and acting crazy that they decided to enforce the battery charge. In this case, where she was intoxicated and didn't really know what was going on could this be a bad crime? She wasn't charged with any other offenses as public drunk or disorderly conduct or anything of that nature, just the battery charge. What would you, in your experience, think that the punishment would be? Also, is simply a charge of battery the same thing as simple battery. She was notified that it was a misdemeanor. I appreciate your reply and I will accept and leave positive feedback.

Expert:  Cowgirl Lawyer replied 6 years ago.

Certainly, alcohol is involved in many, many offenses. That in itself is not an aggravating factor. Both versions of the offense I described are misdemeanors, but one is an aggravated form. If she hit the driver, and that was the basis for the charge, then unless there was some particular feature about the driver that raises the level of offense, she is probably looking at the basic form of simple battery. If, on the other hand, your friend is charged with a battery with one of the police officers as a victim, it would be an elevated charge. Only by reviewing the charge itself could one be certain.

It would be a good idea for her to retain a criminal defense attorney. If she cannot afford counsel, she may want to apply for a public defender. It is often possible to negotiate a charge down in order to qualify a person for a lower sentence.

Good luck and best wishes!

Cowgirl Lawyer, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 1422
Experience: Attorney for 22 years, criminal defense, from misdemeanors to murder, trials and appeals.
Cowgirl Lawyer and 11 other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thank you so much.

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