Domestic Violence Offenses In Georgia
The following article will cover:
- The definition and criteria for domestic violence under Georgia law.
- List of domestic violence-related charges in Georgia.
- Information on arrest, orders of protection, and victim testimony in domestic violence cases in Georgia.
How Does Georgia Define Domestic Violence? What Are The Criteria For Related Charges?
Under the Georgia Code, domestic violence is referred to as family violence. This term includes any act of battery, stalking, assault, criminal damage to property, unlawful restraint, or criminal trespass between present or past spouses, parents of the same child, parents and children, stepparents and stepchildren, foster parents and foster children, and other persons living or formerly living in the same household.
If I Was Arrested Near Georgia, Atlanta On Domestic Violence-Related Charges, What Exactly Is The Charge?
The exact charge depends on the specifics of the arrest. All of the following are considered family violence or domestic violence crimes in Georgia:
- Simple assault: threatening someone without intending to cause them serious injury or death
- Simple battery: physically touching someone
- Battery: contact that results in visible injury
- Aggravated battery: causing injury, scarring, or serious harm
- Aggravated assault: threatening someone with a weapon or strangling them
- Stalking: following or contacting someone against their wishes for the purpose of harassment or intimidation
- Aggravated stalking: contact in violation of a court order, such as a temporary protective order
- Criminal damage: property damage during an altercation, such as breaking a TV
- Criminal trespass: entering property after being told not to
Is An Order Of Protection Or A Restraining Order Automatically Put In Place When Someone Is Charged With A Domestic Violence Related Offense In Georgia?
No, an order of protection or restraining order is not automatically put in place when someone is charged with a domestic violence-related offense in Georgia. To get a temporary restraining order or temporary protective order, an application must be filed at the courthouse.
Depending on the underlying charge, if you are arrested for a family violence or domestic violence crime, it is common for the court to make it a condition of your bond that you have no contact with the victim. This may be enforced as no contact or no violent contact, depending on the nature of the arrest and the wishes of the victim. In some cases, a no-contact order may be issued by the court even if the victim opposes it.
When Police Are Called To The Scene Of An Alleged Domestic Violence Incident In Georgia, Is An Arrest Generally Always Made?
No, an arrest is not always made when the police are called to the scene of an alleged domestic violence incident in Georgia. If the police do not see an immediate threat or danger or do not observe any physical injuries, they may instruct the parties to separate and calm down.
However, if there is evidence of injury or visible harm, it is likely that someone will be arrested and taken into custody. If there is no visible injury, it is not guaranteed that an arrest will be made.
If An Alleged Victim Changes His Or Her Story After Domestic Violence Related Charges Are Filed In Georgia, Does That Mean The Charge Against Me Will Be Dropped?
No, if there is a change in the victim’s story after domestic violence-related charges are filed in Georgia, it does not necessarily mean that the charges against you will be dropped. Often in domestic violence situations, emotions run high, and the victim may exaggerate what happened in an attempt to send a message to the other party, which can complicate the situation.
If false information is given to the police, it may result in a criminal charge. If a false written statement is given, it can be charged as a felony. Sometimes, the victim or the defendant’s attorney may speak with the victim, and the victim may agree to write an affidavit stating that they do not want the case to be prosecuted. In some cases, if this occurs, the state authorities will drop the charges.
However, even if the victim produces an affidavit or tells the prosecuting authorities they do not want to pursue criminal charges, the state may still decide to pursue them. If this happens, several outcomes may occur. If the victim fails to show up for court, there may not be a witness, resulting in the case being dropped. However, failing to appear in court after being subpoenaed can result in being held in contempt by the court and being fined or imprisoned.
If the victim does appear in court but refuses to testify, they can invoke their Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate themselves under the US Constitution and the Georgia Constitution. This may prevent the prosecution from going forward.