ASSAULT, BATTERY, &
OTHER CRIMES AGAINST PEOPLE
There are many different charges in Georgia that would fall under the categories of violent crimes or crimes against people. They include:
- Aggravated Assault
- Aggravated Battery
- Aggravated Sexual Battery
- Aggravated Stalking
- Cruelty to Children
- Domestic Violence
- False Imprisonment
- Reckless Conduct
- Simple Assault
- Simple Battery
- Terroristic Threats
- Weapons Charges
While these charges are all different with varying levels of punishment, people who are charged with one or more of these crimes often have the same initial questions:
Why did the police believe the person claiming to be the victim and not me?
Sadly, often police believe the person who gets to them first. If the “victim” called the police first, or spoke to the police first, usually their side of the story is treated as more truthful. Is this fair? Absolutely not. It can take a lot of work to get the police and the prosecutors to see there is more than one side to the story. From the moment you are arrested, there are things that your criminal defense lawyer can do to start investigating the facts and preparing a defense to what the victim has alleged. Often once a thorough investigation is done, the victim's story doesn't hold up.
I never touched anyone or hurt anyone. Why am I charged with a crime?
Crimes such as assault and aggravated assault don't require that a victim is actually physically touched or injured. Assault can be the attempt to commit a violent injury or committing some act that places another in reasonable fear of immediately receiving an injury. Aggravated assault can include assault with a deadly weapon or object or with intent to murder, rape or rob. In the eyes of the law, just threatening someone with an object that could be a deadly weapon (not just guns or knives, but even sticks, tire irons, or fists) can be enough to be charged with aggravated assault.
My family member was denied a bond when they were arrested. Is there anything we can do?
Yes! Your attorney can discuss with you what different options you have for trying to get your loved one a bond. Just because a bond was not issued at the time of arrest does not mean they cannot get one. There are several different ways a bond can be granted in a case. A consent bond can be issued when the prosecutors and defense attorney come to an agreement on a bond and the judge agrees to sign off on it. If an agreement cannot be reached, a motion for bond can be heard by a judge and the defense can put up witnesses and argument as to why someone should be allowed a bond. There is also a statute which requires (except in death penalty cases or where an extension is granted) that if your case has not been indicted by a grand jury within 90 days, that a reasonable bond shall be issued. Your attorney can also guide you through the options you have for paying a bond once it is granted.
The victim says she doesn't want to press charges, so will my case be dismissed?
A victim saying she doesn't you to be charged with a crime is helpful, but it doesn't automatically mean your case will be dismissed. Once the police are involved and someone has been arrested, the government (through judges and prosecutors) will now be involved in deciding whether your case will proceed. It can be helpful to you if the victim is willing to talk to the prosecution and say she does not want you to be prosecuted, or say that the facts of what happened were greatly exaggerated. But, the prosecution will often think that what was told to the police when the incident first occurred (usually through police reports or body camera) is the truth.
Prosecutors usually think that if a victim later changes her mind, it's because she is being intimidated into changing her story. They believe they are protecting the victim in the long run by not dismissing the case. While it is certainly harder to convict someone when the victim is on the defense's side, it's not impossible. There are cases where a victim has testified at trial that she made the entire thing up yet the jury still convicted the defendant.
An experienced criminal defense lawyer knows that the key to a good defense is to not only giving the victim opportunities to help your defense, but also developing other ways to defend you against the accusations. Never just rely on the alleged victim to defend your case!
I wasn't the only one fighting, so why was I the only one arrested?
When police arrive at a scene, they will usually take statements from witnesses who saw whatever occurred. One of the things the police are investigating is who started the fight or who escalated the fight (either by putting their hands on someone or bringing out a weapon). If they believe you were that person, that may be why you were arrested and others were not. They can also choose to arrest others for different, lesser charges.
This does not mean you have no options to fight these charges. It is important for you and your attorney to carefully review all the statements given by witnesses and any other evidence the government will use against you (photos of injuries, crime scene videos, 911 calls) to find any defenses or proof that you were not the one who started or escalated the fight.
If it's true I did what they say, and they have good evidence against me, does that mean I'm going to prison?
You should NOT assume you are going to prison. There are many things that can be done to help anyone charged with a violent crime to avoid any kind of custody time. Even if you are charged with a felony like aggravated assault, your lawyer still might be able to get the entire case dismissed through a diversion program, depending on your criminal history. There are also other options to protect your freedom and your future even if it is a very serious crime and/or you have been arrested in the past. It's important to get in touch with your attorney right after your arrest. Talking to an attorney will help calm your fears, understand your options, and you can start working together on a plan to get you a great result.
I also got arrested for Possession of a Weapon By A Convicted Felon or Possession of a Weapon During the Commission of a Felony. What does that mean?
I've written an entire blog post about these crimes which answers many common questions about weapons charges. You can click here: Weapons Crimes in Georgia to get more information on those kinds of firearms or weapons charges.