How Does Georgia Define Family Violence?
In Georgia, the crime of family violence involves any one of several specific criminal acts involving family members. Individuals convicted of a family violence crime may face greater penalties than they would for committing the same offense against a nonfamily member.
State law defines family violence as any act of battery, assault, criminal damage to property, stalking, criminal trespassing or another type of felony committed against a family member. For these purposes, a family member may be a current or former spouse, a person with whom the offender has a child, parents, children, stepparents and stepchildren, and foster parents and foster children.
There are some exceptions to the law, including situations in which parents are providing reasonable discipline to their children. Parents may use restraint, detention or corporal punishment when disciplining their children, unless the punishments are excessive in nature.
Convictions come with harsher penalties
Individuals convicted of family violence often face penalties above and beyond those for a similar crime that does not involve a family member. For example, a second conviction on family violence battery charges could land a person in prison for five years, while a second conviction for regular battery would not be considered a felony and would be punishable by incarceration for a maximum of 12 months.
Another consequence of a family violence offense is a protective order, which may prohibit the accused of having contact with the alleged victim. A defendant with children may not be able to visit with them for months or years.
Given the serious nature of family violence crimes, it’s important to consult a criminal defense attorney if you are accused of these types of offenses. For further guidance, call the Law Offices of Melvin S. Nash at 470.655.2839 or contact us online.