As views toward women and their place in the world have evolved over the past several decades, attitudes toward domestic violence have radically changed from indifference and apathy. Today, most state legislatures have enacted laws enabling victims to take legal action against abusers and law enforcement to restrain, prosecute, and imprison abusers.
Much of the change can be attributed to news coverage of shocking cases of domestic abuse and the women’s movement, which focused a glaring light on how damaging and dangerous such behavior can be. Also, in increasing numbers, males are victims of domestic violence too.
If you have been arrested and charged with domestic violence in Georgia, be aware that law enforcement takes these allegations seriously and you are facing the possibility of harsh penalties if you are found guilty. Even before your case comes to trial, the person with whom you may have had a domestic altercation can petition the court for a protective order restraining you from contacting or coming in close proximity to him or her.
Recourse to prevent family violence
In Georgia, the law defines domestic abuse as family violence between spouses, parents of a child, parents and children, stepparents and stepchildren, foster parents and foster children, or anyone else living in the same household. The law encompasses ex-spouses and persons who formerly lived together.
Family violence involves the commission of one or more of these acts:
- Any felony; or
- Battery, simple battery, simple assault, assault, stalking, criminal damage to property, unlawful restraint, or criminal trespass
The law covers all members of a household, and they can be gender-neutral, acknowledging that men as well as women can be victimized.
Protective order, other remedies
The Family Violence law provides many possible options for quickly removing the threat of violence and to protect family members. One important option is a protective order, which prohibits an abuser from having contact with the victim for a specific amount of time. If the abuser violates a protective order, he or she could be jailed and charged with a crime separate from the family violence violation.
Other options for protecting family members include:
- Removing and excluding the abusive person from the residence or household
- Order the abusive person to provide suitable housing for a spouse, former spouse, or children
- Award temporary custody of minor children and establish temporary visitation rights
- Evict the abusive party from the residence or household
- Accompany family members to the residence while they retrieve personal property if the abusive person is not removed or evicted
- Order the abusive party to desist from harassing or interfering with family members
- Award costs and attorney’s fees to either party
- Order the abusive party to undergo psychiatric or psychological services to prevent the recurrence of family violence
The lawyers of Angell Law Firm are prepared to help you defend against a charge of domestic or family violence. You may have been wrongfully arrested and charged, or you may have acted to protect yourself from domestic assault by your accuser. The Angell Law Firm is experienced in criminal defense. We work with you to put forward the best case to have the charges dismissed or you obtain acquittal at trial. Call (770) 217-4954 today to discuss your legal options. The Angell Law Firm is located in Atlanta and serves Chatham County, including Savannah; Clarke County including Athens; Cobb County, including Marietta; DeKalb County, including Decatur and Stone Mountain; Fulton County, including Atlanta, College Park, and Roswell; Gwinnett County including Buford, Lawrenceville, and Norcross; and Oconee County, including Watkinsville.