In the state of Georgia domestic violence is defined as criminal acts that occur between certain types of family members. The type of relationships that are usually defined within the scope of “family violence” include:
- Former or current spouses
- Parents and children
- People who are parents of a mutual child
- Stepparents and their stepchildren
- Foster parents and foster children
- People currently or previously living within the same household.
The types of acts that could be considered domestic violence include simple battery, battery, simple assault, assault, stalking, unlawful restraint, criminal trespass, and other felonies committed between the previously mentioned people. Georgia domestic violence penalties can affect your life long after your sentence is complete. Being convicted of a domestic violence offense can lead to difficulties in every aspect of your personal and professional life.
Fines and Imprisonment
Georgia takes acts of domestic violence seriously and will punish crimes involving family violence more harshly than acts committed by people with no personal or domestic relationship. Fines and imprisonment periods for domestic violence crimes are higher or longer than the identical crime committed between strangers. A simple assault that would typically be treated as a misdemeanor becomes a high and aggravated misdemeanor when it occurs between individuals with a domestic relationship. The potential fine is $5,000.00 with a maximum jail sentence of 12 months. An initial domestic violence battery charge is a $1,000.00 fine with a maximum of 12 months in jail, but subsequent convictions of family violence are treated as felonies with the possibility of being sentenced to five years in prison.
Loss of Parental Rights
A conviction for a domestic violence related offense may play a role in future custody determinations. When a law enforcement officer responds to a call a Family Violence Report is completed that contains details of the abuse and whether any children witnessed the incident. The victim of domestic violence is also able to receive a protective order that includes minor children. Once the protective order is granted any attempt to contact the child or victim is a misdemeanor that may be punished with a $1,000.00 fine and/or 12 months in jail. Even if the protective order is not extended past an emergency period it is difficult for a person who has a domestic violence conviction to convince a court to allow them joint physical or legal custody of minor children. It is possible to lose most parental rights while being responsible for paying child support.
Future Employment Difficulties
Obtaining employment with a misdemeanor or felony is a difficult task. The current unemployment rate in Georgia is 5.4 percent, higher than the national average. Approximately 92 percent of employers perform criminal background checks on all prospective employees. Employers in Georgia may not hire a person if they have a prior conviction that could impact their ability to perform their job or negatively affect public confidence. In a tight job market any blemish on your record could seriously impact your future prospects.
If you or someone you know is facing domestic violence charges in Georgia the assistance of a qualified criminal defense attorney could help. Currently serving 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 Angell Law Firm can provide you with the advice you need. Contact our office today at 770-217-4954 to schedule a consultation.