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Don’t let a “sporting” disagreement turn into serious charges

| Feb 6, 2021 | Firm News |

There are a great number of approved tactics for the police to show up at your house. One issue that brings the police is getting a lot of attention with  the onset of Covid which is aggravated assault and simple battery or domestic violence charges. Arguments sometimes result in officers arriving at your house to “break up” a fight. While Covid has caused a lot more stress than usual, other events that can bring the police end up with disagreement over sporting events. One popular time for law enforcement to use these types of “arrival excuses” is over SPECIAL EVENTS such as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers v. Kansas City Chiefs Superbowl Football game for Sunday February 7, 2021. Its important to remember that just because the game isn’t here in Atlanta, that police will still be answering and responding to fights, arguments and altercations that people call them to “break up” or stop arguments. These events can happen from visiting a game day party at either a bar or a friends house or just being at home. After our state has been in quarantine from COVID for so long, now is not the time to let your guard down. One thing that many people don’t understand is why calling the officers to break up a fight results in a arrest. Officers will arrive at a location if they are called to stop a fight, but their reaction usually results in someone getting arrested, regardless of the facts of the case. The officers will err on the side of caution rather than risking someone getting assaulted or even worse, severely injured if they did nothing. Its also important to review what the officers will qualify as a Simple Battery, Domestic Violence, and aggravated assault and we should also look at cruelty to children as that pops up frequently as well.

Most people are familiar with what a Simple Battery charge entails. At least on the surface, most people believe that they know what actions will support a simple battery. What about aggravated assault? How can an aggravated assault turn into other charges?

Lets start with the basics and work our way up to particularization of the charges in this situation. Many people don’t realize that the crime of Simple Battery can happen to anyone, including police officers. The offense of Simple Battery is defined by the statute from O.C.G.A. 16-5-23 and Battery is defined in O.C.G.A. 16-5-23.1. In part, these statute states that a person commits the offense of simple battery when they intentionally make physical contact of insulting or provoking nature or causes harm to another. All that is required to receive the additional charge for Domestic Violence is that you live with the person with whom you are fighting. Generally if the officers see that fact, you can also get a domestic violence charge.

During these events, however, if the child views or is in the same room as what happens you can also be charged with cruelty to children in the third degree. O.C.G.A. 16-5-70 contains the information explaining how someone can be charged for Cruelty to children. One of the subsections of that statute states that if a child witnesses a battery or family violence battery, then the person who is causing the battery to occur can be charged with cruelty to children in the third degree. If the danger and situation that the child was placed into by these events is dangerous enough, as determined by investigators, then the Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS) may become involved and he may also be additionally charged under the child abuse statutes O.C.G.A. Title 19 chapter 15. This type of investigation would be mandated by the Georgia Office of the Child Advocate (who would report to DFCS). Of course there are facts to every case where defenses can be raised for anyone charged with the crimes of Simple Battery or Battery. O.C.G.A. 16-5-23 subsection (f) we would see the following: If the offense of battery is committed between past or present spouses, persons who are parents of the same child, parents and children, stepparents and stepchildren, foster parents and foster children, or other persons living or formerly living in the same household, then such offense shall constitute the offense of family violence battery. This is a liberal construction and shows that all that is required at a minimum is that you get into a physical altercation with someone with whom you are living. Each situation is different from the other and requires a evaluation of all the information in order to properly mount a defense and a effective negotiation with the prosecutors office.

Moving forward, now lets look at how simple battery charges can turn into Aggravated Assault. Aggravated Assault is defined under O.C.G.A. 16-5-21 which states that a person commits the offense when he or she assaults with the intent to murder rape or rob with a deadly object that is likely to do serious bodily injury. This charge alone can carry from 1-20 years in prison and is mostly charged as a felony. This type of crime is what we refer to as an intent crime. This means that apart from Battery, if contact is made, and intent is involved battery can turn into aggravated assault quickly.