One man has discovered how charges of aggravated assault can also end up with child abuse. The requirements for aggravated assault are met when someone is injured form an interaction with another person that is “unwanted.” That is allegedly what happened when Mark Le was arrested according to WSAV news. Mr. Le was arrested in and found out just how quickly his actions turned into two serious charges of Aggravated Assault and Cruelty to Children in Third Degree.
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.
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.
In this case the victim had significant visible injuries from the interaction with Jenkins which led to the charges of Aggravated Assault.