Assault charges are a little different from battery charges in that your actions can cause you to get an assault charge. One man found out that he could even get an assault charge while driving down the road. Road rage can happen to anyone. Whether its just yelling at the person in front of you or shaking your fist about something another driver did. One man went a little further and pointed a weapon at another driver. Ryan Colvard was driving his vehicle when officers in Hall County said that he pointed his weapon at another car and fired off rounds. (see this article on FOX5).
Although many people however don't consider the implications of the charges until after they happen, Aggravated Assult in itself is serious.
Aggravated Assault, which is O.C.G.A. 16-5-21, can carry a sentence of anywhere from 5 years to 20 years in prison. When he pointed the gun at the other vehicle, Mr. Colvard took the necessary steps for a charge of aggravated assault because the statute directly reads "You are charged while pointing a gun at another person, (punishment has a minimum of 5 years nor more than 20 years)."
There is still a possibility that other charges may follow this aggravated assault charge.
Aggravated battery will most likely not be an option for the state to use. This charge is defined in O.C.G.A. 16-5-24 and involves maliciously causing bodily harm to another by depriving them of a member of their body (like an arm, finger etc), rendering that member useless or seriously disfiguring their body or a member of their body. In this case, Simple Battery may actually be applicable. Assault and battery alone are serious charges and may be more applicable than the felony charge of aggravated battery which can carry up to 20 years in prison.
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. In this case if one of the shots fired made contact with the a vehicle of someone else OR something of that nature, the prosecutor's may try and include this as well. Seems questionable but if we review what was caught on camera it might be scary and violent looking.
What about Assault? Does it qualify in this exchange? Assault is defined under O.C.G.A. 16-5-20 which states that all that's required is an attempt to commit a violent injury or place someone in fear of a violent injury. Seems likely that the prosecutor may try and apply this one as well.
Of course, he can always be charged with Disorderly Conduct, but that would most likely be the better out of any of these charges. Disorderly conduct simply doesn't have the same issues as the other charges and would be a lesser offense as well.
Of course there are facts to every case where defenses can be raised for anyone charged with the crimes of Disorderly Conduct, Simple Battery, Battery, Simple Assault or Aggravated assault. 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.
Have you been arrested for Disorderly Conduct, Domestic Violence, Battery, Simple Battery, Aggravated Battery, Aggravated Assault? These charges can be misinterpreted from what is going on in the interaction and you may end up with charges incorrectly. It seems obvious that in some occasions these statutes are prone to abuse and overuse.
Every case is different because no two sets of facts are the same. Proper application of not just the law but also case law to your situation would take examination of the facts surrounding your case and creating a properly mounted defense for YOUR arrest.
Our office has 24 hour response lines and can answer your questions and help you. Give our team of lawyers a call at 404-445-8494. We can help you mount a proper defense for your situation.