What is a Simple Assault? (O.C.G.A. § 16-5-20)

Have you been charged with a physical crime or a violent physical crime?

You need the help of an experienced criminal defense law firm to help you with these charges of Assault or Simple Assault. Many people don’t realize that these charges, which are considered from a physical crime or violent physical crime, can make their lives difficult. It would now be a part of your criminal history when you apply for a house, a loan, promotions within your profession. An experienced criminal defense attorney, or their firm, can help you control how this charge is treated both in court and in your future.

The state (legislature or court) refers to these crimes as Crimes Against the Person or crimes against people.

Many Claims of Assault are serious and no one should DE minimize anyone’s experience. However, occasions arise where someone, in an argument, will call the police to solve a problem between the two of them, which almost always results in an arrest (even and especially when it was just a misunderstanding between the parties).

There are multiple ways that the government can charge someone with Assault. A review of the Georgia Statutes show that you can be charged under Simple Assault or Aggravated Assault.

The difference between an Assault, Simple Assault and Aggravated Assault will depend on the facts of the case. In all charges, any type of Assault will involve attempting to strike someone, in any manner, and missing (or not making contact). Many attorneys refer to Assault as an intentional act or threat of action that places a person in fear of being hit.

The Georgia legislature defines and evaluates a Simple Assault (O.C.G.A. § 16-5-20) as follows:

Simple Assault occurs when an attempt is made to commit a violent injury to the person of another OR commit an act which places another in reasonable apprehension of immediate receipt of a violent injury

Under this code section Simple Assault is a misdemeanor. This means, generally that this charge cannot carry more than 1 year in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.00. The toll that it carries involves more than just misdemeanor consequences however.

There are additional situations which can cause this type of charge to be elevated in nature which would make the charge of a “high and aggravated misdemeanor.”

Those particular situations involve:

  1. You are charged with the assault (or simple assault) in a public transit vehicle (such as MARTA (Metro Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority), Gwinnett Transit Authority (GTA) or Cobb Transit Authority, (CTA)). These vehicles, or transit vehicles, include buses, vans, rail cars or any other form of transportation that receives a subsidy from tax revenues or operated under contracts with the counties or municipalities of the state;
  2. You are charged with the offense AND you are either a past or present spouse (husband and/or wife), are a parent of the same child, children, step parent or step child, foster parent or foster children;
  3. You are charged against an employee of a public school system of this state and they are on their official duties or on school property (including the bus and bus stop)
  4. You are charged against a female who is pregnant at the time of the offense.


You need the help of an experienced Criminal Defense Attorney to help you with these charges. Many people don’t realize that this charge can affect the rest of YOUR life. It would now be a part of your criminal history when you apply to rent a house, a home loan, and even promotions at work, not to mention applying for a new job. This charge will follow you for the rest of your life and cause issues every time it “pops up.” An experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you with this charge both in how the court treats you and how it effects your future. As former prosecutors, our attorneys know and understand that the prosecution, or in almost every case – team of prosecutors, are highly skilled and trained to get a conviction on your case. That means it’s time to and hire an experienced criminal defense attorney that knows how to evaluate both sides of the case.  Our team of lawyers are former prosecutors and know how to mount a proper defense for YOUR charges.

Being charged with Simple Assault or any criminal offense does not mean that you have to accept guilt, it means that you need help from a experienced attorney to mount a proper defense.

Our offices have a 24 hour response line (404-445-8494) and someone is available to answer your call and help. Call us now for a free case evaluation.