Sadly, domestic and familial abuse happens every day in our society. It’s a significant problem that deserves scrutiny. Unfortunately, innocent people sometimes find themselves accused of serious crimes and become victims of unfair treatment by the justice system. Law enforcement and the legal system prematurely take the accuser’s side, resulting in unfair investigations and potentially life-changing consequences.
If you find yourself in this position, we’ve compiled some information that might help you navigate these troubling waters.
What Is Domestic Abuse?
In Georgia, domestic abuse is defined as an act of violence between people in specific kinds of relationships. It includes a range of charges from battery or simple battery to felony assault, stalking, property damage, and trespassing. The relationships outlined in Georgia law include:
- Current and former spouses
- Parents, stepparents, foster parents, and people who have a child together
- Children, stepchildren, foster children
- People who currently live or used to live in the same house
The categories are meant to protect anyone in a familial or intimate relationship, and it does not matter where the abuse takes place – in the home or outside. Any act of violence against another household member, no matter where it takes place, is considered domestic abuse.
What is Considered Domestic Violence in Georgia?
Georgia law includes a wide range of different domestic violence charges, including:
- Spousal abuse and rape
- Child or elder abuse
- Child or elder neglect
- Sexual assault
- General assault
- Verbal harassment
- General harassment
- Emotional abuse
How Is Domestic Assault Different from Domestic Abuse?
Domestic abuse is more broadly defined compared to domestic assault. Domestic abuse can include things like threats, intimidation, or a fistfight between family members. Domestic assault is charged when a family member is truly afraid for their personal safety. It’s a more serious and specific crime than domestic abuse.
What Are the Punishments Associated with a Domestic Abuse Conviction?
Typically, the consequences include fines and prison time. In addition to that, a domestic abuse conviction can result in the accuser issuing a protective order against the accused. Child visitations may be affected. The convictions can have ripple effects like job loss, loss of a business or professional license, loss of the right to carry a firearm, and deportation.
Will My Charges Go Away If My Accuser Drops Charges?
Unfortunately, no. Once law enforcement is involved, the next steps are set in motion. They are bound to investigate, and the district attorney will decide whether or not to prosecute. Even if the victim decides later they don’t want to press charges, once the police get involved, the investigation will move forward.
What Is a Protective Order?
A protective order is a petition to a superior court that requires the person named in the petition to cease contact with the petitioner. The person named must not harass the petitioner or carry out acts of violence against the petitioner. They may also be required to move out of a shared household, pay property damages, and attend treatment for family violence. A protective order may also outline child support payments and child custody agreements.
The petition can be filed by someone who was the victim of familial abuse or on behalf of a child who was the victim of familial abuse. After the petition is filed, the court must hold a hearing within 30 days unless both the petitioner and the person named agree to a later date. At the hearing, the court will determine that the petitioner was, in fact, the victim of domestic abuse and is in danger of future domestic abuse.
Protective orders generally last for one year but can be extended for three years or more.
How Do You Fight Domestic Abuse Charges?
Domestic abuse charges are fraught with emotion, but there are ways to fight them. Your case is unique, and your defense should be structured around your individual circumstances, but some typical defenses include:
- Proving the accusations are false or wrongful
- Showing the actions were self-defense
- Showing the actions were in defense of someone else
- Proving that the injuries were accidental
How Can I Fight My Domestic Abuse Charges?
With a better understanding of the consequences involved in domestic abuse cases, you’re probably worried about your future. Prison time, steep fines, and your standing in the community are all on the line. Understanding these outcomes is important, but so is having hope. That’s why it’s critical to find a domestic abuse attorney in Georgia who can help you.
At the Turner Firm, we have a reputation for our work ethic and determination. We will fight to bring your case to a favorable resolution.
Don’t let domestic abuse charges ruin your life. Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with Mr. Turner online.