Disagreements within a family may escalate quickly. What starts as a simple misunderstanding may quickly become a complicated legal matter with police involvement, a protective order, and a formal charge of domestic violence. Experienced criminal defense lawyer Jason Slider at the law firm of Baker & Slider understands that many people are wrongfully accused of misconduct in these delicate situations. As an Athens domestic violence attorney, he can evaluate your case and help you determine an appropriate course of action in defending against the charges.Domestic Violence Laws in Georgia
Under Georgia law, the crime of domestic violence is defined as an act of family violence, such as physical, sexual, or emotional abuse among family members. The term “family” is loosely defined and may include not only current and former spouses but also the biological parents of a child, parents and children, stepparents and stepchildren, foster parents and foster children, and other persons who live (or have previously lived) in the same household, which would include past or present roommates and, therefore, could incorporate University of Georgia students who have some sort of incident with their roommate. Included within domestic violence or family violence are acts of simple batter, battery, assault, stalking, damage to property, unlawful restraint, and criminal trespass. Other felony acts are also outlawed under certain domestic violence statutes.
The specific punishment in a certain case of domestic violence depends on the nature and severity of the act that led to the defendant’s arrest. For lesser offenses, such as simple assault, a conviction will be a misdemeanor, which, by definition, could not result in incarceration of more than a year. It is important to note, however, that an act of violence prosecuted under domestic violence laws may result in a harsher sentence than a conviction for a similar act between strangers. This includes elevation to a “high and aggravated” misdemeanor in some cases. Such a designation may affect the defendant’s release date because it adversely affects the number of days of good behavior credit available to them if they are sentenced to jail. There are other long lasting consequences of domestic violence beyond the social stigma of such a conviction, to include problems with immigration for non-citizens and a possible ban from owning firearms if a person is convicted of a domestic violence crime.
It is also possible that a domestic violence charge may result in a felony conviction, especially for repeat offenses. Family violence protective orders may also be ordered in domestic violence cases, instructing the defendant to vacate a shared residence and refrain from harassing the alleged victim. Fines, community service, and anger management classes are also possible consequences of a conviction.
While being accused of domestic violence may be very unsettling, a mere accusation does not amount to a guilty verdict. There may be a viable defense to the charges, such as an unreasonable search and seizure or a lack of probable cause for arrest. The defendant may also be able to assert an affirmative defense, such as self-defense or defense of others. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help the defendant review the facts of the case and identify ways to attack the charges.Enlist an Experienced Domestic Violence Attorney in Athens and Beyond
In any criminal prosecution, the State has the burden of proving the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Athens domestic violence lawyer Jason Slider began his career as a prosecutor and is familiar with every aspect of a criminal case, from pre-arrest through post-conviction appeals. To put the law firm of Baker & Slider to work on your case, call us at (706) 208-1514 or contact us online for a free consultation. We represent people in Athens, Jefferson, Watkinsville, Danielsville, and other communities in Clarke, Jackson, Madison, Oconee, and surrounding Counties. Jason Slider also serves Georgia residents who need a drug crime attorney, assistance in fighting DUI charges, or representation in any other criminal matter.