So, there are many rules and exceptions regarding the statute of limitations for felonies and misdemeanors in Georgia. But how does all this apply to domestic violence?
The most common crime that people are charged with that falls under the “domestic violence” umbrella is family battery. Family battery is any act of physical violence toward a family member, such as a child or a spouse.
Domestic Violence Statute of Limitations in Georgia
The statute of limitations is an important concept when dealing with domestic violence in Georgia. There are two types of statutes that relate specifically to this crime: the statute of limitations for criminal prosecution, and any civil statute which governs how long a victim has to file a suit against the perpetrator. In Georgia, the statute of limitations on domestic violence is 2 years for criminal cases and 4 years for civil suits. This means that a victim has two years to file charges in criminal court or four years to pursue a civil lawsuit against the attacker. It's important to note that while the statute of limitations may provide some protection from being held financially liable too long after the incident, prioritizing safety should always be your first concern.
Misdemeanor and Felony Domestic Violence in Georgia
Additionally, in Georgia, victims of misdemeanor domestic violence have 2 years to pursue justice and file a criminal charge before the statute of limitations expires. But if the crime has been deemed felony domestic violence – such as aggravated assault or false imprisonment – they are given an extended 4-year time frame.
For example, a first-offense conviction for family battery would be considered a misdemeanor, meaning the time limit would be 2 years. Any second conviction for family battery would be considered a felony, however, which means if you are being charged for family battery a second time, the time limit would be 4 years.
It’s important to remember all the exceptions, though. If the victim of the crime is under 18 at the time of the crime, then the statute of limitations is 7 years.
Sexual Domestic Violence in Georgia
In addition, if the act of domestic violence was of a sexual or molesting nature, then there is no time limit if the prosecution has DNA evidence of the accused’s identity. Moreover, if the crime is forcible rape, the time limit is 15 years.
However, these serious sexual offenses are usually prosecuted as their own crimes, not as domestic violence.
Other Domestic Violence Crimes in GA
Domestic violence in Georgia has numerous crimes that fall under the domestic violence definition. These commonly include physical abuse such as battery, assault, and stalking. Other forms may constitute psychological abuse with malicious behaviors such as harassment, threats, forced confinement, destruction of property, or any other unwanted behaviors that cause fear and terror. Such criminal activities can result in serious repercussions such as fines, probation, or even imprisonment depending on the type and severity of domestic violence involved.