How Long Do You Stay In Jail For Domestic Violence In Georgia?

by | Jul 20, 2022

Understanding Family Violence and Battery Charges in Georgia


Battery is defined in Georgia law (Title 16 of the Georgia Code) as when someone intentionally causes significant physical harm or visible injuries to another person (§ 16-5-23.1).

The offense becomes “family battery” when the battery occurs between individuals related by:

  • Blood (parents, children, siblings, etc.)
  • Marriage (current or former spouses)
  • Dating relationship (current or former)
  • Living together as a family (even without being married)
  • Parent of the same child
  • Foster or adoptive parent and child


Family Violence in Georgia


Georgia law also has a separate category for family violence. According to Georgia Code § 19-13-1, “family violence” is any felony or misdemeanor offense between household members that causes bodily harm, serious bodily harm, assault, stalking, criminal damage to property, or unlawful restraint. This includes not only physical abuse but also emotional and psychological abuse.


Penalties for Domestic Violence in Georgia

The penalties for domestic violence in Georgia can vary depending on the specific charges and circumstances of the case.

  • First Offense: Both regular battery and a first offense of family battery are considered misdemeanors. The maximum punishment is a fine of up to $1,000 and up to 12 months in jail.
  • Second Offense for Family Battery: This is a crucial point. Unlike regular battery, a second conviction for family battery carries harsher penalties, even if the offense involves a different victim. A second family battery offense is considered a felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison.
  • Subsequent Offenses: Any subsequent offenses (third or more) of family violence are also considered felonies, with penalties of up to 10 years in prison.
  • Aggravated Family Violence: If the offense involves strangulation, suffocation, or the use of a firearm, it is classified as aggravated family violence and carries mandatory minimum sentences. A first offense of aggravated family violence is punishable by a minimum of 3 years in prison, and subsequent offenses carry a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years.

A victim of domestic violence can also seek civil protection through a family violence protective order. This can be filed in court by the victim or on behalf of a minor child. If granted, the order may require the abuser to:

  • Leave the shared home
  • Make child custody arrangements
  • Provide the victim with temporary housing

Violating a protective order is a criminal offense, typically treated as a misdemeanor with a possible fine of up to $1,000 or 12 months in jail. However, if the abuser has a prior family violence conviction or violates the order by committing an act of family violence, it is treated as a felony with penalties of up to 10 years in prison.


Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney


If you have been charged with domestic violence in Georgia, it is crucial to seek legal representation from a skilled attorney. A conviction could result in significant penalties and long-term consequences, including a criminal record and difficulty finding employment or housing.

At Frye Law Group, we have extensive experience in defending clients against domestic violence charges. We are committed to protecting your rights and fighting for the best possible outcome for your domestic violence case. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can help you.