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domestic violence


Domestic and family violence cases can take a significant toll on everyone involved. The constant bickering and loud accusations make an already difficult situation a tremendously tough legal road to navigate. Many domestic and family violence cases include the classic “He said, she said” scenario, which further erodes any semblance of a relationship left in the family.

At Garland Law Group, our dedicated team of criminal defense lawyers understand the heart wrenching agony families go through because of domestic and family violence accusations. We urge anyone experiencing the traumatic effect of domestic and family violence to contact one of our attorneys that specializes in such cases.

How Georgia Defines Family Violence

Georgia defines family violence to mean “any commission of a battery, simple battery, simple assault, assault, stalking, criminal damage to property, unlawful restraint, criminal trespass, or any felony committed” on one or more of the six classifications of victims.

Here is the list of six victim classes of family violence:

  • Parents and children

  • Former or current spouses

  • Stepparents and stepchildren

  • Foster parents and foster children

  • People living in the household in question

  • People who are parents of the same child


One thing to make clear for our clients: Georgia does not consider “reasonable discipline” to be a part of the state’s official definition of family violence. Discipline can include restraint, detention, and/or corporal punishment of a child legally considered to be a minor.

Penalties for Domestic and Family Violence in Georgia

A majority of the acts that qualify for domestic and family violence in Georgia are punished harsher than similar acts that occur between two or more people that are not involved in a domestic relationship. A prime example of the difference is the offense called simple battery, which carries a misdemeanor penalty that includes up to one year in jail and a fine up to $1,000. However, when a simple battery occurs between two members living together and the offense is the second simple battery committed by the same person, the penalty escalates to a prison sentence up to five years. Second battery offenders in a domestic violence situation are charged with a felony.

When Parents Lose Custodial Rights

Every time a law enforcement officer responds to a domestic and family violence call, the officer completes and submits a Family Violence Report describing the facts surrounding the case. One fact that is especially important to document is to take the statements of any children that witnessed the incident. Any victim of a domestic violence incident is allowed under Georgia law to request and receive a protective order. After receiving a protective order, any attempt to contact a child or other victim is considered a misdemeanor. Misdemeanor charges can result in a fine not to exceed $1,000 and/or a prison sentence up to one year.

How Family Violence Charges Impact Job Prospects

One of the primary reasons anyone charged with domestic and family violence needs to seek the legal counsel of a Georgia licensed criminal defense attorney is because of how the charges negatively impact job prospects. Trying to secure a job with a felony or misdemeanor on your record is at best a difficult job and at worst, it is virtually impossible. More than 90% of all employers perform some type of background check to screen job candidates for felony convictions.

Law Enforcement Obligations for Domestic and Family Violence Cases

Georgia law has established specific restrictions and requirements on law enforcement officials that investigate allegations of domestic and family violence. One clause in Georgia domestic and family violence law clearly states an arresting officer can waive the request of a victim not to arrest an alleged perpetrator In addition, law enforcement officials are not allowed to threaten arrest for every party involved in a domestic and family violence case. It is the responsibility of law enforcement officers to identify the main aggressor in domestic and family violence cases, as well as describe in writing the level of the abuse and whether children were involved in the incident.

Overview of a Family Violence Protective Order

Anyone that claims to have suffered from domestic and family violence has the right under Georgia law to petition the superior court for a formal protective order. An adult has the right in Georgia to file a petition that seeks a protective order for a child who is legally considered a minor. Petitions for protective orders must include language that the person filing the petition fell victim on at least one occasion to past domestic and family violence.

A hearing on a protective order petition must be conducted within 30 days of the date when the victim filed the petition. The superior court can decree a protective order that requires the defendant to stop abusing or harassing the victim by committing additional acts of violence. A protective order can require one or both parties to leave the place where the alleged acts of violence took place. It can also award personal property and issue a child custody decision.

Domestic and Family Violence Lawyers at Garland Law Group

As one of the most sensitive type of criminal law cases, domestic and family violence requires the legal expertise of a team of criminal defense lawyers that also demonstrate the empathy needed to help alleviate emotional trauma. The highly rated team of domestic and family violence attorneys at Garland Law Group help our clients navigate the difficult road leading to the resolution of their domestic and family violence cases.

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