If you or someone you know and care about has been arrested for a violent crime in the State of Georgia, contact Rachel Kaufman law and get the legal representation you need. We defend individuals charged with Simple Battery, Simple Assault, Domestic Violence/Battery, Aggravated Assault, Aggravated Battery, Robbery, Armed Robbery, Felony Murder, and Murder.
To ensure the best results for clients, Rachel Kaufman Law thoroughly investigates the circumstances of events leading up to, during and after the arrest for a violent crime.
e. The investigation often yields evidence that can later be used at trial in a client’s defense. Additionally, based on the investigation, our firm conducts legal research to determine if and when our clients rights could have potentially been violated. From there, our firm prepares and files written motions to dismiss and suppress, which are argued in court before trial.
In Court, Rachel she aggressively advocates for her clients using factual circumstances, legal precedent and charm. She also works closely with prosecutors and judges to resolve cases pretrial when “justice for all” can be served in that way. When pre-trial negotiations are not satisfactory dispositions for our clients, trial becomes the next step.
In preparation for trial, Rachel works with other skilled trial attorneys to explore the facts of the case and consider all defense strategies. She also encourages clients to be as involved as possible in pre-trial planning because trial is truly a team effort.
Simple assault is either 1) attempts to commit a violent injury to another person (attempted battery) or 2) commits an act that places another person in reasonable apprehension of immediately receiving a bodily injury. Simple assault is a misdemeanor punishable by 12 months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Aggravated Assault is simple assault 1) with the intent to murder, rape, or rob, 2) with a deadly weapon or any object which, when used offensively against a person, is likely to or does result in serious bodily injury or 3) uses an object or device that is likely to or does result in strangulation (which has been defined as is the impediment of normal breathing or circulation of blood of another by applying pressure to the throat/neck area or by obstructing the airways of the nose and mouth. The maximum punishment for Aggravated Assault is twenty(20) years but the mandatory minimums vary depending on the victim (whether they are police officers, persons over 65 years of age, etc).
Simple battery is defined under Georgia law as “intentionally making physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with the person of another or intentionally causing physical harm to another.” Simple Battery is a misdemeanor punishable by up to twelve (12) months in jail and a $1000 fine.
Battery is defined under Georgia Law as intentionally causing substantial physical harm or visible bodily harm to another. This means that the bodily harm must be capable of being perceived by persons other than the victim (i.e., blackened eye, swollen lip, bruises, etc.). Battery is a misdemeanor punishable by up to twelve (12) months in jail and a $1000 fine unless the victim is 65 years old or older, pregnant, on public transportation or at a public transportation station, or a sports official. In those specific cases, the misdemeanor would be considered aggravated for punishment purposes.
Family Violence Battery is a misdemeanor charge that specifically relates to violence within a family. It is a battery (as defined above) against a family member (including past or present spouses, parents of the same child, parents and children, stepparents and stepchildren, foster parents and foster children or other people including siblings currently or formerly living in the same household). Upon a second family violence battery conviction for said charge, the charge becomes a felony and the individual would face up to five (5) years in prison.
Aggravated Battery is maliciously causing bodily harm to another by depriving him or her of a part of his body, rendering said part of his body useless or by seriously disfiguring his body or part thereof. Temporarily rendering someone’s body part is useless is sufficient; damage need not be permanent. Depending on the circumstances, an individual convicted of Aggravated Battery phases up to twenty (20) years in prison.
BURGLARY +RELATED CRIMES
There are a few types of Burglary charges, depending on the nature of the burglary alleged.
Burglary-1st Degree: Where a person, without authority and with the intent to commit a felony or theft therein, enters or remains within an occupied, unoccupied or vacant dwelling house, or any building designed for the use as the dwelling of another.Burglary in the 1st degree is a felony punishable by one (1) to twenty (20) years in prison. Upon a 2nd conviction for Burglary-1st degree, it is punishable by two (2) to twenty (20) years in prison. Upon a 3rd conviction for Burlgary-1st degree, it is punishable by five (5) to twenty-five (25) years in prison.
Burglary-2nd Degree: Where a person, without authority and with the intent to commit a felony or theft therein, enters or remains within a location that is not proven to be the dwelling of another. Burglary in the 2nd degree is a felony punishable by one (1) to five (5) years in prison. Upon a second or third conviction for Burglary-2nd degree, it is punishable by one (1) to eight (8) years in prison. Upon a fourth conviction for Burglary-2nd degree, it is punishable by a mandatory
Smash and Grab: Where a person, without authority and with the intent to commit a theft, enters a retail establishment and causes damage in excess of $500 without the owner’s consent. Smash and Grab is a felony punishable by two (2) to twenty (20) years in prison or up to a $100,000 fine. Upon a second conviction for Smash and Grab, it is punishable by five (5) to twenty (20) years in prison.
Possession of Tools: When a person has in his possession a tool, explosive or other device commonly used in the commission of burglaries, thefts, and other crimes. The person must have the intent to make use of said tools in the commission of a crime. Merely possessing a common instrument is insufficient for a conviction on this charge. However, the intent to possess the tools can be proven through circumstantial evidence. For example, if police officers find scales, baggies, and cell phones with a large quantity of marijuana, we could conclude that the scales, baggies and cell phones were tools for selling marijuana. Possession of tools is a felony punishable by one (1) to five (5) years in prison.
Homicide: An unlawful killing or causing of the death of a human being by another human being.
- A homicide committed with malice aforethought (i.e., the murderer planned to kill the victim). In other words, murder is when a person causes the death of another human being with malice or bad intent. Intent can be express or implied. It is express when there is deliberate intention to kill. It is implied where no considerable provocation appears and where all circumstances of the killing show an abandoned and malignant heart. It is implied when there is a reckless disregard for human life.
- Punishment: Death or life imprisonment (with or without the possibility of parole). O.C.G.A. 16-5-1(a).
- This charge is reserved for individuals who cause the death of another human being, irrespective of malice, during the commission of cruelty to children in the second degree. Cruelty to Children-Second Degree is when a person, with criminal negligence, causes a child under the age of 18 cruel or excessive physical or mental pain.
- Because Cruelty to Children-Second Degree is a felony that does not require intent, it is, technically, not subject to the Felony Murder statute. This is why the legislature created Murder-Second Degree—to account for this violent felony that does not require criminal intent, like most other violent crimes.
- Punishment: 10 years - 30 years in prison
- A homicide committed while committing a felony (e.g., armed robbery or rape), irrespective of malice. Although there need not be proof of malice, there must be evidence of intent to commit the underlying felony, which must be inherently dangerous with a foreseeable risk of death. O.C.G.A. 16-5-1(e)(1).
- Punishment: Death or life imprisonment with or without parole
- A homicide committed when the person acts as the result of a "sudden, violent, and irresistible passion" resulting from provocation sufficient to cause it (e.g., a homicide resulting from a family quarrel). The provocation must be sufficient to excite passion in a reasonable person and the person’s reaction to the provocation must be swift. Otherwise, the reaction is more like revenge, warranting a 1st degree murder charge. O.C.G.A. 16-5-2(b)
- Sexual jealousy, heated arguments, mutual combat or fear of danger are often considered to be adequate provocation.
- Punishment: 1 year to 20 years
- When a person causes the death of another person without any intention of doing so during the commission of an unlawful act other than a felony. O.C.G.A. 16-5-3(a)
- Punishment: 1 year to 10 years.
- When a person causes the death of another person without the intention to do so by committing a lawful act in an unlawful manner likely to cause death or great arm. O.C.G.A. 16-5-3(b)
- Punishment: Misdemeanor, no more than 12 months confinement and $5,000 fine
KIDNAPPING AND FALSE IMPRISONMENT
The essential difference between kidnapping and false imprisonment is that kidnapping involves the additional element of asportation. Asportation means that you have moved the person from one place to another. You need to be aware that this movement only needs to be slight movement. However, practically speaking, a prosecutor might have a difficult time getting a conviction for kidnapping if the person was just moved from one room to another.
Kidnapping is a felony with a sentence of 10 to 20 years. A conviction for kidnapping for ransom or kidnapping with bodily injury can result in either life in prison or death. If the victim is under age 14, the sentence will be 25 to life. Keep in mind that kidnapping is considered a violent felony and a conviction means you must do at least 10 years in prison without parole. If this is your second violent felony conviction, life without parole is mandatory.
If you violate the personal liberty of another person by arresting, confining, or detaining that person without legal authority, you have committed the crime of false imprisonment. False imprisonment is a felony for which you could receive up to 10 years in prison. OCGA § 16-5-41. See also OCGA § 17-10-6.2 for enhance sentencing.
There are several ways you can commit robbery under Georgia law. You could be facing this charge if the prosecution has evidence that you did any of the following while taking property from another person:
- Used force
- Used intimidation, by threat or coercion, or
- Suddenly snatched the property in question.
Robbery is a felony offense. If you are convicted, you will serve 1 to 20 years in prison. If the alleged victim is older than 65-years old, you will face a harsher sentence of 5 to 20 years.
If you are armed during the commission of the robbery, you face additional penalties. This offense is considered much more serious as the potential for injury or even death is so great. Even if you do not possess a weapon, but merely a believable replica or toy, you could be charged with this offense. Armed robbery carries a potential sentence of 10 to 20 years in prison.