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Savannah Assault Lawyers

Defending Simple & Aggravated Assault Charges in Chatham County

If you or a loved one has been charged with assault, retaining the right criminal defense lawyer can make all the difference in the outcome of your case. You could lose your freedom for years if you are not professionally defended by a seasoned trial lawyer.

At Schneider Lerch, LLC, we have extensive experience developing powerful and compelling defense strategies and engaging in meaningful and productive negotiations with prosecutors. One of our partners, Cris Schneider, is a former prosecutor himself and understands the process of working with the other side to seek a reduced charge or sentence when this is the most favorable option for the accused.

Are you facing an assault charge in Georgia? Call Schneider Lerch, LLC today at (912) 417-5008 or contact us online to get started on your case!

What Is the Difference Between Simple Assault and Aggravated Assault in Georgia?

Simple assault is a misdemeanor carrying penalties of up to 12 months in jail and $1,000 in fines upon conviction. You could be charged with simple assault if you injured someone, attempted to injure someone, or made someone fear immediate violent injury.

Aggravated assault is a far more serious felony offense that is charged when the alleged perpetrator assaulted someone with the intent to murder, rob, or rape. Aggravated assault can also be any form of assault involving the use of a deadly weapon. If convicted of aggravated assault, you could be facing up to 20 years in prison and extensive fines.

What Factors Will a Judge Consider in an Assault Case?

The judge has leeway in sentencing and will look at several factors when making a decision.

Judges will consider:

  • Your criminal record and whether you have prior convictions
  • The extent of the victim’s injuries
  • Whether a weapon was used in the assault
  • Whether the assault was considered a "hate crime"
  • Whether the assault was considered a "gang crime"
  • The sentencing guidelines in the State of Georgia
  • Mandatory minimum sentences that do not allow for the judge's discretion

Georgia has some of the toughest sentencing guidelines of any state. For several crimes – including an aggravated assault in a rape case – the state does not allow for parole eligibility or time off for good behavior. 100% of the sentence must be served. This places a defendant in a position of extreme danger if accused of aggravated assault. The Seven Deadly Sins Act abolished parole for seven violent felonies including rape.

What Should I Do If I Am Charged With Assault?

If you have been accused of committing assault, it is important that you take appropriate action to protect yourself.

We recommend that you:

  • Exercise your right to remain silent
  • Be respectful to law enforcement and do not resist, fight, or argue, as that could result in added charges for resisting
  • Do not engage in conversations with any "friendly" officer who appears to want to help you
  • Once you have been booked and are allowed to make a call, get in touch with a Savannah assault defense lawyer you can trust
  • Never agree to any questioning without your lawyer physically present to advise and protect you.

What Defenses Are Available for an Assault Charge?

Facing an assault charge can be daunting, but several defenses can be utilized to challenge the accusations. The specific circumstances of each case will influence which defense is most appropriate.

  • Self-Defense: One of the most common defenses against an assault charge is self-defense. This argument is valid when the defendant can demonstrate that they believed they were in imminent danger of bodily harm and used reasonable force to protect themselves. The key factors are the immediacy of the threat and the proportionality of the response.
  • Defense of Others: Similar to self-defense, this defense applies when the accused was protecting someone else from imminent harm. The defendant must show that the person they were defending was under immediate threat and that the force used was necessary and proportionate to the threat.
  • Defense of Property: This defense can be invoked if the defendant was using force to protect their property from being unlawfully taken or damaged. The force must be reasonable and not excessive given the situation.
  • Mistaken Identity: If there is a possibility that the defendant was not the person who committed the assault, this defense can be used. Mistaken identity can arise from unreliable eyewitness testimony or other factors that lead to confusion about who was responsible.

Each of these defenses requires a thorough understanding of the specific facts of the case and effective legal representation to ensure the best possible outcome.

What Qualifies As a Deadly Weapon?

When charged with aggravated assault for using a deadly weapon, you may be shocked to find out a deadly weapon can be almost anything – including hands and feet. If it is alleged that you used any item in an assault – whether it was a gun, knife, beer bottle, bat, or club – you will be most likely be facing charges of aggravated assault.

Contact Schneider Lerch, LLC by calling (912) 417-5008 today for a confidential consultation!

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Choose a Team You Can Trust

At Schneider Lerch, LLC, you have an entire legal team on your side when dealing with serious criminal matters. We are ready to help you obtain the best possible outcome in your case.