2021 Georgia Code
Title 16 - Crimes and Offenses
Chapter 5 - Crimes Against the Person
Article 2 - Assault and Battery
§ 16-5-20. Simple Assault
- A person commits the offense of simple assault when he or she either:
- Attempts to commit a violent injury to the person of another; or
- Commits an act which places another in reasonable apprehension of immediately receiving a violent injury.
- Except as provided in subsections (c) through (h) of this Code section, a person who commits the offense of simple assault shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
- Any person who commits the offense of simple assault in a public transit vehicle or station shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished for a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature. For purposes of this Code section, "public transit vehicle" means a bus, van, or rail car used for the transportation of passengers within a system which receives a subsidy from tax revenues or is operated under a franchise contract with a county or municipality of this state.
- If the offense of simple assault is committed between past or present spouses, persons who are parents of the same child, parents and children, stepparents and stepchildren, foster parents and foster children, or other persons excluding siblings living or formerly living in the same household, the defendant shall be punished for a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature. In no event shall this subsection be applicable to corporal punishment administered by a parent or guardian to a child or administered by a person acting in loco parentis.
- Any person who commits the offense of simple assault against an employee of a public school system of this state while such employee is engaged in official duties or on school property shall, upon conviction of such offense, be punished for a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature. For purposes of this Code section, "school property" shall include public school buses and stops for public school buses as designated by local school boards of education.
- Any person who commits the offense of simple assault against a female who is pregnant at the time of the offense shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished for a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature.
- Nothing in this Code section shall be construed to permit the prosecution of:
- Any person for conduct relating to an abortion for which the consent of the pregnant woman, or person authorized by law to act on her behalf, has been obtained or for which such consent is implied by law;
- Any person for any medical treatment of the pregnant woman or her unborn child; or
- Any woman with respect to her unborn child.
For the purposes of this subsection, the term "unborn child" means a member of the species homo sapiens at any stage of development who is carried in the womb.
(Laws 1833, Cobb's 1851 Digest, p. 787; Code 1863, §§ 4256, 4257; Code 1868, §§ 4291, 4292; Code 1873, §§ 4357, 4358; Code 1882, §§ 4357, 4358; Penal Code 1895, §§ 95, 96; Penal Code 1910, §§ 95, 96; Code 1933, §§ 26-1401, 26-1402; Code 1933, § 26-1301, enacted by Ga. L. 1968, p. 1249, § 1; Ga. L. 1991, p. 971, §§ 1, 2; Ga. L. 1999, p. 381, § 2; Ga. L. 1999, p. 562, § 2; Ga. L. 2004, p. 621, § 1; Ga. L. 2005, p. 60, § 16/HB 95; Ga. L. 2006, p. 643, § 1/SB 77; Ga. L. 2021, p. 384, § 1/HB 363.)
The 2021 amendment, effective July 1, 2021, substituted "Reserved." for the former provisions of subsection (e), which read: "Any person who commits the offense of simple assault against a person who is 65 years of age or older shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished for a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature."Code Commission notes.
- Pursuant to Code Section 28-9-5, in 1999, "subsections (c), (d), and (e)" was substituted for "subsections (c) and (d)" in subsection (b), and subsection (d) as enacted by Ga. L. 1999, p. 562, § 2, was redesignated as subsection (e).Editor's notes.
- Ga. L. 1999, p. 381, § 1, not codified by the General Assembly, provides that: "This Act shall be known and may be cited as the 'Crimes Against Family Members Act of 1999'."
Ga. L. 1999, p. 381, § 7, not codified by the General Assembly, provides that: "Nothing herein shall be construed to validate a relationship between people of the same sex as a 'marriage' under the laws of this State."
Ga. L. 1999, p. 562, § 1, not codified by the General Assembly, provides that: "This Act shall be known and may be cited as the 'Crimes Against Elderly Act of 1999'."
Ga. L. 2004, p. 621, § 9(b), not codified by the General Assembly, provides that the amendment by that Act shall apply to offenses committed on or after July 1, 2004.
Ga. L. 2006, p. 643, § 5, not codified by the General Assembly, provides that the amendment by that Act shall apply to all offenses committed on or after July 1, 2006.Law reviews.
- For survey article on criminal law and procedure, see 34 Mercer L. Rev. 89 (1982). For article, "Misdemeanor Sentencing in Georgia," see 7 Ga. St. B. J. 8 (2001). For article on 2006 amendment of this Code section, see 23 Georgia. St. U. L. Rev. 37 (2006). For note on 1999 amendments to Code sections in this article, see 16 Georgia. St. U. L. Rev. 72 (1999).JUDICIAL DECISIONS
- General Consideration
- Not Excessive Force
- Jury Instruction
OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
Authority of Georgia Crime Information Center to maintain records of crimes.
- Georgia Crime Information Center is authorized to maintain records of reported crime and, in some instances, to record information identifying persons charged with the commission of crime; however, the center is not authorized to maintain records identifying persons charged with disorderly conduct except when the charge is directly connected with or directly related to certain statutory offenses including simple assault. 1976 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 76-33.
For an update of crimes and offenses for which the Georgia Crime Information Center is authorized to collect and file identifying data, see 1991 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 91-35.
Am. Jur. 2d.
- 6 Am. Jur. 2d, Assault and Battery, §§ 1 et seq., 3, 4.C.J.S.
- 6A C.J.S., Assault, § 79 et seq.ALR.
- Recovery for physical consequences of fright resulting in a physical injury, 11 A.L.R. 1119; 40 A.L.R. 983; 76 A.L.R. 681; 98 A.L.R. 402.
Liability of tort-feasor for consequences of act induced by fear aroused by tort, 35 A.L.R. 1447.
Indecent proposal to woman as assault, 12 A.L.R.2d 971.
Truant or attendance officer's liability for assault and battery or false imprisonment, 62 A.L.R.2d 1328.
Civil liability of one instigating or inciting an assault or assault and battery notwithstanding primary or active participant therein has been absolved of liability, 72 A.L.R.2d 1229.
Attempt to commit assault as criminal offense, 79 A.L.R.2d 597.
Unintentional killing of or injury to third person during attempted self-defense, 55 A.L.R.3d 620.
Antagonistic defenses as ground for separate trials of codefendants in criminal case, 82 A.L.R.3d 245.
Criminal responsibility for physical measures undertaken in connection with treatment of mentally disordered patient, 99 A.L.R.3d 854.
Attempt to commit assault as criminal offense, 93 A.L.R.5th 683.