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Georgia Senate passes heavier penalties for domestic violence

If you've been accused of domestic violence in the past or present, it's important to know how the current laws could affect your case and penalties if you're convicted. While you can defend yourself against any charge, knowing what you're up against can be helpful when building your case. Right now, the Georgia Senate has approved a new bill that could make a current misdemeanor into a felony offense. That could mean higher penalties, like larger fines or longer prison sentences.

The Georgia State Senate has approved these heavier penalties for those who are repeat domestic abusers, according to the news from Feb. 2. These individuals would have at least one mark on their records from the past, so the law does not affect first-time offenders. First-time offenses are, generally speaking, still misdemeanor crimes. The new bill allows the authorities to place a felony charge against a person who is a reoffender.

Senate Bill 193, if passed, will allow local prosecutors to pursue felony charges against anyone who is accused of family violence battery as long as that person had been involved in a past out-of-state conviction for the same charge. Georgia residents are different, as are those who have convictions within the state; they can be charged with a felony even if the previous incident wasn't officially called domestic violence battery.

Those who approved the bill suggest that the bill is closing loopholes that had allowed those committing domestic violence offenses repeatedly slip through the courts and end up back in a position to lash out again. The bill needs to pass in the state House to be made into a law.

Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "Georgia Senate approves stricter penalties for repeat domestic abusers," Kristina Torres, Feb. 02, 2016

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