Simple Battery Law & Legal Definition


A simple battery occurs when a person:

  • Makes intentional contact of an insulting or provoking nature with the person of another; or
  • Cause intentional harm to another.

In Georgia, simple battery amounts to misdemeanor. However it becomes misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature when it is committed against certain classes of persons. For example its misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature when committed against a person who is 65 years of age or older or against a female who is pregnant or in a public transit vehicle or station.

The relevant law in Georgia reads as follows:

O.C.G.A. § 16-5-23

(a) A person commits the offense of simple battery when he or she either:

(1) Intentionally makes physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with the person of another; or

(2) Intentionally causes physical harm to another.

(b) Except as otherwise provided in subsections (c) through (i) of this Code section, a person convicted of the offense of simple battery shall be punished as for a misdemeanor.

(c) Any person who commits the offense of simple battery against a person who is 65 years of age or older or 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.

(d) Any person who commits the offense of simple battery 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" has the same meaning as in subsection (c) of Code Section 16-5-20.

(e) Any person who commits the offense of simple battery against a police officer, law enforcement dog, correction officer, or detention officer engaged in carrying out official duties shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished for a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature.

(f) If the offense of simple battery 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.

(g) A person who is an employee, agent, or volunteer at any facility licensed or required to be licensed under Code Section 31-7-3, relating to long-term care facilities, or Code Section 31-7-12, relating to personal care homes, or who is required to be licensed pursuant to Code Section 31-7-151 or 31-7-173, relating to home health care and hospices, who commits the offense of simple battery against a person who is admitted to or receiving services from such facility, person, or entity shall be punished for a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature.

(h) Any person who commits the offense of simple battery against a sports official while such sports official is officiating an amateur contest or while such sports official is on or exiting the property where he or she will officiate or has completed officiating an amateur contest shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished for a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature. For the purposes of this Code section, the term "sports official" means any person who officiates, umpires, or referees an amateur contest at the collegiate, elementary or secondary school, or recreational level.

(i) Any person who commits the offense of simple battery 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.