Georgia Criminal Defense

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Georgia Criminal Defense
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georgia criminal defenseCharged with a Crime in Georgia?

Criminal Defense Lawyers Explain Charges and Penalties

A criminal conviction can drastically affect the rest of your life. You may face the possibility of jail time, fines and other penalties, and your reputation may be damaged. Additionally, a conviction may prevent you from finding work and/or housing in the future. Since so much hangs in the balance, you should always work a criminal defense lawyer with a history of success. Even innocence is not always an ironclad defense – law enforcement and prosecutors may not care about your side of the story, but will simply focus on getting a conviction. An attorney can work to enforce your rights and expose any misconduct or negligence that may have led to your arrest. In many cases, a good lawyer can get your charges or penalties reduced, minimizing the negative impact on your life.

If you have been arrested or someone you know was taken into police custody, then you should find a lawyer as quickly as possible. No matter what kinds of charges you face, from a misdemeanor to a felony, finding an attorney you trust is essential. To speak with a local Georgia criminal lawyer today, consult our local listings.

What Are the Basic Types of Criminal Charges?

The type of criminal charge you face may vary depending on the nature of the alleged crime. Although each state has its own specific classifications, the general types of charges are:

  • Infraction. An infraction is the least serious type of charge you can face. In fact, some states handle infractions as civil cases, rather than criminal cases. Traffic violations and other minor offenses usually fall into this category. Jail is generally not a possibility for infractions, so you are not entitled to a jury trial and the state will usually not appoint you a lawyer. However, you can still hire one of your own.
  • Petty offense. Some states categorize low-level criminal conduct as petty offenses. This may include illegal acts like gambling, disturbing the peace, public indecency, pollution violations and theft of items of low value.
  • Misdemeanor. A misdemeanor is a more serious charge and county courts typically handle these cases. Common misdemeanor charges include assault, criminal trespass, theft and certain drug crimes, including possession and sale.
  • Felony. This is the most serious type of criminal charge and state and/or federal courts usually handle these cases. Common felonies include murder, kidnapping, sexual assault, robbery, vehicular homicide, assault with a deadly weapon, burglary and certain drug crimes.

In some cases, a criminal defense lawyer can negotiate on your behalf with the prosecution to reduce the severity of the charges you face. If the court reduces your charge from a low-level felony to a misdemeanor, for example, then the repercussions you face may be much less serious.

What Is the Penalty for a Misdemeanor in Georgia?

Each state has its own system for classifying misdemeanor and felony charges, and penalties may vary as well. Georgia classifies its misdemeanors, in respective gravity, as simply “misdemeanors” or, for more serious offences but which are still below felony class, “misdemeanors of a high and aggravated nature”.

Some of the most common misdemeanors include public drunkenness, vandalism, prostitution, trespassing, certain forms of domestic violence and DUI.

General penalties for either class of misdemeanor include jail, community service, the loss of right to possess a firearm (e.g. family violence offense), loss of federal financial aid for education (drug offenses), loss of driving privileges and the publication of your photo in the newspaper.

The general penalties you may face for mere misdemeanors are:

  • One year in jail and with fines for most ranging from $300 to $1000.

And for “misdemeanors “of a high and aggravated nature”:

  • The sentence can only reach 12 months; however, fines can be as high as $5000.

Simple battery is a high and aggravated misdemeanor when the victim is a family member of the defendant or a person over the age of 65. A Judge may also place on probation or suspend the sentences of defendants convicted of misdemeanors of a high and aggravated nature.

What Is the Penalty for a Felony in Georgia?

All crimes punishable by a sentence of one year or more in prison are felonies under Georgia’s laws. Unlike many states, Georgia does not designate crimes by class (such as “Class A felony” or “Class 1 felony”). Instead, Georgia’s laws designate crimes as misdemeanors or felonies and assign sentences on a crime-by-crime basis. Typical felonies under Georgia law include:

    • Murder, which may result in life imprisonment or the death penalty (only felony punishable by death).
    • Kidnapping, armed robbery, rape and other sex crimes, which are punishable by a minimum of 10 or 25 years in prison.

 

  • Less serious crimes (such as theft crimes) are punishable by shorter prison terms.

 

Additionally, some crimes are punishable as either felonies or misdemeanors, depending on the circumstances. These crimes are referred to as “wobblers”; as in, “wobbling” between the two classifications. In Georgia, a judge may sentence any defendant convicted of a felony punishable by ten years or less in prison to a misdemeanor sentence instead of a felony sentence.

Need a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer? We Can Help

If you are facing any level of criminal charge, then a qualified lawyer may be essential to protecting your future. Additionally, if someone you know is currently in police custody, then you may wish to reach out to a lawyer on his or her behalf. To find a Georgia criminal defense lawyer in your area, then consult our attorney listings. If you have general question about criminal law or certain charges, then do not hesitate to ask the lawyers.

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