Everybody makes mistakes now and then. Regardless if you’ve been wrongfully charged or were caught in an unfortunate situation, the fact is that until you’re proven guilty, you remain an innocent person. However, the sad truth is that the criminal justice system in Georgia can be strict, and the federal justice system even stricter.
The consequences of a criminal conviction can include loss of employment opportunities, limited housing options, loss of personal and professional reputation, loss of certain civil rights, and so on. This is in addition to a potentially lengthy prison sentence and hefty fines.
So, what measures can you take to avoid a scenario such as this? Well, enlisting the services of a professional Druid Hills criminal defense attorney is crucial. Regardless of the criminal charge, SHElaw firm® is your best bet to regaining your life. Our criminal defense attorneys won’t back down when it comes to fighting on your behalf and have the resources and experience to provide effective legal representation.
What Are Your Rights as a Criminal Defendant in Georgia?
If you’ve been charged with a crime in Georgia, the U.S. constitution protects your basic rights throughout the criminal justice procedure. Under no circumstances can the government violate your civil rights.
The 4th Amendment
The Fourth Amendment:
- Safeguards people from unjust police seizures and searches
- Stipulates requirements for search warrants
- Makes evidence police obtained illegally inadmissible in a court of law
The 5th Amendment
The Fifth Amendment:
- Prohibits a person undergoing a second trial for the same offense (also called double jeopardy)
- Protects defendants from self-incrimination (right to remain silent)
- Guarantees the right to a fair trial
The 6th Amendment
The Sixth Amendment guarantees the criminal defendant the right:
- To a quick and public trial by an unbiased jury of their peers.
- To be presented with the criminal charges and proof supporting the allegations.
- To have the opportunity to face witnesses who come forth to testify against them.
- To have an attorney and call witnesses to the stand in defense.
The 8th Amendment
The Eighth Amendment:
- Requires that punishment is fair and fits the offense
- Obliges judges to set bail amounts or fines reasonably
- Bans cruel or unusual punishments
What’s a Misdemeanor vs a Felony in GA?
In a nutshell, the distinction is the severity of the crime and of punishment. People convicted of misdemeanors can be sentenced to serve a jail term of up to 1 year in county jail. On the other hand, felonies carry a sentence of more than 1 year in federal or state prison. The sentence for a serious felony may be life in prison or even the death penalty.
In addition, non-incarceration punishments, such as probation, are often lessened in misdemeanor cases. Misdemeanors are broken down by the extent and gravity of the crime.
Georgia statute O.C.G.A 17-10-3 defines a misdemeanor as a crime legally punishable by a one-year maximum jail term or a fine of not more than $1,000. High and Aggravated Misdemeanors have heavier penalties than simple misdemeanors, which have a penalty of up to $5000.
Should I Consult a Lawyer Before Speaking to the Police?
Under the 5th amendment, you have a right to remain silent while being questioned by police. Law enforcement can’t compel you to divulge information that would otherwise link you to the crime you are being accused of.
The first step to protecting yourself is to retain the legal counsel of an experienced Druid Hills criminal defense lawyer. Keep in mind that speaking to the police will not serve your interest. The police will be looking for you to stumble and divulge details about the crime. Anything you say can be used against you.
No matter how nice and friendly they sound, and say they want to “help you” – they can legally lie to you if it will lead to a confession. You must be assertive and defend your constitutional right to remain silent. Remember this line: “I don’t wish to speak to you and where’s my attorney.”
Always ask to speak with your lawyer first. When you do this, the police are legally mandated to stop questioning you without having legal counsel present. Talking to the cops or prosecutor or making a plea deal without the aid of a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer may end up costing you your freedom.
What Is the Habitual Offender Law?
In Georgia, the habitual offender law provides a judge with the power to hand down a harsher punishment to repeat violators. A habitual offender is anybody who has been detained and imprisoned in the U.S. for three felony offenses within the last 5 years.
How Can a Druid Hills Criminal Defense Attorney Help Me?
The importance of having an experienced criminal defense attorney when facing a criminal charge can not be overstated. It is crucial that you get a lawyer involved as soon as you realize that you are being investigated for a crime or as soon as you are arrested.
Here’s how a criminal defense attorney can help your case:
After a case review, our Druid Hills criminal defense lawyers at SHElaw firm® will provide you with the legal guidance and expertise you require to build a strong defense case. We will conduct an independent investigation into the crime and collect witness statements.
We work alongside experts to examine the evidence, police reports, witness accounts, and other evidence. There are strict rules in place regarding police searches and collecting and handling of evidence, and we will challenge evidence if any of these rules weren’t followed.
There are instances when taking a plea bargain can be the best course. At the SHElaw firm®, we are skilled negotiators and will work in liaison with the prosecution to reach a plea bargain. We will advise you about whether going to trial or accepting a plea bargain is a better strategy depending on the details of your case.
Ability to Predict a Case Outcome
After conducting a comprehensive case review, our experienced criminal defense attorneys will be in a position to predict which way the case will swing and give you the best plan of action. We will suggest the legal option that will be in your interest.
Knowledge of Law & Court Rules
Georgia’s criminal justice system is as complex as it is strict. Our defense team at SHElaw firm® is conversant with the laws and court rules and will navigate you through the proceedings smoothly. We are aware of all the court procedures and understand how prosecutors and judges operate.
Our defense lawyers are ready to proceed to trial if it comes down to it. We are expert trial lawyers and will fight aggressively to secure your freedom.
Should I Hire a Private Lawyer or Choose a Court-Appointed Lawyer?
When you get arrested, you’re told that if you cannot afford to hire an attorney, one will be provided for you by the State. These court-appointed attorneys usually deal with many cases at once and won’t be dedicated to helping you win the case.
A private attorney who is dealing with far fewer clients will be able to dedicate more time and resources to your case, giving you a better chance of success in the case.
A private attorney also has access to better and more resources that can help in your case. They will also be able to offer you more support and personalized service giving you a better overall experience.
Should I Accept a Plea Bargain?
Whether or not it’s prudent to take a plea bargain depends on the exact circumstances of your criminal case. If there is strong evidence against you, going to court may mean a certain conviction. We will review your case to establish if accepting a plea bargain will be in your interest.
Can I Appeal a Conviction in Georgia?
Yes, you can. If you believe your conviction was unfair, you can take action to appeal that ruling. You will need to file an appeal with the Georgia Court of Appeals. For a murder case, you will need to file an appeal with the Georgia Supreme Court. This should be done within 30 days of the judgment becoming final.
We at the SHElaw firm® know how to navigate the criminal appeals process.
Enlist Skilled Druid Hills Criminal Defense Attorneys to Fight for Your Freedom!
We at the SHElaw firm® have helped thousands of people avoid the life-altering repercussions associated with a criminal conviction. We had had tremendous success getting lessened sentences and acquittals for our clients. If you’ve been investigated, detained, or charged with a criminal offense in Druid Hills, GA, time is not on your side.
Contact our seasoned criminal defense lawyers at SHElaw firm® right away at 470-378-1162 for a free consultation.