Dealing with legal issues is never a walk in the park, but we can all agree that facing a criminal charge is one of the most distressing experiences. Being convicted as a crime can have devastating effects on your personal and professional life, finances, and freedom. You could face hefty fines and jail time, lose certain rights and diminish your chances of being employed in the future.
With the knowledge of what is on the line, you need to give it your all to fight the case and this includes hiring an experienced North Decatur criminal defense attorney. An excellent legal representative can help you avoid being formally charged. However, if you have already been formally charged, the lawyer can also help have the case dismissed, get a not guilty verdict, or reduce the repercussions of a conviction.
The team at SHElaw firm® is dedicated to providing top-of-the-line defense to those who have faced accusations or charges of all sorts of crimes including white collar crimes, drug crimes, violent crimes, sex crimes, traffic violations, probation violations, etc.
What Are Your Rights as a Criminal Defendant in Georgia?
As a criminal defendant in the state of Georgia, you have an array of rights provided by the United States Constitution. Your rights as a criminal defendant in Georgia are found in the following Amendments:
The 4th Amendment
The 4th Amendment prevents the authorities from conducting unjustified seizures and unwarranted searches. It states that law enforcement needs probable cause to stop you in the place and do an unwarranted search. They are required to get a warrant from a judge before doing any search or seizure. The fourth amendment also stipulates that evidence gathered in illegal ways cannot be used in court.
The 5th Amendment
The 5th Amendment contains an array of paramount protections for those charged with crimes. These include:
- The right to remain silent i.e. protection against self-incrimination
- Protection against double jeopardy. This implies being prosecuted twice for the same charge.
- The right to a jury trial
- The right to a fair trial
The 6th Amendment
According to the 6th Amendment, criminal defendants have the right to be told about the charges made against them. It also provides the right of a public trial with no trials. The amendment also guarantees defendants the right to be made aware of the accusing party and confront them.
The sixth amendment also provides the right to use a lawyer. For those who cannot afford one, the court is mandated to provide one. The prosecution is also necessitated to showcase any evidence against you that will be given to the judge or jury. This means that any evidence brought up in court by the prosecutors, that was not mentioned prior goes against this Amendment.
The 8th Amendment
This amendment stipulates the right to post bail and protects the defendant against excessive fines or bail amounts and also uncalled for or cruel punishment. The 8th amendment prohibits the judge and jury from giving out unusual punishments based on prejudices or personal feelings towards the defendant.
What’s a Misdemeanor vs a Felony in GA?
Crimes in the state of Georgia vary depending on the degree of offense and the circumstances regarding the crime. Crime in Georgia can be classified into either a misdemeanor or felony.
The former is a less severe crime compared to the latter and carries less serious repercussions. According to Georgia statute O.C.G.A 17.10.3, misdemeanors are crimes punishable by a jail time not exceeding one year, a fine not exceeding $1000, or both.
If you’re convicted of a misdemeanor and are required to serve time, you’ll have to do so in a city or county jail. Examples of misdemeanor crimes include DUI, public intoxication, theft of items worth less than $500, and possession of less than an ounce of marijuana.
Note that there are more severe misdemeanors, referred to as misdemeanors of a high aggravated nature. Examples include aggressive driving, battery against a pregnant woman, trying to run from a police officer, and a third DUI conviction.
Felony in Georgia is a crime punishable by a prison sentence of not less than one year, by life imprisonment, or by death. The state of Georgia, unlike other states, does not group felony crimes into classifications, but rather has statutes that dictate the maximum penalty depending on the crime. Some crimes have higher penalties such as mandatory sentences.
Examples of penalties for felonies include:
- Five-year felony – obstructing a police officer, sexual battery of a minor
- Ten-year felony – aggravated stalking, theft through extortion
- Life imprisonment – kidnapping for ransom, 2nd-degree murder, forcible rape
- Death penalty – hijacking an airplane, treason, 1st-degree murder
Should I Speak to a Lawyer Before Talking to the Police?
According to the 5th amendment, you have protection from self-incrimination while arrested. The authorities cannot force you to provide details regarding the crime you have been charged for. As such, it is advisable to leverage this right until you have consulted a lawyer. After all, anything you say, can and will be used against you in a court of law.
So, only speak to the authorities under the direction of an experienced North Decatur criminal defense attorney.
What’s the Habitual Offender Law?
This is a law that gives the judge the ability to give more severe punishments to repeat offenders. A habitual or repeat offender is a person who has been convicted of at least 3 major offenses in the last 5 years. These individuals are deemed to be a danger to society and the judge is mandated to modify the punishment depending on their past convictions.
How Can a North Decatur Criminal Defense Attorney Help You?
Being charged with a crime is no joke. Even a misdemeanor can have a huge effect on both your professional and personal life including the loss of employment chances and federal financial aid. The team at SHElaw firm® will help fight the charge through the following means:
A lawyer will first go through the specifics of your case and give you legal advice and guidance. Next, they will conduct a thorough investigation into the charge, gathering all the necessary evidence in order to create a solid defense on your behalf. This includes working with experts in relevant fields and interviewing witnesses.
Depending on the evidence against you, taking a plea bargain may be the best route. The lawyer will be able to tell if you stand a chance if you go to trial. Plea bargains usually lead to reduced punishments, less jail time and sometimes no time served in prison.
In a plea deal, you’ll typically need to plead guilty to a lesser offense or a reduction in the number of offenses charged in case of multiple offenses.
Ability to Predict a Case Outcome
Through a thorough evaluation of your case, our seasoned criminal defense lawyers will be able to gauge the most probable result in your case and suggest the best course of action. They will advise whether it is best to take the case to court or to take a plea deal.
Law and Court Rules Knowledge
The lawyers at SHElaw firm® are familiar with all aspects of the criminal justice system in Georgia. We have a clear understanding of the current laws and court procedures. We’ll be able to identify any loopholes and infringements that can lead to the dismissal of your case.
Our team has extensive experience in criminal law and we have helped numerous clients beat their cases and save their freedom.
Should I Hire a Private Lawyer or Choose a Court-Appointed Lawyer?
Court-appointed lawyers are tasked with representing defendants who cannot afford to hire a lawyer. As such, they tend to be overworked and juggle many cases at once. This means they will hardly fully commit to your case.
Private lawyers, on the contrary, only deal with a few cases at once, allowing them to dedicate more time and resources to your case. So, if you want to increase your chances of winning, hire a private attorney.
Should I Accept a Plea Bargain?
Whether you should accept a plea bargain depends on the specific circumstances surrounding your case. The lawyers at SHElaw firm® will do a thorough evaluation of your case and give solid advice on the best way forward.
Can I Appeal a Conviction?
Being convicted of a crime does not mean things end there as you have the right to appeal the conviction. If you find the ruling unfair, you can appeal a murder case to the Supreme Court of Georgia and other criminal cases to the Court of Appeals.
Hire the Best Criminal Defense Lawyer in North Decatur!
A criminal conviction can have extreme effects on your life. As such, it is important that you have the best legal representation. The team at SHElaw firm® is available 24/7 and all you have to do is call us at 470-378-1162 for a free case evaluation and consultation!