Felony Charges in Atlanta
Felony offenses are crimes that are deemed more harmful to the public than misdemeanors and therefore carry stiffer penalties. These include home invasions, home robberies, possession of seriously dangerous Schedule 1 drugs, possession of large quantities of drugs, and other activities that the legislature wants to deter to keep communities safe by making the punishment for these crimes severe. Therefore, if you have been accused of a felony offense it is important to take your charge as seriously as possible and consult with an Atlanta felony lawyer as soon as possible. An experienced defense attorney in Atlanta will be able to prepare you for what you are about to face, and build you the strongest defense possible based on the facts and circumstances involved in your case.
Penalties for Felony Convictions
Sentences for felony charges go from no less than one year up to life. Felonies include a wide range of offenses from the possession of certain narcotics, sexual crimes, gun crimes, and crimes against people such as aggravated assaults, battery, and aggravated battery. The more serious felonies could carry fines, extensive jail time, and other requirements that, when violated, are considered more serious by the Georgia legislature.
As a result of this severity, is important to have an Atlanta felony lawyer who is experienced with misdemeanors and felonies because often it is possible to negotiate a reduction of the felony charge to a misdemeanor charge. An experienced lawyer knows how to have the case dismissed because of defects in the indictment.
Non-violent felonies are taken very seriously by District Attorney’s office in the state of Georgia. Violence is not required to send someone to a prison or jail time. Many non-violent felonies carry significant time behind bars. It is important to know the prosecutor and solicitor general. It is important that a person’s attorney knows the judge and guides the person through the process to help them make the best decision about their non-violent felony, whether it is a drug charge or a gun charge, fraud, or non-violent sexual crimes.
Non-violent felonies can carry stiff penalties and it is important that a person knows their options. It is important to build the best defense possible and as early as possible when someone faces serious non-violent felony charges in Georgia.
Difference Between Felony and Misdemeanor Offenses
The key difference between felony and misdemeanor cases is that in felony cases you can be sentenced to more than a year in jail and more than $1,000 fines. Additionally, in all felony cases in Georgia you have the right to have a trial in front of a 12-member jury while in a misdemeanor case you do not always have that right.
With that said, in both types of cases in order to be found guilty, the judge or jury who’s hearing that case must become convinced that the evidence is sufficient to prove each and every element of the crime charged beyond a doubt that’s reasonable.
The most common felonies that Atlanta felony lawyers see in Atlanta are:
- Possession of prescription medications,
- Prescription of illegal drugs especially heroin and methamphetamines,
- Armed robbery,
- And murder.
Additionally, defense attorneys in Atlanta also see felony vehicular homicide charged quite often. Felony vehicular homicide is causing the death of another human being while driving a car recklessly or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
What To Look For In An Attorney
The most important factor when looking for a felony attorney in Atlanta is whether or not that attorney has handled felony jury trials before. A phenomenon we saw in the late 1990’s and early part of this century was that as the dot-com bubble crashed and the real estate bubble crashed, we saw lots of attorneys losing their jobs with large law firms or other corporations and having to look for work, causing them to look for work was in criminal defense.
The problem is that without the intimate knowledge of the Georgia criminal laws, these attorneys found about the only thing they could do was half-heartedly negotiate a guilty plea for their clients. Therefore, we saw lots of attorneys hitting the marketplace charging low fees and very quickly turning cases over by pleading people guilty. It’s a major problem.
For this reason if you are charged with a felony you should know how many felony cases the attorney has previously done, whether they have litigated cases at trial in front of a jury, and whether they are familiar with the Georgia criminal code. If your life and your freedom are important to you, you don’t want to use an attorney that does not take cases to trial.