Abandonment of Effort to Commit a Crime in Georgia
In criminal cases, an affirmative defense is a legal excuse for having committed a crime. When an affirmative defense is used, the defendant is basically admitting that they committed the crime they are accused of, but there is an explanation or justification for the incident. Numerous affirmative defenses that can be argued, and if successful, they can help reduce the defendant's legal liability. One such defense is the abandonment of effort to commit a crime. Your Attorney can use this defense to try and get the charges dropped or a lower sentence. Lawson and Berry and their team of Georgia Criminal Defense Attorneys have over 50 years of combined experience and are very familiar with this affirmative defense. Your future is at stake, and you need a Lawyer who is trained in defense work. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.
Georgia Law O.C.G.A. §16-4-5 outlines this defense:
When a person abandons his effort to commit the crime or in any other manner prevents the commission of the crime under the circumstances manifesting a voluntary and complete renunciation of his criminal purpose, it is considered an abandonment of effort.
However, a renunciation of criminal purpose is not considered voluntary and complete if it results from:
- A belief that there is an increased probability of detection or apprehension or that would render the criminal purpose more difficult; or
- A decision to postpone the criminal conduct until another time.
The Court will not find that there was an abandonment of effort where the defendant deserted the crime because they thought they were probably going to get caught or something happened that made committing the crime more difficult. Furthermore, even if they decided not to commit the crime then but still planned to do it in the future, that does not constitute abandonment.
The defendant bears the burden of proving there was a renunciation of criminal purpose. Cowart v. State, 136 Ga. App. 528, (1975). What this means is that the accused and their Attorney must present evidence demonstrating that they withdrew from the criminal act before it was committed and it was not for one of the two reasons explicitly stated in the statute.
Georgia Case Law on Abandonment of Effort
A case where the accused was not found to have appropriately abandoned the crime can be found in Muse v. State. 323 Ga. App. 779, (2013). The suspect was accused of attempted child molestation. He argued that the evidence shows that he adequately abandoned the crime. However, the Court found that while the accused did leave the motel parking lot, he did it because he viewed the task force agents in the parking lot wearing identifying t-shirts. Also, he left at a high rate of speed in an attempt to flee. Therefore, the Court found that the suspect's abandonment was because of a belief that he was going to be apprehended and therefore, it was not a voluntary abandonment. Therefore, he was convicted of attempted child molestation.
The Office of Lawson and Berry and their team of Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyers are ready to help you with your case. Your best defense starts at the very beginning. Don't wait to contact a Georgia Attorney because your future is at stake. Moreover, the affirmative defense of abandonment of effort must be stated at the very beginning or else the Court deems that you have waived that defense. Don't let a mistake like that jeopardize your case! Contact us today.