Georgia Criminal Defense Blog

Analysis of the Defense of Abandonment in Georgia

Posted by Richard Lawson | May 13, 2018 | 0 Comments

As a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer, I find it important to explain some of the Georgia Criminal Defenses that are available to people who have been accused of committing criminal offenses in Georgia. 

There are negating defenses such as Alibi in Georgia or Impossibility in Georgia, and then there are affirmative defenses. 

A negating defense disproves an element of the crime that is essential for conviction. 

Today, I'd like to explain the affirmative defense of abandonment of effort to commit a crime in Georgia.

First, What is an Affirmative Defense?

An affirmative defense is essentially a legal excuse for committing a crime. It means the accused person is admitting to actually committing the crime that he or she is being accused of, but with that admission, there is a justification for the commission of the crime. 

Essentially, an affirmative defense is an explanation as to why someone has committed a criminal offense. 

Having, using, and successfully proving an affirmative defense can defeat or at the very least mitigate the legal consequences or penalties of the accused person's otherwise unlawful conduct/actions.

What is Abandonment of Effort to Commit a Crime?

Georgia Law defines Abandonment of Effort to Commit a Crime in Georgia as:

“When a person's conduct would otherwise constitute an attempt to commit a crime under Code Section 16-4-1, it is an affirmative defense that he abandoned his effort to commit the crime or in any other manner prevented its commission under circumstances manifesting a voluntary and complete renunciation of his criminal purpose.” O.C.G.A. §16-4-5. 

What does the Law mean by Voluntary and Complete Renunciation?

The statute, O.C.G.A. §16-4-5, goes further to state what is meant by “voluntary and complete renunciation.”


“A renunciation of criminal purpose is not voluntary if it results from:

A belief that circumstances exist which increase the probability of detection or apprehension of the person or which render more difficult the accomplishment of the criminal purpose.”

Voluntary means that you willingly and of your own accord gave up the attempt to commit the crime. This means that you cannot give up committing crime because you thought you were about to get caught. It also means that you cannot give up committing the crime because something as occurred that has hindered or slowed your ability to accomplish the crime.


“A renunciation of criminal purpose is not voluntary if it results from:

A decision to postpone the criminal conduct until another time.”

This explanation is a little simpler. It means that you have to fully give up your attempt to commit the crime at hand. It cannot be merely pushing your plans to commit the crime to a later date.

Georgia Criminal Defenses are complicated and should not be applied in an attempt to defend your own case without representation. If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime, contact a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer today.

About the Author

Richard Lawson

Managing Partner at Lawson & Berry:


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