Have you Been Charged with Assisted Suicide in Georgia?
Assisted suicide is also known as physician-assisted suicide. There are assisted suicide laws around the world, and the laws greatly vary. Many people feel that suicide and assisted suicide are expressions of an individual's right to die in a manner and at a time of their choosing. Arguments in favor of assisted suicide claim that it can help solve the pain and distress of the dying process.
In the United States, states have the power to regulate, allow, or prohibited assisted suicide. Six states have legalized physician-assisted suicide: California, Colorado, Montana, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and Washington DC. On the other hand, 37 states have laws prohibiting assisted suicide including Georgia.
It is vital to understand the laws of the state the assisted suicide was committed in order to discover how to best defend against the charges. The Offices of Lawson and Berry and their team of Georgia Assisted Suicide Attorneys have over 50 combined years of experience in criminal law.
Georgia Law on Assisted Suicide
Georgia law defines suicide as the intentional and willful termination of one's life.
O.C.G.A. § 16-5-5 states any person with actual knowledge that another intends to commit suicide who knowingly and willfully assists such person in the commission of such person's suicide.
Georgia law defines assists as the act of physically helping or physically providing the means.
What Has to be Proven for a Conviction
To be convicted of assisted suicide in Georgia, the State must demonstrate that the suspect is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This involves showing that the defendant knowingly and willfully aided victim with their suicide.
Penalty for Assisted Suicide in Georgia
A person convicted of assisted suicide in Georgia will be guilty of a felony and will face a sentence of one to ten years in jail.
Furthermore, if the accused is a health care provider, and they are convicted, within ten days they shall notify in writing the applicable licensing board that oversees their occupation. After being notified, the appropriate licensing board shall revoke the license, certification, registration, or other authorization.
Defenses to Assisted Suicide
Medication was administered properly: If a patient agreed to take certain medications or undergo a medical procedure and it had the effect of hastening or increasing the risk of death, that may be a defense. The defense would have to prove that the actions taken were calculated or intended to relieve the patient's pain or discomfort and not to cause the patient's death.
The patient refused to take medication, eat, or drink: A person who discontinued of their own will from taking medicine, undergoing a medical procedure, eating, or drinking will not be considered assisted suicide.
Lack of knowledge or willingness to assist: If no evidence can be presented that demonstrates the suspect knowingly and willfully assisted the person with their suicide, then they cannot be guilty.
What are not Defenses
The patient consented: Even if the patient requested, it is illegal to knowingly and willfully assist them with committing suicide.
When you or a loved one is charged with a crime, it can be overwhelming and frightening. People automatically assume you are guilty no matter what. Here at the Office of Lawson and Berry we never assume you are guilty. We will work nonstop to make sure your rights are protected and that you get the best defense possible. Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation. We are free 24/7 including nights, holidays, and weekends.