Georgia Criminal Defense Blog

Common Georgia Criminal Defenses

Posted by Richard Lawson | Jul 08, 2018 | 0 Comments

Practicing and specializing in Georgia Criminal Defense has allowed me plenty of experience with defending crimes in Georgia.  Just because someone has been accused of a crime does not mean that they are guilty of committing that crime. There is a number of criminal defenses that might apply to any particular case.

Today, as a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer, I will focus on three of the most commonly known defenses in Georgia.

Defense of Abandonment 

Georgia law defines abandonment of effort to commit a crime in Georgia as:

“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.” O.C.G.A. §16-4-5.

In order to correctly apply this defense, an attorney must show through evidence that the accused person withdrew from a criminal act before it was actually committed. 

The abandonment to commit a crime will not count if the motivation to abandon was because they thought they were going to get caught or because something occurred that made the crime more difficult to commit.

Defense of Lesser Included Offenses

The Georgia Code defines the defense of lesser included offenses in Georgia as:

“An accused may be convicted of a crime included in a crime charged in the indictment or accusation. A crime is so included when: (1) It is established by proof of the same or less than all the facts or a less culpable mental state than is required to establish the commission of the crime charged; or (2) It differs from the crime charged only in the respect that a less serious injury or risk of injury to the same person, property, or public interest or a lesser kind of culpability suffices to establish its commission.O.C.G.A §16-1-6.

There are two approaches to a lesser included offenses strategy in Georgia. The first is a matter of law meaning that the lesser offense contains the same elements as the greater offense - just fewer. The second is a matter of fact meaning that evidence demonstrates that lesser offenses were all that were actually committed.  

Some examples include: Georgia Arson to Georgia Criminal Damage to Property; Georgia DUI to Georgia Reckless Conduct; Georgia Aggravated Battery to Georgia Battery.

Defense of Mistake

The Georgia Code defines mistake of fact in Georgia as:

“A person shall not be found guilty of a crime if the act or omission to act constituting the crime was induced by a misapprehension of fact which, if true, would have justified the act or omission.” O.C.G.A. §16-3-5.

In order to correctly apply this defense, an attorney must show that the accused person did not have the requisite mental state due to unawareness or ignorance. 

The mistake of fact will not count if the accused person's ignorance is due to their own fault or negligence.

Practice Note

In today's post, I only outlined three Criminal Defenses in Georgia - there are many that may apply to your particular case. My purpose is to show people who have been accused of crimes that there are options. Now, these options are only to be utilized by a legal professional. No one should attempt to use any of these defenses to defend themselves in their own case. 

If you or a loved one has been accused of a crime in Georgia, contact a Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney today.

About the Author

Richard Lawson

Managing Partner at Lawson & Berry:


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