Conviction for Lesser Included Offenses

Lesser Included Offenses in Georgia

One tool that Attorneys utilize in order to obtain a lesser sentence for the defendant is to prove that the defendant should be convicted of a lesser included offense. The outcome of that argument is generally a lesser punishment, so it provides a more favorable outcome for the defendant. However, it takes an experienced Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer to accomplish this task. They don't just have to be familiar with criminal law but extremely knowledgeable. That's why you should call the Office of Lawson and Berry. Their team of Georgia Criminal Defense Attorneys has over 50 combined years of experience in criminal law. They know what the lesser included offenses for crimes are and how to help you prove that defense. Contact our offenses today.

What are Lesser Included Offenses in Georgia?

O.C.G.A §16-1-6 outlines two ways in which a crime can be a lesser included offense:

  • 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 charged crime; or
  • 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.

Proving that the defendant can be convicted of a lesser-included offense can be a matter of law or as a matter of fact. It is a matter of law if the lesser offense contains the same, but fewer, elements as the greater offense. It can be as a matter of fact if the evidence establishes that some lesser offenses may have been all that was committed. An example is that voluntary manslaughter is a lesser included offense of murder as a matter of law while reckless may be a lesser included offense of murder as a matter of fact.

Under the statute, a defendant can be charged with two crimes based on the same conduct. However, they cannot be convicted of both crimes if one crime is included in the other. Padgett v. State, 205 Ga. App. 576, (1992).

Examples of Lesser Included Offenses in Georgia

Here is a chart of some of the lesser included offenses for the crime shown. This is not an exhaustive list nor does it include every crime. These are just some examples:


Criminal Damage to Property

Criminal Trespass

Aggravated Assault

Simple Assault

Reckless Conduct


Simple Battery


Theft by taking

Drugs- Sale, Trafficking, or Possession with Intent to Sell



Reckless Conduct


Voluntary Manslaughter

Reckless Conduct


Theft by Taking

Case Law

One case where the defendant argued that he should be convicted of the lesser included offense instead of the greater offense was in Patterson v. State. 332 Ga. App. 221, (2015). The defendant was driving a van and struck and injured the victim. He was charged with aggravated assault but he argued that he should be charged with reckless conduct instead. However, the Court found that the offense of reckless conduct did not apply to his case because reckless conduct requires a less culpable mental state than what was required to establish the commission of aggravated assault. Therefore, he was convicted of aggravated assault.  

A case in which the accused was successful in obtaining a lesser included offense can be found in Guevara v. State. 151 Ga. App. 444, (1979). In this case, the defendant was charged with aggravated assault but argued that he be charged with simple battery as a lesser included offense. Because the assault was not committed with a deadly weapon, which is required for aggravated assault, a charge of simple battery was justified. Therefore, evidence that the accused used his fist and hands in striking the victim supported a conviction of simple battery as a lesser included offense of aggravated assault. 

Contact Us

Lesser included offenses can be a confusing defense to bring up on your own. That is one of the reasons it is so important to hire legal representation to help you with your case. Contact our offices today to schedule a free case evaluation. The Office of Lawson and Berry has decades of criminal experience, and their team of Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyers are ready to help you!

Contact Us Today for Immediate Help

The time is now to start preparing your defense! Many times people lose the opportunity to put on their best defense because they wait. The importance of hiring a lawyer from the very beginning cannot be overstated! Waiting allows for witnesses to leave the area, evidence to be lost, and memories to fade. All of these have a direct effect on the successful on your case. The time to begin your case and start prepping your defense is now! Contact us today to put on your best Georgia criminal defense!