Have you Been Charged with Feticide in Georgia?
Many crimes automatically receive negative reactions and hostility when discussed. Feticide is one of such offenses. If you or a loved one have been charged with feticide, Lawson and Berry and their team of Georgia Criminal Defense Attorneys will listen to your story without judgment and will seek to help you. Our Lawyers have years of experience in criminal law and will build the best defense possible for your case. Contact us today for a free consultation.
A person commits the offense of feticide if he or she willfully and without legal justification causes the death of an unborn child by any injury to the mother of such child, which would be murder if it resulted in the death of such mother, or if he or she, when in the commission of a felony, causes the death of an unborn child.
Under Georgia law, an unborn child means a member of the species homo sapiens at any stage of development who is carried in the womb. O.C.G.A. §16-5-29.
Georgia Case Law on Feticide
Many people recognize the case of Laci Peterson who was pregnant with a child when her husband Scott Peterson committed murder of her and the unborn child. Scott Peterson was charged and convicted of double homicide; one count of homicide for the death of Laci Peterson and one count of feticide for the death of the unborn child. Scott Peterson is currently serving his sentence for the murders and is currently on death row in California.
Penalty for A Feticide Conviction
A person convicted of the offense of feticide shall be punished by life in prison.
Defenses in Georgia
Lack of Intent: Proving that you did not have the intention to injure the mother will be a complete defense to this crime. You can work with one of our experienced Attorneys to develop this argument and present evidence that shows you did not have the intent to commit the charged offense.
It was an accident: If the incident was an accident, then you could have a defense to this crime. An example would be if you were falling and could not control your arms and you pushed a pregnant woman down the stairs. Your Attorney will examine every detail of your case to help establish this argument if it applies to you.
There was not physical harm: If no injury resulted from the feticide, then you cannot be guilty of the crime. Any evidence that no harm or injury occurred the mother would be greatly beneficial to your case.
There was legal justification: As stated in the statute, if you had justification for attempting to inflict serious injury, then you cannot be guilty of feticide.
Abortion: If a pregnant woman consents to an abortion, then this statute does not apply, and there is no crime.
Medical Treatment: If a pregnant woman sought medical treatment for herself or the unborn child, then the Statute does not apply to that treatment and therefore there was no crime.
What Does Not Constitute a Defense
It was for religious reasons: Religion, ritual, custom, or usual practice reasons will be adequate defenses. The Court will not accept them. Therefore, you will be found guilty of feticide.
The child has a disability or would have been born with medical complications: This is not a defense. Regardless of the health status of the unborn child, injuring a female while pregnant that results in the death of the child will result in a charge of feticide.
It was my own child: Intentionally taking the life of your own unborn child whether you are the mother or father is not a defense to convicted of Feticide.
The child was too young to live outside of the womb: In Georgia, the criminal statute uses the wording, “at any stage of development who is carried in the womb.” Although other states outside of Georgia require the unborn child to be a particular progression in the womb, Georgia law does not decipher the difference.
Having knowledgeable representation is of up the utmost importance when facing a criminal charge. Your Georgia Feticide Attorney will investigate all the details surrounding your case and evaluate your options. We are available anytime – even nights and weekends. Your case is important to us. Lawson and Berry and their team of Lawyers will work with you to fight your charge and avoid a conviction. Call today and schedule a free consultation.