As a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer, I think it is important for Georgians to understand the tools defense attorneys use to defend their clients. Every so often, I will focus a post on one of the common Georgia Criminal Defenses so that my readers can better understand what their options are.
Today, I'd like to focus on the defense of Lesser Included Offenses in Georgia. In order to obtain a lesser sentence for a defendant, if it makes sense for the particular case, an attorney will prove that he or she should be convicted of a lesser included offense. This can be a very difficult defense to use, and it takes a talented Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney to utilize it properly.
How is the defense of Lesser Included Offenses defined by Georgia Law?
The Georgia Code defines the defense of Lesser Included Offenses by stating two different ways that the defense is used properly.
- 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.
- 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.
Examples of Lesser Included Offenses:
- Arson in Georgia to Criminal Damage to Property in Georgia
- Aggravated Assault in Georgia to Assault in Georgia
- Murder in Georgia to Voluntary Manslaughter in Georgia
- Burglary in Georgia to Theft by Taking in Georgia
- Armed Robbery in Georgia to Robbery in Georgia
Practice Note: Applying the Defense
Proving that the defendant can be convicted of a lesser-included offense can be a matter of law or as a matter of fact.
The defense is a matter of law if the lesser offense contains the same, but fewer, elements as the greater offense.
The defense is a matter of fact if the evidence establishes that some lesser offenses may have been all that was committed.
All Georgia Criminal Defenses are best left up to a practicing criminal defense lawyer. Lesser Included Offenses is nearly impossible to raise on your own for your case. That is one of the reasons it is so important to hire proper legal representation to help you with your case.
Contact us today - our lawyers decades of criminal defense experience, and we are ready to help you with your case and defend your freedom.