High Powered Representation & Personalized Service
When facing a criminal charge, you stand to lose your freedom, liberty, and personal assets. The stakes are far too high to leave your criminal defense representation to just any Georgia criminal lawyer. At the Law Office of Lawson and Berry, there is virtually no criminal case we cannot handle. Beyond our 50 combined years of experience, we have worked all across the state of Georgia and we bring a strong team to your defense!
Being arrested and charged with a crime can be a horrifying and humiliating experience. The effects could derail your life and career, and all you want is for it to go away. Therefore, you should get the most experienced Georgia Criminal Defense Attorneys on your side now! Law enforcement doesn't always conduct a complete investigation, and they may not be open to the possibility that you are not guilty. That is why we intervene on your behalf and communicate your innocence to both law enforcement and the prosecution. We can defend you even before you case goes to the courtroom! Do not be intimidated by aggressive prosecutors trying to scare you into accepting a plea deal! Instead, call a Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney with a proven track record and experience in courthouses throughout the state to fight the charges.
Why Lawson & Berry Make The Difference
Ignoring the fact that Lawson and Berry and their team of Georgia Criminal Defense Attorneys have over 50 combined years of experience, there are numerous other reasons why our office makes the different. First, we firmly believe that a strong defense does not begin in the courtroom but rather as soon as a potential client is charged with a crime and that is why we offer free case evaluations. However, most reputable criminal defense law firms offer a free initial consultation but what they don't tell you is that you will be meeting with a case manager or administrator, not an actual attorney that will be working on your case. Then after that, the attorney just supervises the case manager and does not do the detailed work on the case. The Offices of Lawson and Berry handle our criminal cases very differently. We believe that a licensed Attorney experienced in criminal defense should deal with your case at every stage. We do not allow any inexperienced people to work on your case. More importantly, when coming into our office, you will be matched with a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer who will cooperate with you and provide regular updates on your case.
We work directly with every client through each stage of a criminal case. We combine our trial skills, negotiation tactics, and detailed familiarity with the community that might stand between you and a criminal conviction in Georgia. To help us understand your goals better, we ask what the most important things are to you. For example:
- Do you want to avoid jail time?
- Do you want to keep your record clean?
- Do you need the case resolved quickly?
- Do you want a lower fine?
After you have ranked these desires in order of important to you, then our Georgia Defense Attorneys can begin to work out the best defense strategy based on your wishes.
To Start With, What is a Crime?
We hear about crime all the time. We see it in television shows, hear about it on the radio, and read about it in the newspaper. The daily exposure we get to crime can tend to make us think we understand it, but do we really? What actually is a crime?
Some actions are definitely crimes without you having to think twice. Some examples of this are murder, kidnapping, stealing a car, and burglary. However, did you know that rolling a stop sign is considered a crime? How about cutting across a field that says no trespassing? Or lying to a police officer about your name? Some of these are not deeds that we generally consider crimes. They aren't the hot ticket crimes we see all the time. However, this does not make them any less of a crime or any less punishable. People who commit these crimes might be arrested or even convicted. They may be required to pay a fine, perform community service, or serve time in jail.
Every state has a code or statute that defines and describes every act that is considered a crime. In Georgia, these definitions are contained in the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.). Crimes can be found in Title 16. There any many crimes that are universal no matter what state you are in or sometimes what country you are in. However, there are some crimes that may not be considered a crime in other states. It does not matter if you live in Georgia or are just visiting, while in Georgia, you must abide by our laws. The argument “but I didn't know it was a crime in Georgia because it isn't where I live” does not apply and will not be accepted by a judge. Furthermore, even if states have the same crime, they may have different requirements. An example is burglary. Georgia defines the crime of burglary different from other states.
The Georgia Code on crimes can be found here.
What Are Your Rights When Charged with a Crime?
If you are arrested for a crime, you automatically become subject to the criminal justice system. While many people disagree with the system and try to fight it, Georgia follows the rules already set out, and unless there has been a violation of the laws, by entering Georgia, you implicitly agreed to these rules. The criminal justice process starts when a person is suspected of committing a crime and is arrested and ends upon the final disposition of the case. There are numerous steps in between such as arraignment, trial, hearings, formal arrest, and indictments.
Many people are under the misconception that you do not have any rights when you are arrested. However, this is false. United States Citizens have constitutional protections that dictate how they should be treated when arrested. One of these protections is due process as stated in the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Another protection is that people cannot be charged with the same crime twice. This is called double jeopardy. One safeguard that people are familiar with is the right to an attorney. The list of protections goes on but what you need to understand is that your Attorney must make sure all of your rights are being protected and if not, to bring up these concerns to the Court.
Understanding Criminal Defenses
There are a multitude of arguments that can be applied to your case. Every case is unique, and there is no one generic defense that is guaranteed to obtain you an acquittal. You need an attorney that knows how to analyze the law and make it work for you. Someone who is familiar with the court system and what arguments judges like and which ones they disagree with. In addition, what worked for one person's case may not work for your case. The criminal justice system is not a one size fits all, but varies according to the intricacies of each case. It can be overwhelming to try and develop defenses on your own. Let an experienced Criminal Defense Attorney help you today!
Frequently Asked Questions About Criminal Law
What is the Difference Between a Misdemeanor and a Felony?
The main difference between a misdemeanor and a felony is the severity of the crime. Less serious or minor offenses are classified as misdemeanors. Some examples include public intoxication, public indecency, littering, speeding, trespassing, and petty theft. Misdemeanors are non-violent crimes and are a type of mistake that anyone can make. The maximum penalty for a misdemeanor conviction in Georgia is a $1,000 fine and up to 12 months in jail. However, a conviction for a misdemeanor will remain on your record. Since it is not a conviction for a less severe crime, it does not have the effects that a felony conviction has. It can still affect obtaining employment or a loss of your driving privileges.
Georgia also has a category called high and aggravated misdemeanors. A conviction of this nature comes with a fine of up to $5,000 but the maximum jail period is still one year. The battery of a family member of an elderly person is an example of a misdemeanor of a high or aggravated nature.
Even though misdemeanors are less serious crimes, it does not mean you don't need experienced representation! They can still affect your future, and it is better to be safe than sorry.
On the other side, felonies are considered the most serious crimes. They are a crime that causes severe harm or damage to another person or property. Felonies generally include violence but do not have to. Some examples of felonies include robbery, rape, murder, kidnapping, possession of over one ounce of marijuana, and certain repeat DUI charges. The punishment for a felony conviction is usually years in prison along with a hefty fine. As described before, a felony conviction has substantial effects on your criminal record. It makes it difficult to obtain credit, housing, or employment with a felony conviction on your record. The consequences of a felony are far-reaching and long lasting.
Not all felonies or misdemeanors require mandatory prison sentences. Based on the crime and particular case the judge may choose to sentence you to probation instead of incarceration. If probation is issued, there will be certain conditions you must follow in order to satisfy your probation, and a violation of one of those conditions could put you back in prison.
Do I Need a Lawyer in My Criminal Case?
The short answer is Yes! The legal system is not intended for self-service. It can be complicated and overwhelming to someone not familiar with its intricacies. Lawyers help you navigate the system while forming the best possible case for your defense.
One way that an Attorney is useful is for negotiations. An experienced Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney knows what a prosecutor and judge are willing to agree to. They can be creative based on your case in working out a deal for reduction of criminal charges in return for community service, alcohol or drug treatment programs, anger management, or other options.
If negotiations fail and a plea agreement cannot be reached, then the case must move to trial. Going to trial can be terrifying to some defendants, and it is confusing to know how to proceed. An experienced trial Attorney is vital to your case. The key word there is experienced. There are many attorneys that do not like going to trial and will try anything to avoid it even if it is in your best interest. By fighting criminal cases in court, Attorneys can challenge the prosecution or their evidence against you by filing motions to suppress on the grounds of an illegal search, or for any other reason. Lawyers can question the witnesses the prosecution seeks to introduce and offer alternate theories for the situation. Furthermore, Attorneys can challenge the assumptions police officers made during the arrest and question how carefully they followed required police procedures.
How do I Select a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Georgia?
Being misled these days is easy. Websites, advertisements, television commercials can all be misleading. Therefore, we advise you to meticulously research the criminal attorney you are planning to work with. We offer some suggestions and pointers to keep in mind when searching for legal representation:
- Check out the lawyer's web page. Read what is written on the pages and pay attention to how it is written. Does the site actually give you helpful information or just quote the statute? Does it demonstrate that the attorney actually understands the subject or just knows how to quote the law? It is important to pay attention because you need a lawyer who not only knows the law but knows how to apply it to your case!
- Look up reviews or case results for the lawyer. Many lawyers have reviews on their website for you to review. If there are no reviews on the page, that may not be a good sign. Furthermore, numerous credible sources can help you understand how successful an attorney is. One of those sources is AVVO. AVVO provides profiles, client reviews, and peer endorsements for lawyers in the United States. They give lawyers a rating based on their analysis. Don't settle for anything less than a perfect score. Richard Lawson and Kimberly Berry have a score of 10.0.
- Take advantage of the free initial consultation. This experience will tell you a lot about the office and the attorney. Come prepared with questions regarding your case and how the attorney will handle the situation.
- Choose someone you trust and understand. It is crucial that you feel comfortable with your lawyer because you will have to be completely honest with them, even if it is awkward. They need to be someone you can easily talk to and someone you understand. Any lawyer can spout legal jargon but do you actually understand how they are going to handle your case?
Should I Just Plead Guilty?
You should never plead guilty without first consulting with an experienced Georgia criminal defense lawyer. In many cases, fighting your charges is the best way to get a positive result. Lots of people are overwhelmed by the legal process and the possibility of going to trial, but numerous cases are settled outside of court so do not let that fear scare you into making a big mistake!
Hiring an attorney helps ensure you receive fair treatment and that every possible defense is available to you! Don't just plead guilty without knowing all the facts! Even pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge can have significant consequences!
What Must be Proven to be Convicted of a Crime?
The burden of proof is on the prosecutor to prove the criminal charges against you beyond a reasonable doubt. All of the jurors must agree on a verdict. If the jurors believe there is at least some reason to think you may not have committed the crime, then they must acquit you.
Even if you are convicted, your case does not automatically end. You have the right to appeal the decision, and Georgia Criminal Defense Attorneys can help you every step of the way.
What is the Role of a Jury in a Criminal Case?
One of the main concerns of clients is how a jury will affect their case if they choose to go to court. The prosecutor's job is to present their case to the jury in hopes they will find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Having a jury does not guarantee the accused a fair or impartial trial. It just ensures that the jury will be made up of one's “peers” and hopefully a fair reflection of the community. The jury must unanimously agree on the guilty of the accused in order for there to be a conviction. If the jury can't agree, the case could end in a mistrial.
You have to discuss the benefits and cons of having a jury with your attorney. Before the trial date, the defendant gets to decide if they would like to have a jury trial or a bench trial. A jury trial is made up of 6 jurors for a misdemeanor and 12 jurors for a felony. A bench trial is simply in front of the judge.
What Are My Chances of Winning My Case if We Go to Trial?
This is a commonly asked question from clients. The answer depends on multiple factors. Some of the important factors or considerations that can affect your criminal case include:
- Evidence: The Court looks at all the evidence presented when going to trial. If there is a substantial amount of proof against you or that could harm your case, which is something to take into consideration. Evidence that can be presented at trial includes witnesses, DNA tests, expert opinions, audio or video clips, etc.
- How the Evidence was Obtained: If law enforcement agents illegally obtained evidence, then will not allow the evidence into court. It does not matter how damning the evidence is. It is was not obtained through legal means, then it cannot be admitted into court.
- Your Criminal Record: When deciding your punishment, the court does take your criminal history into account. If this is your first offense, the judge may be a little more lenient on you. However, if this is a subsequent offense for the same crime or for different crimes, judges may not think you have learned from your mistakes and order a harsher sentence.
- The Prosecutor/Judge on your case: Every prosecutor and judge is different, and some are more willing to go easy than others. That is one of the reasons it is important to hire someone familiar with the area, so they know what judges like or how to work with the prosecutors.
- THE ATTORNEY YOU HIRE: One of the most important considerations when going to trial is how comfortable your attorney is going to trial and how knowledgeable they are with trial. There are plenty of lawyers who do not like going to court and try to avoid it at all possible. They are not the type of lawyer you want working on your case! You must make sure your attorney is diligent and that they have negotiation skills.
What are the Steps in a Criminal Case? What Should I Expect?
Many people do not know what to expect when they get arrested and have many questions about their criminal charge and especially how a Lawyer is supposed to help them.
When the charge is for a crime considered a misdemeanor, the prosecutor will file an information, which is the official charging document describing the crime the state alleges that you committed.
Once information has been filed, you will have an arraignment on your Georgia criminal charges. At the arraignment, the judge will inform you of the charges ask for a plea of guilty or not guilty. If you have a criminal defenses Attorney, you likely won't have to say anything at the arraignment. If you do not have an attorney, the judge will appoint a public defender if you cannot afford then.
The next step is a hearing where the defendant first appears with their attorney. At this hearing, the judge generally sets a trial date and a plea deadline, which is the date by which the prosecutor and defendant must agree on conditions on a plea agreement if there is one.
Some cases never reach trial. The most common reason is because the prosecutor and defendant enter into a plea agreement. There is where the defendant will plead guilty to some or all of the charges instead of having to take the case to trial. If a plea agreement is entered, the judge will set a date where they will advise the defendant of their constitutional rights and confirm whether or not they consent to the plea agreement. One thing to note is that even if the judge accepts that the defendant pled guilty, they are not required to accept the terms of the plea agreement. Judges have the authority to reject a plea agreement.
If no agreement is reached, then the case proceeds to trial. The defendant and their attorney will choose whether to have a jury trial or a bench trial. A jury trial is made up of people from the community while a bench trial just has the judge. The length of the trial varies greatly. It could take a couple of hours or a few days or a few weeks to resolve the case based on the complexity of the case.
After all the evidence is presented, and the attorneys have given their closing arguments, the jury is dismissed to decide the case (if there is a jury). The verdict must be unanimous, and if the jury cannot agree, then it is deemed a mistrial, and the process will start over.
If the defendant is found not guilty, then the trial is complete, and the defendant is released.
If the jury finds the defendant guilty, then the judge will hold a sentencing hearing to determine the punishment. After the judge gives his sentence, the case is over unless the defendant decides to appeal.
Some Advice to Have a Successful Criminal Defense
- Be honest with your Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer. Your Attorney is bound by law and their ethical code to keep what you tell them confidential. That means you need to be forthright no matter how embarrassing the information may be. The more information you can give us and the more honest you can be, the better we can do our jobs.
- Don't repeat the mistake that you got arrested. Try to avoid getting arrested for the same mistake. A second arrest for the same or similar offense could make it very difficult to argue your innocence in either case, and if you are out on bail, the judge has the authority to deny you bail for a second arrest.
- Stay away from any witnesses or investigators. Do not have any contact with anyone involved in your criminal case. It is normal for people to want to explain what really happened but anything you say or do could be construed as a confession and could lead to more criminal charges. If you have any doubt about whether you should be talking to someone, contact your Attorney immediately.
- Contact your Lawyer if you have any questions.
Boating is a very popular activity in Georgia and similar to driving a vehicle, there are numerous crimes and punishments that are associated with boating.
It is illegal to operate any moving vessel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs to the extent that it makes it less safe for the person to do so.
Crimes associated with Boating include:
A conviction for crimes related to boating can be a misdemeanor or a felony offense with penalties ranging from simple fines to BUI courses. These crimes can have serious repercussions and affect your life for a very long time. Lawson and Berry and their team of Georgia Boating Attorneys are experts in DUI law and know how to fight for you. Some defenses they could argue on your behalf include but are not limited to:
- Faulty blood/chemical testing – i.e. the tests were not administered properly, or they were tainted from outside factors
- Arresting officer did not have probable cause to stop your vessel
- You were encouraged to answer questions after you had requested an attorney
Computer security crimes are on the newer side of crimes seeing how computers have not been around for very long compared to other crimes.
However, they are becoming more and more severe as personal information can easily be obtained over the Internet and people are affected by viruses on their computers every day.
- Email virus distribution
- Inducement to install, copy, or execute software through misrepresentation
- Use of spyware, browsers and other prohibited spyware
While this may be a newer crime, the penalties are substantial. A conviction for computer security crime carries fines that could be tens of thousands of dollars as well as significant prison time and possibly a restriction on computer usage in the future. That is why you need an experienced Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney. Some of the defenses they could use for your case include but are not limited to:
- Lack of knowledge that the program was prohibited
- Lack of intent to cause damage to a computer
- Permission to use the victim's computer
The news and social media are filled with stories every day after people hurting other people.
Whether it is shootings or fights, we see this all the time. However, most people are not aware of the severe consequences that come with a conviction for a violent crime. They can have a detrimental impact on someone's life. The suspect could spend years in prison as well as face significant fines and civil suits by the victim. Furthermore, a felony conviction can affect a defendant from finding employment, voting, and obtaining housing.
Some of the most commonly prosecuted crimes against people in Georgia are:
- Aggravated Assault
- Aggravated Battery
- Aggravated Stalking
- Assault on an Unborn Child
- Assisted Suicide
- Battery of an Unborn Child
- Cruelty to Children
- False Imprisonment
- Felony Murder
- Female Genital Mutilation
- Interference with Custody
- Involuntary Manslaughter
- Malicious Confinement of a Sane Person in an Asylum
- Reckless Abandonment
- Reckless Conduct
- Restraining Orders and Protective Orders
- Simple Battery
- Trafficking of Persons for Labor or Sexual Servitude
- Voluntary Manslaughter
- Voluntary Manslaughter of an Unborn Child
There are a multitude of defenses your Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney could use to assist with your case. Some of them include but are not limited to:
If you have any questions or concerns about your case, please do not hesitate to contact our office. Our crimes against people Attorneys are here to help you every step of the way. Don't delay in calling; your best defense starts now.
We hear about bribery and treason related crimes in movies and on television, but we rarely hear about them in everyday life.
However, when we do, it normally includes politicians. Depending on the charge, the penalty for a crime against public administration can range from significant prison time, fines, or both.
Examples of common crimes against public administration include:
- Acceptance of Office or Employment in More than One Branch of Government
- Attempted Murder or Threatening of Witnesses in Official Proceedings
- Concealing Death of Another Person
- False Acknowledgement, Certificate, or Statements of Appearance or Oath by an Officer
- Filing False Documents
- Giving a False Name or Address to a Law Enforcement Officer
- Influencing of Legislative Action by State and Local Government Officers and Employees
- Obstructing or Hindering a Law Enforcement Officer
- Obstructing or Hindering Firefighters
- Obstructing or Hindering Emergency Medical Professionals
- Obstructing or Hindering Person Making Emergency Telephone Calls
- Obstructing a Park Ranger
- Request for an Ambulance When Not Reasonably Needed
- Refusal to Obey an Official Request
- Removal or Attempted Removal of Weapon from Public Official
- Sale of Real or Personal Property to Political Subdivision
- Transmitting a False Report of a Crime
- Transmitting a False Report of a Fire
- Use of Laser Devices Against a Law Enforcement Officer
- Using Private Funds for Law Enforcement
- Violation of Oath by a Public Officer
Crimes against public administration require an experienced lawyer. Based upon your particular case, your attorney will begin to work on formulating your defense. Some defenses that could benefit your case include but are not limited to:
- Misunderstanding: There is a possibility that the situation was misinterpreted and you did not intend for anything illegal to occur.
- Truth: If the information being litigated over can be proven to be truthful instead of false, that could be a complete defense.
Everyone knows that gambling and smoking in public places can be a crime in certain instances, but they do not know that it is considered a crime against public health and morals.
These types of crimes are heavily penalized and are not to be taken lightly. In Georgia, most people are familiar with Michael Vick and his involvement with dogfighting. He was sentenced to over two years in prison and paid a substantial amount in fines for his participation.
In Georgia, some crimes against public health and morals include:
- Advertisement or Solicitation for Participation in Lotteries
- Advertising Commercial Gambling
- Altering Fare Coins, Tokens, Stored Value Cards, Transaction Cards, or Tickets Without Consent
- Avoiding or Interfering with a Security Measures
- Bribery of a Contestant
- Cruelty to Animals
- Pyramid Schemes
- Soliciting or Accepting a Bribe to Influence Outcome of Athletic Contests, Sporting Events, or Exhibitions
- Smoking in Public Places
Because crimes against public health and morals vary widely, the defenses that could apply to them vary greatly as well. One defense that could apply is:
- Legality: If the crime was legal where it was committed, then there is no crime. An example is gambling. Gambling is permitted on Indian reservations even though they are still in Georgia.
All across the country, people become outraged over cruelty to animals.
We are all too familiar with these crimes as we frequently see them on television. Crimes involving animals can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony based on the circumstances.
Georgia crimes involving animals include:
- Abandonment of Dead Dogs
- Abandonment of Dogs
- Cruelty to Animals
- Cruelty to Dogs
- Livestock Running at Large
Georgia Criminal Defense Attorneys have countless arguments they can make on your behalf. A few of them are:
- Lack of intent: If the alleged crime was committed accidentally or without knowledge, then that could be a sufficient defense to get the charges dropped.
- Mistake: If the owner thought they would rightfully leaving an animal with another person, but it turned out to be the wrong person or wrong location, then that could also be a defense.
- Permission: If an owner of property gave permission to another for their animals to roam on the property, then there is no crime.
Crimes involving other parties are ones that involve the intent to commit a criminal offense.
However, the intended crime does not have to be committed. A conviction for this type of crime is generally punished by a prison term. They are normally charged as a felony, which carries its own consequences.
Examples of crimes involving other parties include:
Defenses to crimes involving other parties include but are not limited to:
- No proof of criminal intent: If there is insufficient evidence that the accused had the intent required by statute, then they cannot be convicted.
- Revocation: If the suspect voluntarily and completely abandoned their intent to commit the crime, that the could be a sufficient defense.
Crimes involving people under 21 years of age are sometimes referred to as juvenile crimes.
These types of crimes are specific as they only apply to under-age individuals. Juveniles are treated differently than adults and usually have their own courts of law.
Examples of crimes involving people under 21 years of age include:
- Curfew Violation in Regards to Permit
- DUI (driving under the influence)
- MIP (minor in possession)
In addition to different courts of law, crimes involving under 21 year olds often have separate facilities called juvenile correction facilities (also known as juvie). These institutions include social workers and probation officers to rehabilitate the offender and deter them from becoming a repeat offender. In juvie, they often have classes where the offenders can learn effective coping and social skills.
There are many defenses that can be used to argue your case if you are under 21 and have been charged with a crime. Contact our knowledge Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyers today for help.
Numerous offenses are associated with the elderly or disabled.
Because of their lack of mobility or other incapacities, many senior adults are taken advantage of or even abused. Georgia does not condone this behavior and has many laws relating to how the elderly or disabled should be treated.
Some of the offenses related to criminal neglect of the elderly or disabled include:
In Georgia, drugs that are not controlled substances as outlined by the statute are called dangerous drugs.
Some dangerous drugs include prescription drugs and model glue. It is important to note that concerning dangerous drugs, the possession or use of the drug in any of its forms is illegal. Even possession of chemical compounds, salts, or isomers is illegal.
Some examples of crimes related to dangerous drugs include:
- Failure to Label Prescription Container of Dangerous Drugs
- Intentional Inhalation of Model Glue
- Obtaining or Attempting to Obtain Dangerous Drugs by Fraud, Forgery, or Concealment of Material Fact
- Possession, Manufacture, Delivery, Distribution, or Sale of Counterfeit Substances
- Possession, Sale, or Transfer of Model Glue
- Prescribing or Ordering Dangerous Drugs
- Sale, Distribution or Possession of Dangerous Drug
- Sale or Transfer of Model Glue to Minors
- Using a Fictitious or False Address When Obtaining Drugs
Dangerous drug crimes are associated with hefty fines and long prison terms. A charge for a dangerous drug crime is not to be taken lightly, and you need representation from the very beginning. Defenses include but are not limited to:
- Illegal Means: If the methods employed by law enforcement to obtain the drugs were unconstitutional, then that evidence will not be allowed in Court.
- Lack of Knowledge: If it can be demonstrated that the drugs found were belonged someone other than the defendant such as a roommate or family member and the defendant was unaware of there were drugs in the area, that is a defense.
There are a variety of drug crimes in the State of Georgia that range from simple misdemeanors to severe felonies.
There are subtle distinctions between some of the drug crimes, and it is important to hire a knowledgeable Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney to help understand these differences. Drug crimes can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. Felony convictions for drug crimes can result in long prison sentences and lead to suspension of your driver's license and cause difficulty in obtaining employment or credit. Georgia has task forces specifically devoted to targeting drug crimes or drug-related activity. If you or a loved one has been charged with a drug crime, it is important to contact a criminal defense attorney immediately. They will attempt to find defenses for your case and help you obtain the best possible outcome for your situation.
A few common drug crimes in Georgia include:
- Manufacturing Marijuana
- Possession of Cocaine
- Possession of Marijuana
- Possession of Methamphetamine
- Possession of Cocaine with Intent to Distribute
- Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Distribute
- Sale of Cocaine
- Sale of Marijuana
- Trafficking Cocaine
- Trafficking Marijuana
While each crime has specific defenses that your Attorney can argue, there are a couple of defenses that can be used to defend your case:
- Illegal Means: If the methods employed by law enforcement to obtain the drugs were unconstitutional, then that evidence will not be allowed in Court.
- Lack of Possession: Just being in close proximity to illegal drugs does not mean that you possessed them.
Your Attorney needs to have a working knowledge of both the unique area of DUI law and the numerous methods utilized by law enforcement in field sobriety testing. Cases involving a DUI can be very complex. Some articles detailing the DUI process and the Georgia laws surrounding DUI include:
- 30 Day Letter
- ALS Hearings
- DUI Drugs
- DUI Less Safe
- Felony DUI
- Habitual Violator
- Georgia DUI Consequences
- Georgia DUI Court
- Georgia DUI Laws
- Georgia DUI Penalties
- Prescription Drug DUI
A DUI conviction in Georgia can lead to serious repercussions and affect your life for a very long time. Lawson and Berry and their team of Georgia DUI Attorneys are experts in DUI law and know how to fight for you. Some defenses they could argue on your behalf include but are not limited to:
- Faulty blood/chemical testing – i.e. the tests were not administered properly, or they were tainted from outside factors
- Arresting officer did not have probable cause to stop your car
- You were encouraged to answer questions after you had requested an attorney
Subsequent DUI convictions can lead to loss of employment and education opportunities. There is no quick resolution to a DUI charge but hiring a criminal defense attorney can help make the process smoother and give you peace of mind.
Georgia law defines fraud as “using deceitful or dishonest means to get something of value.”
This can be a complex area of law and not one that is easy to handle by yourself. You need an experienced criminal defense law firm to help you make sense of the charges and get you a better outcome.
Examples of fraud crimes in Georgia:
- Aggravated Identity Fraud
- Computer Forgery
- Computer Invasion of Privacy
- Computer Password Disclosure
- Computer Theft
- Computer Trespass
- Deceptive Business Practices
- Deposit Account Fraud
- False Report of a Crime
- False Statement to Police
- Financial Transaction Card Fraud
- Financial Transaction Card Theft
- Giving a False Statement to the Police
- Identity Fraud
The penalty for fraud in Georgia ranges depending on which crime you commit. Some are considered misdemeanors and others felonies. Fines and prison sentences are the normal consequences, but you may also be required to pay restitution to the victim.
Defenses to fraud in Georgia can include but are not limited to:
- Insufficient Evidence: Even though a crime was committed, there may be a lack of evidence linking you to the offense.
- Lack of Intent to Commit a Crime: If you accidentally took someone's credit card information without meaning to that could be a defense.
Although Lawson and Berry and their team of high-powered Georgia Criminal Defense Attorneys can explain what defenses apply to your case, we have also included a section describing each type of defense for you to explore.
Some defenses accepted in Georgia are:
- Abandonment of Effort
- Conviction for Lesser Included Offenses
- Delusional Compulsion
- Equal Access
- Georgia First Offender Act
- Involuntary Intoxication
- Minimum Age
- Misfortune or Accident
- Mistake of Fact
- Multiple Prosecutions for Same Conduct
- No Duty to Retreat Prior to Self Defense
- Opprobrious or Abusive Language
- Self Defense
- Use of Force in Defense of Habitation
- Use of Force in Defense of Other Property
The criminal justice system can be overwhelming and the process difficult to understand.
We have included information on every stage of the criminal process and encourage you to check it out for yourself.
We have included information on:
- Bench Trials
- Bench Warrant
- Calendar Calls
- Committal Hearing
- Discovery Motions
- Grand Jury Indictment
- Jury Trial
- Motion for New Trial
- Motions in Limine
- Motions to Suppress
- Plea Bargains
- Preliminary Hearings
- Pretrial Conference
- Warrant Application Hearing
Please contact our office or one of our Georgia Criminal Defense Attorneys at Lawson and Berry for more information and on how we can help you navigate the system.
When charged with a crime, the first thing to come to people's mind is what is this going to cost me.
Everyone wants to know what kind of sentence the Court could impose on him or her and what the minimum and maximum fines will be. Check out the articles on other types of penalties you could be subjected to:
Contact our office if you have any questions.
Crimes under this category are sometimes thought of as not as serious as other crimes.
People who litter or trespass or are drunk in public often do not think that the crime they committed is that bad in comparison to other crimes.
Examples of crimes that interfere with others or authorities include:
- Bail Jumping
- Criminal Trespass
- Criminal Damage to Property 1st Degree
- Criminal Damage to Property 2nd Degree
- Disorderly Conduct
- Interference with Government Property
- Loitering or Prowling
- Manufacturing of Possessing with Intent to Distribute an Explosive Device
- Pedestrian Under the Influence
- Public Drunk
- Tampering with Evidence
- Terroristic Acts
- Terroristic Threats
- 1st Degree Arson
- 2nd Degree Arson
- 3rd Degree Arson
The majority of crimes including littering, criminal trespass, and public drunkenness are punished as misdemeanors. However, other crimes, such as advocating the overthrow of government carry significant penalties.
Because the crimes that fall under this category are wide ranging, there are no defenses that can be applied to every crime. That is one of the reasons it is vital to your case to hire an attorney that is knowledgeable in criminal law and can prepare a defense tailored to your case. However, a couple of arguments that could be applied to specific crimes include:
- Justification: If there was legal justification behind such as a reason to be someone at a late hour or the defendant had a reason to be on the property that could be a sufficient defense.
- Lack of Intent: Evidence that the defendant lacks the knowledge or intent to commit a criminal act would be greatly beneficial to their case.
Invasion of privacy crimes are some of the most concerning crimes to citizens.
Many people are scared of the possibility of people spying on them or listening to their phone calls. Georgia law seeks to protect citizens from these types of unwanted observation.
Invasion of privacy crimes include:
- Eavesdropping, Surveillance, or Intercepting Communications Which Invades Privacy of Another
- Peeping Toms
- Possession, Sale or Distribution of Eavesdropping Devices
The penalty for being convicted of a crime of invasion of privacy will consist of a prison term between one and five years and/or a fine not to exceed $10,000.00. Furthermore, the defendant will be guilty of a felony.
An attorney has multiple arguments they can make on your behalf. One defense they could use is:
- Lack of Intent: Proof that the alleged crime was an accident or that the defendant did not have the intent to complete the crime would be a complete defense.
Citizens of the United States have freedom of speech guaranteed to them by the First Amendment.
This allows people to communicate freely though writing, photos, the Internet, etc. However, there are limits. Most states have introduced laws making materials that can debase sexual relationships illegal. Georgia is one of those states. There are a variety of crimes that can involve obscene material.
Some common crimes that involve obscene materials include:
- Display of Restricted Film Previews to General Audiences
- Distributing Obscene Material
- Electronically Furnishing Obscene Materials to Minors
- Obscene Telephone Contact
- Selling, Loaning, Distributing or Exhibiting Obscene Materials to Children
- Sexual Exploitation of Children
A conviction related to obscenity crimes is usually a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature. However, some of the crimes may include prison time and a fine.
Some defenses an attorney can use to defend you include but are not limited to:
- A reasonable person would not have though the material was obscene: The definition of obscenity has changed over time, and it is important to make sure the right standard is being used to judge the content.
- Unaware of the materials obscene nature: If the defendant was unaware that the material contained obscene information, then that could be a defense.
- Unknowingly possession of obscene materials: Evidence that the defendant unknowingly had custody of obscene materials could be greatly beneficial to their case.
Every citizen of the United States is entitled to a fair trial and it is a crime to interfere in judicial proceedings.
Some crimes that are involving with judicial proceedings include:
- Accepting a Reward by a Witness for Changing their Statement
- Compounding a Crime
- Influencing Witnesses
- Tampering with Evidence
Crimes that are related to the judicial process are considered very severe and carry heavy punishments. Contact Lawson and Berry if you or a loved one has been charged with one of these crimes.
There are many different types of property crimes covered under Georgia law, and they carry punishments ranging from one year in jail to twenty years in jail and fines.
Property crimes can include taking a physical item from someone, not paying for a service provided, threatening someone to obtain property, or charging for a job that was never completed.
A few examples of property crimes in Georgia include:
- Armed Robbery
- Conversion of Payments for Real Property
- Entering Auto
- Possession of Tools for the Commission of a Crime
- Theft by Conversion
- Theft by Conversion for Real Property Improvements
- Theft by Deception
- Theft by Extortion
- Theft of Lost or Mislaid Property
- Theft by Receiving Stolen Property
- Theft of Services
- Theft by Taking
The penalty for the majority of theft crimes depends upon the value of the property taken, stolen, or converted. If the value is less than $500, then the crime will most likely be treated as a misdemeanor. If the value of the property is greater than $500, then the crime will likely be deemed a felony. However, the judge does have the discretion to treat the crime as a misdemeanor or felony. The penalty for a misdemeanor or felony can be a prison sentence or a fine. Judges may allow for probation to be served instead of jail. In addition to prison time or a fine, you could also have a civil lawsuit filed against you by the victim or be required to pay restitution damages.
Some defenses to a property crime in Georgia include but are not limited to:
- Consent or Permission to Possess the Property: Any evidence that the accused had permission from the owner to control the property will be a valid defense.
- Lack of Intent: If the accused did not mean to commit a crime or lacked the intent to complete the crime, this could also be a defense.
- Innocence: Evidence that the accused was not the one that took the property or had an alibi at the time of the taking would be greatly beneficial.
Even though there is a presumption of innocence in our criminal justice system, simply being accused of any sexual offense can have a wide-ranging impact on the life of an alleged offender.
Criminal defense attorneys have seen their share of false accusations, vindictive spouses, questionable CPS investigations and shattered reputations as a result of sexual assault charges.
Some common sexual offenses include
- Aggravated Child Molestation
- Aggravated Sodomy
- Bestiality and Necrophilia
- Bigamy and Marrying a Bigamist
- Child Molestation
- Enticing a Child for Indecent Purposes
- Giving Massages in Places
- Harboring, Concealing, or Withholding Information Concerning a Sexual Offender
- Public Indecency
- Publication of Name of a Rape Victim
- Solicitation of Sodomy
- Statutory Rape
A conviction for a sexual offense usually involves significant time in prison as well as the requirement to register as a sex offender.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a sex crime, do not wait to hire an Attorney. Your Lawyer can help you raise any one of a number of defenses in order to have the criminal charges against you dropped or possibly dismissed. While the facts of each case are different some of the most common defenses to sexual offenses include but are not limited to:
- Consent: There are situations where victims claim a sexual offense was committed but fail to admit that they consented to the activity. Consent is a defense to sexual offenses as long as the person is of the legal age to consent. Georgia says no one under the age of 16 has the capacity to consent to sexual acts.
- False Accusations: Some defendants may have been falsely accused of sex crimes by ex-spouses or former partners or by their own relatives for revenge or ulterior motives.
- Lack of Evidence: Your Attorney can argue that there is insufficient evidence proving that a sexual offense was committed. Therefore, you cannot be convicted of the offense.
- Mistaken Identity: There are cases where the victim mistakenly identifies the wrong person because they did not get a good look at their attacker or it was dark. Police may arrest innocent people when this happens.
Seeing flashing lights behind you after you rolled a stop sign or were going over the speed limit can be the worst feeling.
There are a plethora of traffic violations that you could be charged with and the Criminal Defense Attorneys at Lawson and Berry are familiar with every one. Let us help you if you have been charged with a traffic related crime.
Please read some of our articles related to traffic violations:
- Distracted Driving/Texting
- Driving Too Fast for Conditions
- Failure to Stop at Stop Sign
- Following Too Closely
- Illegal U-Turn
- Super Speeder
- What Should I Do When Pulled Over by the Police?
Each crime has specific defenses related to it, but some general defenses that our Georgia Attorneys could apply to your case include but are not limited to:
- Illegal Stop: The officer did not have a sufficient reason to pull you over.
- Wrong Person: It is possible that the police officer pulled over the wrong vehicle and you were not violating any traffic laws.
Georgia has many crimes that fall under the weapon and dangerous instrumentalities offenses.
The majority of crimes concern the carrying and possession firearms. People in Georgia may be charged with a misdemeanor or felony weapon offense without even realizing they were committing a crime. An example is a convicted felon possessing a firearm. Not all convicted felons lose their ability to own a firearm, but some do. They include:
- Discharge of Firearms on Property of Another
- Furnishing Pistol or Revolver to Person Under the Age of 18
- Illegal Handgun Possession
- Pointing or Aiming Gun or Pistol at Another
- Unlawful Possession of Firearms or Weapons
These types of crimes are considered misdemeanors, but some of them will be treated as a felony. If it is classified as a felony, then penalties can include fines and time in prison. Firearm and weapon offenses could lead to serious consequences, even if the accused had no intention of committing a crime. Weapon offenses could include jail or prison sentences, fines, or both.
Some defenses for weapons and dangerous instrumentalities include but are not limited to:
- Lack of Possession: If there is evidence that the weapon belonged to someone else and the defendant was not the one in possession of it that would be a defense.
- Rightful Possession: If you lawfully owned the weapon or had legal justification for possessing the weapon, then that could also be a defense.
No matter what the crime our criminal law attorneys will defend you vigorously! We will fight for an acquittal in your case or try to negotiate a plea deal. We will do whatever is in your best interest! Furthermore, this is not an extensive list of all the practice areas we cover. To view more crimes and offenses, please browse through our website.
Georgia Juvenile Laws vary greatly from other criminal laws and it is important to understand them. A child facing criminal charges or delinquency proceedings needs the best representation possible. The Juvenile Laws in Georgia can be confusing so it is crucial to retain a Georgia Juvenile Lawyer.
Check out our articles related to juveniles and criminal prosecution: