Immunity Defense in Georgia
There are hundreds of defenses that attorneys can use to defend your case. Georgia allows for citizens to be relieved of criminal liability when assisting law enforcement officers. This can be a difficult defense to prove so it is important to hire a lawyer who can assist you. Lawson and Berry have over 50 combined years of criminal defense experience and are ready to help with your case. Contact them today for a free case evaluation.
Georgia Law on Immunity When Rendering Assistance to Law Enforcement Officers
O.C.G.A. §16-3-22 states any person who renders assistance reasonably and in good faith to any law enforcement officer who is being hindered in the performance of his official duties or whose life is being endangered by the conduct of any other person or persons while performing his official duties shall be immune to the same extent as the law enforcement office from any criminal liability that might otherwise be incurred or imposed as a result of rendering assistance to the law enforcement officer.
The purpose of this Code Section is the provide for people who act in good faith in helping law enforcement officers whose health and safety is being adversely affected and threatened by the conduct of any other person or persons.
Therefore, your Attorney's role is to prove that you reasonably and in good faith helped a law enforcement officer whose life was being endangered.
Spousal Immunity in Georgia
A common question we receive is whether a spouse must testify against the other spouse at a hearing or trial. The short answer is that there is a spousal immunity privilege in Georgia, but it does not apply in all cases.
There are several important exceptions to the spousal immunity privilege in Georgia that can be found in O.C.G.A. 25-5-503. A person may be required to testify in the following scenarios:
- Where one spouse is accused of committing a crime against a child under the age of 18. However, you can only be required to testify regarding the specific acts for which your partner is charged.
- Where you were the victim of the crime either while you were married or before marrying.
- When the accused spouse is charged with damaging either joint marital property or your property.
Another informal exception to the rule is for any communications that you and your spouse had outside of the courtroom. For example, there is no privilege against the state using text messages, emails, letters, videos, or any other out of court communication between you and your spouse to prosecute the case.
Some additional notes about spousal immunity in Georgia:
- The spousal privilege can only be used or asserted by the husband or wife who is not accused of committing the crime. The accused cannot assert the privilege himself. That means that an accused's spouse could testify against them even if they do not want them to.
- The privilege dissolves in divorce or when one spouse dies.
- The privilege can even be asserted even when the spouse is not charged, but where testifying in another proceeding could incriminate that spouse.
- Marrying another party for the sole purpose of not having to testify against them does not invalidate or waive the privilege
The most important thing to keep in mind is to consult with an immunity attorney in Georgia before testifying against your spouse.
If you believe you or a loved one should be protected from any criminal liability based upon this defense, contact our office today. We are here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer any questions you have and to walk you through the criminal justice system.