Have you Been Charged with Interference with Government Property?
Georgia law outlines criminal trespass and criminal damage to property. However, there is a completely separate crime for interference with government property. If you or a loved one has been charged with Interference with Government Property in Georgia, you need legal assistance. Lawson and Berry and their team of Georgia Interference with Government Property Attorneys have decades of criminal experience. Contact them today for a free case evaluation.
Georgia Law on Interference With Government Property
According to O.C.G.A. §16-7-24, there are two ways a person can commit the offense of interference with government property:
- When he destroys, damages, or defaces government property
- When he forcibly interferes with or obstructs the passage into or from government property
Georgia Case Law
In Arnold v. State, the accused was found guilty of interference with government property. 262 Ga. App. 61, (2003). The accused was seen running a stop sign and struck a curb. When the police tried to pull his vehicle over, he led them on a high-speed chase and drove his vehicle directly and deliberately into a patrol car. The evidence presented was sufficient to support a conviction for interference with government property.
Penalty for Interference with Government Property
A conviction under O.C.G.A §16-7-24(a) will carry a punishment of a prison term between one and five years. It will be treated as a felony conviction.
A conviction under O.C.G.A. §16-7-24(b) will be punished as a misdemeanor. Misdemeanors carry fines up to $1,000 or jail time up to one year.
Defenses to Interference with Government Property
Lack of evidence: The State must have sufficient evidence tying the suspect to the damaging of property. If there is not enough evidence proving that the suspect did it beyond a reasonable doubt, then they cannot be guilty.
What are Not Defenses
The damage was easily cleaned off: In the case of Harper v. State, the suspects defaced cameras and cell surfaces by wiping feces on them. They argued they could not be guilty of interference with government property because they were easily cleaned off. However, the jury found that just because the camera and cell surfaces could be cleaned and restored to their previous appearance does not mean the suspects were not guilty. Therefore, they were convicted of interference with government property. 337 Ga. App. 57, (2016).
It was an accident: The statute does not state that the damage must be done intentionally. Therefore, even if done by mistake, a person can still be found guilty of interference with government property.
To schedule a free consultation with one of the Georgia Interference with Government Property Attorneys at Lawson and Berry, contact our offices today. Our Attorneys are highly knowledgeable and will assist you in formulating the best possible defense for your case. We will walk you through every step of the process, and we are dedicated to being accessible to you- days, nights, weekends, and holidays while working hard on your behalf. Your future is at stake so don't sit around waiting for your case to resolve itself.