Justification Defense in Georgia
There are certain situations where a person will not be found guilty of a crime even though one was committed. The reason behind this is that their conduct was justified under the laws of Georgia. There are about eight different scenarios in which a person will be acquitted of a crime by using the justification defense. Lawson and Barry is Georgia's premier criminal defense law firm and know how to defend against the charges brought against you successfully. If your actions were justified, they will help you present evidence demonstrating that fact and obtain an acquittal. Contact our offices today for a free case evaluation or if you have any questions.
Georgia Law O.C.G.A. §16-3-20 reads as follows:
The fact that a person's conduct is justified is a defense to prosecution for any crime based on that conduct. The defense of justification can be claimed:
- When the person's conduct is justified under the Code (i.e.: use of force in defense of self or other persons, use of force in defense of habitation, entrapment, coercion)
- When the person's conduct is in reasonable fulfillment of his duties as a government officer or employee;
- When the person's conduct is the reasonable discipline of a minor by his parent or a person in loco parentis;
- When the person's conduct is reasonable and is performed in the course of making a lawful arrest;
- When the person's conduct is justified for any other reason under the laws of this state; or
- In all other instances which stand upon the same footing of reason and justice as those enumerated in this article.
If justification is proven, then it should always result in the defendant being acquitted of the charges.
Georgia Case Law on Justification
One of the more vague situations, where justification is an adequate defense, is where the defendant's actions stood on the same footing of reason and justice as the instances set out in the statute. An example of this can be found in Tarvestad v. State. 261 Ga. 605, (1991). In that case, the accused was driving his pregnant wife to the doctor's office. He was driving without a license, but his wife was in labor and had been advised by the doctor that she could not drive. The only way for his wife to get to the hospital was for the husband to drive without a license. During the trial, the husband admitted to driving without a license but argued that his driving was justified. The Court found that the husband's desire to seek medical help for his wife stood on the same footing of reason and justice and therefore, he was acquitted of the charges.
Our offices are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We understand that crime does not keep regular working hours and when you have a question, you deserve an answer as soon as possible. Not days later. Our office has decades of experience with criminal law and knows exactly how to formulate a defense. Don't waste time; contact our offices today for a free case evaluation.