A top-rated Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer is well-experienced in utilizing the strategy of lesser included offenses in Georgia. This means that the attorney will prove that the defendant or charged person should be convicted of a lesser included offense. If proven successfully, the outcome is a lesser offense and therefore, a lesser punishment.
The Georgia Code (O.C.G.A §16-1-6) defines a conviction for a lesser included offenses as:
An accused may be convicted of a crime included in a crime charged in the indictment or accusation. A crime is so included when: (1) 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 crime charged; or (2) 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.
Under the statute, a defendant can be charged with two crimes based on the same conduct. However, they cannot be convicted of both crimes if one crime is included in the other. Padgett v. State, 205 Ga. App. 576, (1992).
There are two approaches to a lesser included offenses strategy in Georgia. The first is a matter of law meaning that the lesser offense contains the same elements as the greater offense - just fewer. The second is a matter of fact meaning that evidence demonstrates that lesser offenses were all that were actually committed.
“[A] written request to charge a lesser included offense must always be given if there is any evidence that the defendant is guilty of the lesser included offense.” State v. Alvarado, 260 Ga. 563, 564, 397 S.E.2d 550 (1990).
Here are a few examples:
- Arson - Criminal Damage to Property
- DUI - Reckless Conduct
- Murder - Voluntary Manslaughter
- Burglary - Theft by Taking
- Aggravated Assault - Assault
- Aggravated Battery - Battery
The strategy of lesser included offenses comes up in a successful plea negotiation or during a jury trial in Georgia. The goal is to work out the best resolution for the accused person. The analysis required for a strategy of lesser included offenses is both case and fact specific and should be conducted by a very experienced lawyer. If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime in the state of Georgia, contact a Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney today.