Misdemeanor Punishments in Georgia
Georgia deems a misdemeanor as any criminal act that is not considered a felony. Under Georgia statute O.C.G.A. §17-10-3, misdemeanors are punished by a fine not to exceed $1,000 or by jail time not to exceed 12 months or both. If convicted of a misdemeanor and required to serve time, it will be served in a county or city jail. Prison terms are reserved for people who will be spending more than one year in confinement. Misdemeanor offenses in Georgia include:
- Possession of marijuana less than one ounce
- Public intoxication
- Theft where the value of the property taken is less than $500
If the judge sentences the accused to spend six months or less in jail, then they have the discretion to allow the jail sentence to be served on weekends or during the nonworking hours of the defendant.
Misdemeanor Traffic Violations
If the misdemeanor is for a traffic offense, then the judge may impose one or more of these additional penalties:
- Completion of a Defensive Driving Course or similar course
- Probation with conditions such as reporting to a probation officer, refraining from certain acts, ect
- Suspension of driving privileges
- Attendance of victim impact panels
- Community service
- Substance abuse counseling
Misdemeanors of a High and Aggravated Nature
More serious misdemeanors are considered a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature. An offense can be elevated from a misdemeanor to a high and aggravated one under certain circumstances. It generally occurs when a person has been convicted of the same offense multiple times in the same period of time. Some examples of misdemeanor offenses of a high and aggravated in Georgia include:
- Third DUI conviction
- Aggressive driving
- Fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer
- Battery against a pregnant woman
Similar to a regular misdemeanor, the jail time cannot exceed 12 months, but the fine can be as high as $5,000.00. O.C.G.A. §17-10-4
Effects of a Misdemeanor Conviction in Georgia
Even though misdemeanors are less serious than felonies, they can still have an impact on your life. Some drug offenses are misdemeanors, and that could result in loss of federal financial aid for education or jobs. For example, if you are a commercial truck driver and you are convicted of certain misdemeanors, your license could be suspended and you may lose your job. The conviction will go on your permanent criminal record, and it can certainly affect your ability to gain employment. Even a small offense can change your life.
Our misdemeanor attorneys in Georgia defend clients every day who are faced with criminal charges. No matter if it is a misdemeanor or a felony, we will provide you with an aggressive and unrelenting defense. Contact us now for a free case evaluation and find out how we can help with your case.