Fulton County Criminal Lawyer
No matter what the offense in question is, it is important to take any criminal allegations made against you seriously. While misdemeanor offenses often may only lead to a fine upon conviction, more serious or repeated offenses could result in much more severe consequences, including loss of civil rights and significant time in jail.
Contesting serious criminal charges in court is a complex ordeal that no defendant should try to handle by themselves. In order to effectively pursue a positive outcome in your case, it is essential that you contact and hire a skilled Fulton County criminal lawyer.
What is the Difference Between a Misdemeanor and a Felony?
Criminal offenses in Georgia are classified as either misdemeanors or felonies. By the letter of the law, these categories are differentiated only by the severity of associated penalties upon conviction rather than what specific actions the offense involved. That being said, more serious offenses in the eyes of state courts typically result in more severe penalties.
Misdemeanor offenses are typically non-violent criminal actions such as shoplifting, marijuana possession, and traffic offenses, the last of which Georgia state law does not differentiate from other forms of misdemeanors. As per Official Code of Georgia §17-10-4, misdemeanors may be considered “high and aggravated” and punished more severely under specific circumstances, usually when the defendant in question has been convicted multiple times for the same offense.
Unlike some other states, Georgia does not separate felony offenses into subcategories. Generally, violent felonies like armed robbery are punished more harshly than non-violent felonies, but there are exceptions in certain situations. A criminal defense attorney could help a person accused in Fulton County understand the nature of the charges against them and structure their defense strategy accordingly.
Potential Penalties Upon Conviction
Upon conviction, most misdemeanor offenses in Fulton County may be punished by no more than a fine of $1,000 and/or 12 months in jail. If a misdemeanor is classified as “high and aggravated,” the maximum allowable fine is $5,000, and the maximum amount of earned time credit a convicted party can receive for good behavior is four days per month of their sentence.
Since Georgia does not classify felonies by subcategory, individual statutes determine the penalties associated with specific offenses. The minimum prison sentence for a felony conviction may range from one to 25 years in prison, and certain offenses are punishable by life imprisonment or the death penalty.
Certain offenses can be charged and prosecuted as either felonies or misdemeanors depending on the circumstances. As per O.C.G.A. §17-10-5, a judge may treat any felony punishable by ten or fewer years in prison as a misdemeanor at their discretion. If possible in a particular case, a criminal defense lawyer in Fulton County could work to pursue this potential outcome on a defendant’s behalf.
Retain a Fulton County Criminal Attorney as Soon as Possible
The criminal justice system in Georgia is very unfriendly to defendants unfamiliar with legal procedures and processes. Without qualified legal representation, it may be almost impossible for you to obtain anything less than the harshest possible outcome in your case, let alone avoid a conviction.
Do not leave your freedom and future prospects to chance. Get in touch with a Fulton County criminal lawyer today to discuss your legal options and start working on your defense.