Georgia Criminal Lawyer

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In 2005, Georgia was ranked as the 11th most dangerous state from crime, based on the number of crimes per capita, including the District of Columbia. Criminal law encompasses the legal components that define an individual's criminal acts and help determine the length and degree of punishment depending on the crime's seriousness. It is the duty of a Georgia criminal lawyer to represent and protect the rights of an accused in criminal proceedings, and may begin from the time of arrest and entering of court pleas to pretrial hearings and the actual trials and motions, as well as proposing necessary post-trial remedies.

Criminal law may vary from state to state, but crimes can generally be defined as an act or behavior in violation of a rule, regulation or law expressly prohibiting it. Crimes are distinct from infractions, which are much more minor offenses such as failing to stop at a stop sign, being in violation of a city ordinance, or similar. Infractions are usually punished only by a fine, but if an individual want to fight the ticket they've been issued it is not necessary to retain the services of an attorney. They can go to court and represent themselves.

Crimes, in contrast, may be felonies or misdemeanors, and may include first-degree crimes, which are very serious in nature. Criminal lawyers represent persons who face criminal charges, ranging from felony charges such as fraud, embezzlement, kidnapping, treason, grand theft and espionage, to first-degree crimes such as murder, rape and aggravated assault. To obtain a conviction, the state must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the crime for which an accused is charged, and present the requisite evidence when giving a verdict.

Criminal lawyers also represent those who have been accused of a misdemeanor crime such as driving while under the influence, prostitution, vandalism, trespassing, petty theft and jaywalking. These offenses are much less serious, and unless the offender is a repeat offender, do not generally result in jail time, but instead carry a fine, a sentence of probation, and/or a sentence of community service.

The criminal justice process involves several stages, beginning with a thorough investigation of the circumstances surrounding the case. A law enforcement investigation may begin with a search warrant to determine the probable cause of the injury or harm that the crime has caused. Sometimes interrogation techniques are employed where witnesses and even potential suspects are questioned. In such situations it is vital that the defendants have a legal representation to help protect their interests.

An arrest may be warranted if the law enforcement officers have reason to suspect that a crime has been committed by a specific person, and this involves taking them into custody. Arrests may be made with or without a warrant depending on the circumstances leading to the arrest and the presence of reliable witnesses. Arrests in a public place, for instance, do not require a warrant. However arresting a suspect in a private place may require a warrant unless the police believe that the suspect is likely to flee.

Once a criminal charge has been filed in court, the process of arraignment begins with a formal presentation of charges in open court. An experienced Georgia criminal attorney will be well-versed in the proceedings and the preliminary hearing of the case and the state guidelines that need to be followed to help defend the accused adequately. A criminal lawyer will also assist in filing for bail and in plea negotiations with the prosecutors to help lighten the sentence or ensure a fair outcome in the case.

If you are ready to contact a Georgia criminal lawyer or attorney, visit the website of the American Bar Association.