Having a Felony in Georgia
Georgia criminal law is the body of laws passed by the Georgia legislature to deal with criminal activities in the state of Georgia. Georgia criminal law defines the various crimes and the sentences for the crimes.
In Georgia, crimes are either misdemeanors or felonies. Misdemeanor is the less serious of the two and includes trespassing, prostitution, vandalism, speeding, etc. Misdemeanors are generally non-violent and result in little physical harm. Felonies are serious crimes that result in serious physical injuries to the victim and/or property. While misdemeanors are generally punishable with a jail term not exceeding one year and/or fines and community service, a felony crime is punishable with a prison terms of more than one year. The common felony crimes in Georgia include arson, rape, burglary, murder, kidnapping and robbery.
Felony crimes in Georgia are subdivided into degrees. The lower the degree, the more serious the crime. For example, a first degree felony is a more serious crime than a second degree felony.
Like with any crime, the first stage in the Georgia criminal process concerning felony crimes is the arrest. Often the arrest follows the search. The police officer must generally have a search warrant to conduct a search. A search carried out without a valid search warrant is generally an illegal search except under certain circumstances such as the police officer witnessing a crime being committed. The judge will issue a search warrant if the police officer shows probable cause – that there is good reason to believe that the person being searched is somehow connected to a crime that occurred.
The officer will arrest the person if after conducting the search, the police officer has probable cause to believe that the person committed a crime. Once a person is arrested in Georgia, he or she has certain constitutional rights. The police officers must advise the arrested person of these rights before the person can be questioned. Often these rights are read out to the arrested person immediately on arrest. The reading out of these rights are generally referred to as the Miranda warnings. The arrested person has the right to remain silent and contact an attorney. If the arrested person chooses to respond to the questions asked by the police officers, the responses can be used as evidence against the person in the court that hears the criminal case against that person.
If you have been arrested for a felony crime in Georgia or you are being investigated for a felony crime, the first thing you should do is to contact an experienced Georgia criminal defense attorney. The attorney will review your case and advise you of your options. Never fight a felony charge without the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. There is a lot at stake for you. If convicted, you will be sent to prison.
A felony conviction in Georgia will change your life forever. Not only will you have to serve time in prison, you will have a criminal record. If you are subsequently arrested for another crime, you will be subject to enhanced sentencing if you are found guilty. A felony conviction in Georgia can result in the loss of voting rights and you can be debarred from owning a firearm.