Litigating The Cases That Matter The Most

Defending the Accused and Fighting Mass Incarceration

Savannah, Georgia Criminal Defense FAQs

Do Most Criminal Cases Go To Trial?

No. In fact, a majority of cases never end up in trial court. Cases go through quite a few steps before reaching trial. The prosecution may decide to dismiss charges if they feel they don’t have a strong case or they lack evidence. The defense has an opportunity to file pretrial motions like motions to suppress evidence that could result in the prosecution dropping charges. Cases also frequently end in plea bargains before reaching trial court.

What Happens If I Miss My Court Date In Georgia?

Life happens, and we understand you may miss court dates because of any number of innocent reasons. However, failing to appear for your court date can be considered an additional crime. It could increase your existing charges and paint you in a negative light – judges don’t like to waste their time. If you missed your court date, contact your attorney as soon as possible.

What Is An Initial Appearance?

An “initial appearance” in Georgia is the first time you appear before a judge. An initial appearance is also known as an “arraignment.”

What Is An Arraignment?

An arraignment is also known as an “initial appearance” or an “initial hearing.” At an arraignment, the prosecution reads the charges against you, and you enter your plea – either guilty or not guilty. It typically takes place a few days after arrest but can sometimes take longer.
 

DUI, Alcohol
DUI, Drugs
Reckless Driving
Moving Citations
Serious Injury by Vehicle
Vehicular Homicide
Expired Tag/Insurance
Suspended License

Disorderly Conduct
Public Drunk/Intoxication
Sleeping in Public Spaces
Public Indecency
Cruelty to Animals

Theft by Shoplifting/Taking/Receiving
Breaking & Entering
Entering Auto
Robbery

Possession of a Firearm by a Felon
Possession of a Firearm during a Crime
Concealing a Firearm
Discharging a Firearm
Pointing Weapon at Another

Possession of Marijuana
Possession of Synthetic Cannabinoid-Synthetic Marijuana
Possession of Controlled Substances
Possession with Intent to Distribute
Possession of Drug Related Objects
Trafficking
Illegal Use of Cell Phone

Murder
Obstruction of Police
Assault & Battery
Domestic Violence
Kidnapping
False Imprisonment
Aggravated Assault
Cruelty to Children

White Collar Crimes
Burglary
Armed Robbery
Home Invasion
Homicide

Rape
Child Molestation
Sexual Assault & Battery
Aggravated Sodomy

What Is A Felony?

In Georgia, any crime that carries a sentence of one year or more is considered a felony. Felonies are more serious crimes than misdemeanors. Felony convictions result in loss of certain civil rights and result in other consequences like difficulty finding employment or housing even after you’ve served your sentence.

What Rights Do I Loose As A Convicted Felon?

Beyond potential jail time and fines, having a felony conviction on your record involves life-changing consequences. Convicted felons lose the right to vote, the ability to sit on a jury, and the right to possess a firearm. People with felony convictions are also not eligible for certain types of employment, like teaching or working in a hospital. Beyond that, many employers will run background checks and hesitate to hire someone with a felony conviction.

 

What Is A Misdemeanor?

A misdemeanor is a crime that carries a sentence of less than one year. Misdemeanor sentences are typically served in local or county jails.

What Is A “No Contest” Plea?

By pleading “no contest” a defendant does not plead “guilty” or “not guilty.” They do not admit guilt to the charges, but the charges still stand.

What Is “Probable Cause?”

Law enforcement must have “probable cause” to conduct a search, seize property, or make an arrest without a warrant. It means they have enough reason based on clear facts that a crime was committed to justify their actions.
 

What Does “No Probable Cause” Mean?

“No probable cause” means law enforcement does not meet the burden of proof to hold someone under arrest.

What Is “Reasonable Suspicion?”

Law enforcement must be able to prove they had “reasonable suspicion” based on facts in order to make a stop, detain someone to question them about a crime, or search someone in relation to a crime.

What Is A Miranda Warning?

Law enforcement officers are required to read your Miranda rights before they arrest you. Miranda rights include:

  • • The right to remain silent
  • • Understanding that anything you say after being arrested can and will be used against you in the court of law
  • • The right to an attorney
  • • The right to a court-appointed attorney if you cannot afford an attorney

 

What Does It Mean To “Plead The Fifth?”

“Pleading the fifth “refers to the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which states that you are protected from self-incrimination. Pleading the fifth means you are exercising your right to refrain from answering questions from police while in custody.

What Is Self-Incrimination?

While in custody, self-incrimination means saying anything to authorities that could implicate you in a crime. The right to be protected from self-incrimination is written into the U.S. Constitution in the Fifth Amendment.

What Is A Warrant?

A warrant is a court order that allows law enforcement to arrest someone who has been charged with a crime or who has been convicted of a crime but hasn’t appeared in court or paid fines.

What Is A Search Warrant?

A search warrant is a court order that allows law enforcement to search a person or a property.

What Is An Arrest Warrant?

An arrest warrant is a court order that allows law enforcement to hold someone charged with a crime in custody.

What Is A Bench Warrant?

A bench warrant is a court order that allows law enforcement to arrest someone for being in contempt of court. These are typically issued when defendants out on bail fail to appear in court.

What Is An Appeal?

An appeal is a petition by either the defense or the prosecution to have the case reviewed by the Court of Appeals.

What Is A Motion?

In trial court, a motion is a petition to the court asking the court or the judge to decide on a specific aspect of a case.

What Is A Jury Trial?

A jury trial is a trial decided by a group of jurors rather than by a judge alone.

What Is A Bench Trial?

A bench trial is overseen by a judge who determines if the defendant is guilty or innocent. Most criminal cases will go to a jury trial if they go to trial, but there are some instances where a bench trial is preferable.

 

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