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Felony Defenses

Felony Defined

A felony is any type of criminal offense, which is punishable by more than one year in custody. Felonies can carry penalties as severe as the death penalty or life without parole. A felony conviction results in a person losing certain rights. A person loses their right to carry a firearm and their right to vote with a felony conviction.

Felonies carry other consequences A convicted felon will lose several employment opportunities. He/she will lose security clearances with the government. If the felony is related to a sexual offense he will have to register as a sex offender. A second or subsequent felony could result in a recidivist label. This means a judge must give the maximum amount of time permissible under law for future offenses.

Unlike misdemeanors most felonies require a grand jury indictment. The prosecutor has discretion on what charges to bring. Any person charged with a felony should consult with an attorney. Below is a list of many felonies our firm handles along with a description of the offense and the penalties a person faces with the charge.

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Violent Felonies

Murder
A person commits the offense of murder when no legal justification exists (self-defense, insanity, defense of others) and with malice aforethought, either express or implied, causes the death of another human being. O.C.G.A. 16-5-1(a) (Georgia does not have first and second degree murder)
Three possible punishments are life, life without parole, and the death penalty (death penalty must be sought by state and the jury must rule for a death penalty unanimously after a trial in a separate hearing)

Felony Murder
A person commits the offense of felony murder when during the commission of a felony, he or she causes the death of another human being. O.C.G.A. 16-5-1(c)
Penalties are the same as murder.

Voluntary Manslaughter
A person commits this offense when he or she causes the death of another human being as a result of a sudden violent and irresistible passion resulting from serious provocation. The classic example, is a person comes home and finds their significant other having an affair. If there is time to cool down then the charge would be murder O.C.G.A. 16-5-2.
Penalties are 1-20 years and can be probated or paroled.

Involuntary Manslaughter
A person commits this offense if they unintentionally cause the death of another during the commission of some unlawful act other than a felony. If the act is lawful then it is a misdemeanor O.C.G.A. 16-5-3
Penalties are 1-10 years if a felony (1 year if misdemeanor)

Aggravated Assault
This occurs when a person attempts to commit a violent injury of another or commits an act which places another in apprehension of bodily harm and is done so with intent to murder, rape or rob or is done with a deadly weapon (aggravated assault does not require the injury to occur only the apprehension it could result in the injury) O.C.G.A. 16-5-21
Penalties 1-20 years (if against a teacher, a peace officer, or an officer of the court then 5-20 years) (if against parent or spouse or a person over 65 years of age then 3-20)

Aggravated Battery
A person commits this offense when they maliciously cause an injury to another that results in disfigurement or rendering a member of the victim’s body useless O.C.G.A. 16- 5-24
Penalties 1-20 years (if against a peace or correctional officer then 10-20 years)(if against a teacher, student or person over the age of 65 then 5-20 years)



Drug Offenses

VGCSA (Violation of Georgia’s Controlled Substances Act)

For an in depth look at drug charges please look at the drug defense section of this website (all drug charges with the exception of marijuana and possession of paraphernalia are felonies in the state of Georgia the sentences can range from 2 years probation to life imprisonment)

Sex Crimes

Aggravated Sexual Battery
A person commits this offense when he or she intentionally penetrates with a foreign object the sexual organ or anus of another person without the consent of that person.
The penalties are life imprisonment or 25 years minimum prison sentence followed by probation for the remainder of a person’s life. (Must register as sex offender when released)

Child Pornography
A person commits the offense of child pornography when they knowingly possess or control any material that depicts a minor or a portion of a minor’s body engaged in any sexually explicit conduct. O.C.G.A. 16-12-100
The penalties are 5-20 years and can be served on probation, no required incarceration. (must register as sex offender)

Rape
A person commits this offense when they have carnal knowledge of a female forcibly against her will or if a female is less than 10 years of age. O.C.G.A. 16-6-1
The penalties are life without parole, life, or 25-year minimum sentence with remainder on probation for life (sex offender registry)

Statutory Rape
A person commits this offense when they engage in sexual intercourse with any person under the age of 16.
Defendants 21 or older face a 10-20 year sentence and must register as sex offender.
Defendants 18 or younger who have sexual intercourse with a person 14-16 then the case is a misdemeanor.

Aggravated Sodomy
A person commits this offense when they perform sodomy with force and against the will of the other person or if they commit sodomy on a person less than 10 years of age.
The penalties are life imprisonment or a 25-year minimum prison sentence and the remainder of his/her life on probation.

Child Molestation
A person commits the offense of Child Molestation when he or she does or by means of electronic device, transmits images of a person engaging in, inducing, or otherwise participating in any immoral or indecent act to or in the presence of or with any child under 16 with the intent to arouse or satisfy the sexual desires of either the child or the person.
The penalties are 5-20 years can be probated or paroled (if the person is less than 18 years of age and the victim is 14-16 years of age then the charge is a misdemeanor).

Aggravated Child Molestation
A person commits this offense when they commit child molestation that physically injures the child or involves an act of sodomy.
The penalties are life imprisonment or a 25 year minimum prison sentence and the remainder of his or her life on probation.

Theft Crimes

Armed Robbery
A person commits the offense of armed robbery when he or she takes the property of another from the person or immediate presence of another by use of an offensive weapon, or any replica or article that has an appearance of an offensive weapon. O.C.G.A. 16-8-41
The penalties are 10-20 years on a first offense (the first ten years cannot receive parole, 2nd offense life in prison)
Important: Our firm handles several armed robberies a year. With youthful offenders a charge that is reduced from armed robbery to robbery can result in an individual spending significantly less jail time based on parole and probation requirements

Robbery
A person commits the offense of robbery when they steal from a person by use of force, intimidation, or by sudden snatching of the property.
The possible sentence is 1-20 years this can be paroled or probated

Burglary
A person commits the offense of burglary when they enter the dwelling or building of another with to commit a felony without the authority to enter such dwelling or building
The penalties are 1-20 years for first offense, a second offense is 2-20, and a third offense is 5-20 years.
Theft by Taking; Theft by Conversion; Theft by Deception
A person commits one of these offenses when in some form of another they unlawfully obtain property of another.
These cases are felonies when the value of the property is over $1,500.00. If the value is less $15,00.00 than they are punishable as misdemeanors.
If the charge is a felony then the punishment is typically 1-10 years and can be as high as 20 years for repeat offenders.
What is important in these cases are whether criminal intent existed. On many occasions people will attempt to have a civil case made criminal in an attempt to have jail as leverage.

Miscellaneus Felonies

Vehicular Homicide
A person commits the offense of vehicular homicide in the first degree when they cause the death of another human being while driving recklessly; or attempting to flee and elude an officer; or while driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol; or while improperly passing a school bus while it is loading or unloading children; or by leaving the scene of the accident.
Vehicular homicide in the first degree carries 3-15 years in prison.
A person commits the offense of vehicular homicide in the second degree when they violate any traffic law other than those mentioned above which results in the death of another human being. This is a misdemeanor and punishable by no more than one year in jail O.C.G.A. § 40-6- 393
DUI or Reckless Driving and Serious Injury
A person commits this offense when they are driving under the influence and they cause a person to permanent disfigurement or they cause organic brain damage to an individual O.C.G.A. § 40-6-394.
The penalty for this offense is 1-15 years.

Important: DUI offenses which result in death are less likely to receive parole at an early stage of the prison sentence. Typically they serve close to 80% of their sentence before becoming eligible for parole.

Felony Obstruction of Law Enforcement Officer
Whoever knowingly and willfully resists, obstructs, or opposes any law enforcement officer, prison guard, correctional officer, probation supervisor, parole supervisor, or conservation ranger in the lawful discharge of his official duties by offering or doing violence to the person of such officer or legally authorized person is guilty of a felony and shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than five years. O.C.G.A. § 16-10-24

Violation of Rico Act

This is a complicated charge that an attorney must be consulted in order to grasp what a person is looking at as far as penalties. Our firm has handled RICO cases at the State and Federal Level.

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