A criminal charge is a serious matter, requiring an equally serious defense. Even a misdemeanor conviction could have a devastating impact on your life. If you are facing criminal allegations, contact a Fort Oglethorpe criminal lawyer today to discuss your legal rights and options.
It is vital to start defending your rights as best you can from the first interaction with Fort Oglethorpe police officers. A skilled criminal defense attorney could fight for your freedom and effectively challenge the prosecution’s case in court.
Common types of criminal charges in Fort Oglethorpe include:
A seasoned criminal lawyer understands the court system, prosecutors, and judges. An experienced criminal attorney in Fort Oglethorpe would explain the charges to alleged offenders in a way that clearly conveys the consequences of a plea and consequences of a conviction, as well as the benefits of winning at trial. An accomplished felony lawyer could defend the accused with all possible legal means and aggressively protect their constitutional rights when they are facing charges in the Fort Oglethorpe area.
A defense lawyer could walk the accused through every step of the criminal trial process in Fort Oglethorpe, from the time of their arrest to the final hearing. Importantly, the steps in the criminal process could vary depending on the type of charge and the jurisdiction.
For instance, federal criminal cases usually commence with a formal investigation, while smaller state cases, such as DUI’s, start with an arrest based on probable cause. With that said, criminal cases generally involve the following basic steps.
Once the police department processes the individual, by taking their fingerprints and mugshot, the accused may wait in a holding cell until they appear in front of a judge. During this period, the person would have a phone call available to contact their lawyer, if they wish.
Pursuant to Georgia Code §17-4-62, the arresting entity or county sheriff’s department must bring someone who has been arrested without a warrant before a magistrate or judge within 48 hours. If there was a warrant for the arrest, the time frame is 72 hours.
The individual’s initial appearance in court is when they would have the opportunity to plead guilty or not guilty. The judge would ask the accused whether they have an attorney or whether they require a public defender to be appointed for their case.
The judge may also set bail or bond, if applicable. For someone who is bailed out of jail, their next court appearance may be anywhere from several days to a few weeks later.
If prosecutors charge the individual, the accused would have an arraignment hearing in which they would learn the charges leveled against them. The accused has the right to have their criminal law attorney present at their arraignment. The accused may enter a plea at their arraignment if they wish, or else their criminal defense attorney could help them fight the charges with a not-guilty plea.
Alternatively, the plea bargaining phase may commence, which could be favorable for both sides. The state does not want to go to trial because of the expense and time involved, and a plea bargain may offer a reduced charge to the accused in exchange for a guilty plea.
A Fort Oglethorpe attorney could advise someone whether negotiating a plea bargain is the best course of action in their case. If a plea bargain is not reached, the case would proceed until the pre-trail motion phase before arriving at trial.
At trial, the accused and their criminal defense lawyer would have the opportunity to mount their defense, including refuting evidence and allegations leveled by the prosecution to fight for a positive outcome against these charges.
When someone has been charged with a crime in Fort Oglethorpe, it is important to understand the possible penalties that are on the table. Georgia law establishes two classifications of misdemeanors with a specific range of penalties. However, these consequences of actions are ascribed based on the case itself, all of which are unique. Misdemeanors may carry up to 12 month’s incarceration, while a felony conviction may be accompanied by more than a year (and for many crimes, multiple years) of jail time.
Under O.C.G.A §17-10-3, general misdemeanors could result in up to a year in jail or a diversion center, and $1,000 in fines. Misdemeanors of a high and aggravated nature may also incur up to 12 month’s incarceration, and up to $15,000 in fines (see O. C.G.A §17-10-4).
In the state of Georgia, felony penalties may range from 12 months in prison to the death penalty, with the specific sentencing ranges depending on the individual offense. For example, an aggravated assault conviction may carry a prison sentence ranging from one to 20 years, with minimum mandatory sentences for assaults against the elderly and peace officers of three and five years, respectively.
Everyone should know that they have a legal right to a defense attorney. Whenever someone is facing a criminal charge, they should pick up the phone and contact a Fort Oglethorpe criminal lawyer right away. A dedicated attorney who knows and understands the law could fight for you to defend your rights if you are charged with a criminal offense.
Call today to schedule your confidential case consultation with a Fort Oglethorpe attorney.