What to do if you are facing criminal charges in Georgia?
It is not unheard of that the otherwise stand-up members of society find themselves embroiled with law enforcement. It is natural for you or your loved one to feel overwhelmed and confused when faced with criminal charges. On such occasions, it is essential to remember that you need to protect yourself. Meaning, if you have been involved in or suspected of a misdemeanor or a felony in Atlanta, Georgia, you need to calmly and succinctly remember the information related to your case. Not having a clear picture of what happened can be very damaging to your legal defense.
Types of Criminal Charges
Crimes are categorized into misdemeanor or felony offenses under Title 16 of the Georgia Code. Minor changes, like motor vehicle violations, trespassing, shoplifting, and simple assault, are commonly classified as Misdemeanors. Although they are classified as less severe than felonies, they can still attract heavy penalties. If found guilty of a misdemeanor, you or your loved one can be fined up to $5,000, do mandatory community service, and even be sentenced to one year of jail time.
Felony charges are severe. You or your loved one could be facing thousands of dollars in fines and court fees along with several years of imprisonment if you are charged with a Felony. Some examples of felony crimes are:
- Felony DUI charges;
- Assault and battery;
- Drug possession, manufacture, and distribution;
- Domestic violence;
- Sexual assault
The consequences of felony charges can be far-reaching. Since any felony conviction will stay on your record, finding jobs, securing student loans, and even finding housing can become a hindrance in finding employment.
Contact a lawyer immediately after your arrest.
The best chance to avoid the repercussions of a felony charge is to contact a felony lawyer in Atlanta. It is one of the most critical steps you can take. Getting an experienced lawyer who is well versed with the state’s laws can go a long way to help you secure a favorable outcome. The swifter you act, the better it is for your case, as it will allow your lawyer to gather the evidence before it disappears, talk to witnesses before they become untraceable to defend your case. Hiring the right attorney at the very start of your case will give you the best chance at having a great defense strategy.
Be Calm and Polite
When faced with criminal charges, it is difficult for anyone to stay calm and not get nervous. You are likely to feel agitated and confused, especially when you don’t know why the police are questioning you or when you are innocent of a crime.
Even when you believe that you are innocent and have been wrongfully arrested, you should not resist arrest or argue with the officer. It might make the arresting officer think that you are guilty, and they may press additional charges. However, even if you believe you have been wrongfully arrested and your rights have been infringed, it is still best not to resist arrest to avoid the possibility of any additional charges.
Exercise your right to remain silent
You have probably heard it on tv, “You have the right to remain silent…”. It is for a reason. The Fifth Amendment gives us all the right not to self-incriminate. If the officer asks you questions, you can politely refuse and say you would like to speak to your lawyer first before saying anything. While being question by the police can be scary, it is crucial to stay calm and reach out to a criminal defense attorney in Georgia.
Understand the charges you are facing
Often, people don’t understand the charges they are facing and how their severity can affect their lives. While a misdemeanor can cause a fine of up to $ 1000 and jail time of up to 1 year, a felony charge could be very harsh and have long-term consequences, including probation, drug or alcohol treatment, a prison sentence, and heavy fines.
If convicted, you may lose certain rights, such as the right to own a firearm, right to vote, among others. Understanding the severity of your situation will help you act and contact a lawyer with the necessary expertise and skills to help you out.
Don’t ever miss a court date.
In certain situations, you can have your lawyer attend hearings on your behalf without you being present before the court. It is not the case if you are charged with a felony, and even with misdemeanors requires the court to consent.
If a felony charge occurs, you lawyer will help you by providing you with the details of all the date of hearing. Be sure not to miss any court dates and place reminders that help you keep track of your hearings. If you forget your hearings, it might cause the court to issue a warrant for your arrest. It will only hurt your case.
Be honest with your Atlanta criminal defense lawyer.
You might feel reluctant about telling the complete story to your lawyer because you might feel it makes you or someone else look bad. You might also not want to be honest because you think this way you can protect someone. However, for your lawyer to defend you, they need to have the complete picture to create the best defense for you.
Avoid further criminal charges.
Once you learn of the ongoing criminal case against you, you must be careful of your conduct. While waiting for your trial date, avoid any further chances of getting arrested. Avoid drugs and drinking while you are driving. Avoid any activity that can land you with additional criminal charges. Getting arrested while you await your trial can compromise your lawyer’s ability to negotiate a lenient or lesser sentence for you.
Write down the details of the incident soon.
It is one of the best ways to remember all the details and not miss anything relevant. Since people forget details quickly, and even a tiny piece of information can significantly affect the outcome of your case, write the events down while they are fresh in your mind. Jot down information like the date and time, location, people around you, surroundings, and any discussion or communication. Provide this information to your criminal lawyer as soon as possible and be sure to keep this document safe. It’s always a good idea to put attorney-client information on the top of any such document as well so that in the event it fell into the wrong hands, it could not be used against you in court.
Are you facing criminal charges?
If you have been arrested and charged with a felony in Georgia, it is essential to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney Thomas C Nagel in Atlanta. I have represented clients accused of crimes in Georgia in all criminal and municipal courts for decades. I am familiar with the police, prosecutors, and judges in the Atlanta area and throughout Georgia. We often can have charges immediately reduced or even dismissed. If you need help, please reach out for a free consultation. I can help you fight these charges and mitigate possible repercussions. I can help you protect your rights, freedom, reputation, finances, and more. Please check out my client reviews and testimonials here.