Let Our Family Help Yours
Misdemeanor offenses can mean serious consequences for an individual who has been formally charged. The attorneys of Smith & Little, P.C. in McDonough consider ourselves family. As a family, we are sympathetic to the fact that penalties for misdemeanor offenses can have compounding effects that extend beyond the individual who has been charged and to their families and communities. If you face misdemeanor charges, you need a defense lawyer who understands what you are up against and will advocate for you and your rights.
Call Smith & Little, P.C. at (678) 272-8305 or contact us online to see how we can help.
Every legal process that follows an arrest for a misdemeanor presents opportunities for an experienced attorney to advocate on behalf of the defendant and take action that could significantly affect the outcome of the case. Again, misdemeanor charges can have big consequences. Our McDonough misdemeanor criminal defense lawyers at Smith & Little, P.C. recognize the gravity of a charge, which is why we fight to help our clients get what is fair for them and their families, from start to finish.
At an arraignment the prosecution formally announces the charges they will bring against a defendant. A defendant will also submit a plea at an arraignment.
One of the most significant aspects of arraignments for those who have been charged with a misdemeanor is the opportunity they have to file motions or demurrers.
- A motion is a formal request that the judge make a decision about a certain part of the case before it goes to trial
- A demurrer formally objects to the prosecution’s charges, suggesting specifically that the evidence they have presented is not enough to establish a “cause of action”
Both motions and demurrers can have significant impacts on the trial ahead, which is why it is important to seek an attorney you can trust to help counsel you in the early stages of your case.
During a preliminary hearing a judge decides whether there is enough evidence to establish probable cause for your case. A preliminary hearing is a pivotal moment in a misdemeanor case because it can be the end, if a judge elects to dismiss the case. A judge will permit this outcome if the prosecution’s evidence is not sufficient. It is important, then, to have a lawyer with the criminal law know-how to not allow a case to move forward with insufficient evidence. Should a judge, however, determine that the case should move forward to trial, then a preliminary hearing is just the beginning.
Before a trial, and even during, it is possible for a defendant to reach a plea bargain with the prosecution. A plea bargain might look like the prosecution allowing the defendant to plead guilty to a lesser charge, or it might look like an exchange of charges: the defendant pleads guilty to a particular charge, and in exchange the prosecution drops some of their other charges. Plea bargains often come from complicated negotiations between the prosecution and your defense attorney.
There are two kinds of trials: jury and bench. A cohort of community members who have been solicited to serve on the jury ultimately decide the fate of a jury trial, while a judge determines the outcome of a bench trial. Both kinds of trials have their specific advantages and disadvantages that depend on the kind of misdemeanor charges the prosecution has sought.
The conclusion of a misdemeanor case is its sentence. If convicted, the defendant officially faces the penalty for their charge during sentencing. As laid out above, these penalties can include up to a year in jail or a maximum fine of $1,000.
If you have been arrested, Smith & Little, P.C.’s McDonough misdemeanor criminal defense attorneys can help you every step of the way. Call us at (678) 272-8305 or contact us online to talk about the specifics of your case and how we can fight to defend you.
Being convicted for misdemeanor charges presents many challenges and that can even be life-altering.
Below is a list of the penalties for misdemeanor charges in Georgia:
- Up to a year in jail
- A maximum fine of $1,000
- Probation for a court-determined amount of time
- Restitution (which can mean you pay money to the victim in addition to your fine)
- Having your license suspended
- Legally mandated drug or alcohol counseling
There are also “misdemeanors of an aggravated nature,” which are charges that carry more significant consequences than a standard misdemeanor offense. These kinds of offenses generally mean an individual has previously been convicted of the same crime (a third DUI charge, for instance) or an individual committed the offense against a protected person such as a police officer. In Georgia, a misdemeanor of an aggravated nature can result in the same amount of jail time as a standard misdemeanor, but it can also mean up to $5,000 in fines.
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