If you are facing criminal charges in Georgia, there are many mistakes you need to avoid in order to give yourself the best chance of avoiding a conviction and harsh sentencing at trial. If you make assumptions, if you overlook key aspects of the law, or if you fail to approach your case with the seriousness it deserves, you could find yourself facing the consequences for years or longer.
Charged with a Crime in Georgia? Don’t Make These Costly Mistakes
Georgia’s criminal justice system is complicated, and there are several laws and constitutional principles that apply during criminal cases in the Georgia state courts. As a result, the single most important thing you can do when facing criminal charges is to discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Your attorney will be able to help you avoid mistakes such as:
Assuming You Will Be Convicted
Regardless of the circumstances leading up to your ticket or arrest, you must not assume that you will be convicted at trial. The prosecutor’s office has the burden of proving your guilt in court; if there isn’t sufficient evidence of your guilt, you cannot be legally convicted even if you committed a crime.
Assuming You Won’t Be Convicted
While there are many potential defenses to criminal charges in Georgia, you must also avoid assuming that you will walk free if your case goes to trial. Despite carrying a heavy burden of proof, prosecutors secure guilty verdicts all the time, and the rate of wrongful convictions is alarming. Even if you are certain that you have done nothing wrong, you must still approach your case as if it carries the risk of leading to a conviction.
Assuming the Police Followed the Law
Police officers make mistakes, just like everyone else. While it is possible that your stop and arrest were conducted in strict compliance with the law, it is also entirely possible that the arresting officer or a police investigator who questioned you when you were taken in for booking violated your constitutional rights.
Missing a Court Date
When facing criminal charges in Georgia, you will have to appear in court on multiple occasions. If you miss a court date, the judge can issue a bench warrant for your arrest, and you can be held in jail until your trial.
Simply Waiting for Your Trial Date to Arrive
In addition to making sure you appear for your court dates on time, there are various other steps you can take to protect yourself and build an effective defense strategy prior to your trial date. Rather than simply waiting for your case to go to court, you can:
· Request access to the state’s evidence against you
· File motions to challenge the admissibility of the state’s evidence in court
· Negotiate for a reduced charge or a reduced sentence
· Seek entry into Georgia’s Pretrial Diversion Program
· Take other steps to convince the court that you are remorseful and that you are working on reforming your conduct or seeking treatment for alcohol or drug dependence
Ignoring or Overlooking Possible Defenses
As we mentioned above, there are numerous possible defenses to criminal charges in Georgia. When your freedom is on the line, you need to explore all options for avoiding sentencing at trial. Even minor details can be enough to prevent the prosecutor’s office from meeting its burden of proof, and you want to be certain that you are fighting your charges available.
Failing to Understand the Consequences of a Conviction
Under Georgia law, all misdemeanors and felonies carry potential fines and jail time. In fact, the maximum penalties for misdemeanors start at up to a $1000 fine and 12 months in jail. In addition, the practical consequences of a conviction can impact all aspects of your work and personal life, from making it extremely difficult to find a job to preventing you from seeing your children.
Trying to Handle Your Criminal Case on Your Own
With these risks in mind, the best way to protect yourself when facing criminal charges in Georgia is to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you. Presenting a successful defense requires a thorough understanding of the law and intimate familiarity with the procedures involved in Georgia criminal cases.
Cam Law provides experienced legal representation for individuals who are facing misdemeanor and felony charges throughout Georgia. For more information about how we can protect you, call 770-608-2890 or contact us online.