Attorneys for criminal defense represent clients who are accused of crimes. To be ready for trial, they carry out a variety of duties, such as:
- Looking up local, state, and federal criminal legislation and laws
- Obtaining testimony from witnesses and experts
- Examining data or items that might be used as evidence
- Developing a criminal defense strategy
- Presenting testimony in court
- Filing appeals as necessary
Criminal defense lawyers occasionally play additional duties. Criminal mediation, for instance, is occasionally used in place of a trial. A criminal lawyer may help a client in these situations through these kinds of alternative dispute procedures.
What Kinds of Criminal Charges Are Most Common in Atlanta?
Common criminal charges in Atlanta, Georgia, similar to other urban areas, may include:
- Numerous theft-related offenses (such as auto theft)
- Drug offenses
- Battery, assault, and further “crimes against the person”
Atlanta also sees white-collar crime, immigration-related crime, and other criminal activity.
What Distinguishes Misdemeanors from Felonies?
Both misdemeanor and felony offenses may be helped with by Atlanta criminal defense lawyers. The average sentence for a misdemeanor crime is less than a year in prison. These include basic drug possession offenses, various forms of violence, and small-scale theft.
Felonies are more serious offenses that frequently result in longer prison terms. Additionally, rather than a county facility, the state prison is usually where the punishment is carried out.
Criminal offenses involving the distribution of drugs, violent violence, and murder are examples of felonies. Criminal fines are an option for both crimes and misdemeanors. Wobbler crimes are those that, depending on the specifics of the case, may be charged as either misdemeanors or felonies.
What Kinds of Criminal Defenses Could there be?
A defendant may be able to use one of the following criminal defenses in their case: self-defense, duress or necessity, insanity, intoxication, alibi, entrapment, and mistake.
What is Self Defense?
You can defend yourself if the following conditions are met:
- The defendant was not the aggressor;
- The defendant’s response was a reasonable one to the threat; and
- The defendant actually and reasonably believed that they were in imminent danger of serious bodily injury or death.
The law will typically permit the defendant to present a self-defense justification if the aforementioned elements are present.
It could be difficult to prove, especially if contradictory witness testimony is given. However, if self-defense can be demonstrated, the defendant will not be held criminally liable.
What are Duress and Need?
Georgia law recognizes the necessity and duress defenses for crimes committed under the prospect of death or serious bodily harm. For instance, the defendant may use duress as a defense to the allegation of auto theft if they threaten another person with a pistol to the head in order to coerce them into stealing a car.
The lesser harm defense, sometimes known as necessity, is not often used. For instance, this defense might be utilized if the defendant breaks into a chalet in the mountains to keep themselves from freezing to death in subzero weather.
If a defendant can demonstrate duress or need, they will have a strong defense.
Insanity: What Is It?
Usually, a mental illness or disability is not a defense. However, an insanity defense may keep a defendant from going to jail if they had a serious mental condition or defect at the time the crime was committed.
An insanity defense is based on the idea that the offender shouldn’t be punished because they cannot form the essential intent to be found guilty of the crime. However, it can be challenging to establish insanity.
Clear and accurate expert testimony regarding the defendant’s mental health is required for this defense. It’s also vital to remember that people who successfully argue their case for insanity are not released.
Instead, these people are taken to medical centers for treatment, where they remain until their mental health has improved. The length of the defendant’s mental health treatment may exceed the potential prison term they would have received in the event of a conviction.
A defendant may claim impaired ability in some states. This indicates that while some mental illnesses and flaws do not significantly impair a person to qualify them as mad, the law nonetheless acknowledges them.
When a diminished capacity argument is successfully raised, the charges may be changed from murder to manslaughter or the punishment reduced.
What is the Intoxication Defense?
In most cases, a defendant’s intoxication does not serve as a defense to criminal accusations, especially if the person did so voluntarily. Even if they would not have done it if they had been sober, the law holds people accountable for their decision to drink.
In some situations, intoxication may justify a lesser punishment if the defense can demonstrate that the defendant’s impairment from drugs or alcohol prevented them from being found guilty of willfully committing a crime due to their diminished capacity. If a defendant became intoxicated unintentionally, it might offer a complete defense in other circumstances.
For instance, a defendant would be deemed involuntarily inebriated if they broke the law as a result of inadvertently taking drugs or being made to drink a lot of alcohol.
What is an Alibi?
If a jury accepts an alibi, it offers a criminal defense and supports a claim of genuine innocence. The perfect alibi for a defendant would explain their whereabouts in a way that made it impossible for them to have done the crime.
Entrapment: What is it?
It is against the law in Atlanta for law enforcement personnel to coerce someone into committing a crime they did not intend to commit. Even if a person proves that their arrest was the result of entrapment, they cannot be found guilty of the crime.
But the problem with this kind of defense is that it frequently pits the defendant’s testimony against that of the law enforcement official. When a defendant has a criminal history, a jury is more inclined to believe the testimony of the law enforcement officer than the defendant’s testimony.
What is a Mistake of Law?
A mistake of law and a mistake of fact are the two types of errors that might occur in legal disputes. A legal error occurs when a person misrepresents or is unaware of the law.
However, a legal error does not excuse or justify the unlawful activity. Every person is accountable for understanding and upholding local, Georgia, and federal laws.
A defendant may be found guilty of a crime they were unaware they had committed. On the other hand, a factual error might be a strong defense.
If a defendant can prove that they stole the wrong bag by mistake, they may be able to avoid a theft conviction, for instance, if they unintentionally pick up someone else’s luggage at the airport because they thought it belonged to them.
Do I Need My Own Criminal Defense Attorney?
The state often pays for a criminal defense attorney in every criminal case. However, many defendants decide to work with their own legal counsel. This can be quite advantageous, particularly if the defendant has certain preferences and demands for their attorney.
If you require legal counsel, you might need to employ a criminal defense attorney in Atlanta, Georgia. As a criminal defendant, you have certain rights; your lawyer can explain them to you and act as your advocate during the proceedings.