WHAT IS CONSIDERED A MISDEMEANOR?
A misdemeanor case in Georgia is any charge in which the maximum possible penalty is one year and a fine of $1,000. These can include a wide number of criminal offenses ranging from DUI to shoplifting, and while less severe than felony charges, misdemeanor convictions in Georgia can still follow a person for the rest of their life. As a result, it is important anyone facing a criminal offense call a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to discuss their case and begin building a defense.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MISDEMEANOR AND FELONY
One of the key differences between misdemeanor cases and felony cases is that misdemeanor cases tend to be over quicker. In misdemeanor cases, the person has a right to have a jury trial in front of a six-person jury. A felony jury, in contrast, is a twelve-person jury. Many Courts now have full time prosecutors, meaning every time you show up there’s a prosecutor there in order for you to negotiate your case or to set it down for trial.
REASONS TO FIGHT A MISDEMEANOR
For most misdemeanor offenses in Georgia, a person does not face jail time on a first offense. Certain charges such as DUI require a minimum of 24 hours in jail, but usually the courts say that the jail time that was spent when first arrested is adequate.
Although there is not much jail time given on most first offenses, quite often there is probation, especially with charge such as less than ounce of marijuana, domestic violence battery, or DUI.
However, if the person on probation gets into new trouble, even very minor trouble, they go back in front of the judge who has them on probation and the judge can convert that to jail time. The cumulative effect of having multiple misdemeanors is greater really in the sum than having them in separate ways.
For example, a person with the DUI is probably going to get twelve months probation, $1,000 fines, community service, etc. If several years later they get a marijuana charge, it’s probably going to be about the same again, but if they get that marijuana charge while they’re still on probation, it’s much, much worse.
WHY CONSULT WITH US
At Pasley, Nuce, Mallory & Davis, LLC, we have dedicated attorneys with known experience and knowledge of misdemeanors to help guide you and fight for you. If you have been charged with a misdemeanor, put our experience knowledge to work for you and get the help you need by contacting us at any of our 4 office locations.