10 Criminal Defense Tips

Have you been charged or arrested for a crime? Check out these 10 criminal defense tips for guidance, then call our Georgia attorneys today.


Charged with Disorderly Conduct

10 Criminal Defense TipsI had a client who was charged with disorderly conduct in Georgia. He was inquiring as to what an attorney could do for him in this case. Disorderly conduct is a misdemeanor in Georgia. If I’m the attorney on the case, I certainly can help you with that.

The misdemeanor punishments are up to one year in jail, up to $1,000 fine, and you may also have to do some anger management classes or have some other terms and circumstances that the court requires of you. If you hire me as your attorney to assist you, we can mitigate that punishment, and, in most cases, do away with the jail time or limit the fines. It may even be a situation depending on the circumstance that the disorderly conduct can be either dismissed or reduced to a county ordinance so that your criminal history is not affected, and it doesn’t follow you on through your life.


Choosing the Right Criminal Defense Attorney

I was speaking with a client of mine about how to select the best criminal defense attorney in Georgia to handle his particular matter. The best way to choose a good criminal defense attorney is to do Internet research on their experience. It is ideal for a criminal defense attorney to have both defending experience and prosecution experience. That makes them very well balanced and very able to handle your case because they’ve seen your case and other cases from both sides of the coin: the prosecution side and the defense side.


How the Criminal Defense Process Works

I had a client call recently because he was charged with a felony in Georgia. He asked me how the process worked, how the criminal defense process works. In the state of Georgia, if you’re charged with a felony, there are several different court dates that will occur in your case. The very first court date is called an arraignment. It is when you are notified of the specific charges and allegations against you.

The next step in the process after arraignment is the court will be scheduled – will schedule several plea days where you can negotiate your case with the assistant district attorney that is on the other side and is actually prosecuting the matter. Then eventually, you will be set for a pre-trial calendar where you discuss whether or not you want a bench trial, which is a trial simply in front of the judge, or whether or not you want a jury trial. That would be a trail in front of 12 Georgia citizens that your attorney would have an opportunity to weigh in and help select. Then once the jury trial or bench trial is complete, there will either be a conviction or an acquittal. If there is a conviction, there will be a sentence after that.


Timeline of a Criminal Case in Georgia

Many of my clients are very concerned with how long a criminal case will take in Georgia. Many of my clients are employed outside the home. They have children. Timelines and timeframes are very important so that the family can plan, and their employers can plan.

Particularly in a felony case, there is no set time period or length that a case can take. It varies widely. I’ve had one case where it took two years, another case where it took five years. There is no pro forma timeframe on a felony matter.


Helping a Loved One with Their Criminal Charge

When I’m talking with my clients about how to prepare for defending their criminal charge, I always ask them to reach out to their friends, to their neighbors, and to their family who know them. As a friend of someone who is charged with a criminal offense in Georgia, you can do what’s called a witness affidavit, a character affidavit that speaks to the particular person’s character if they’re a good person or if they’re a good employee. You can offer this to assist your friend or family member if they’re charged with a criminal offense in Georgia.


Bonding out of Jail

I had a client call me from the jail. He was asking whether or not he needed to bond out of jail. He was charged with an offense in Georgia.

Absolutely, you would need to bond out of jail. It is ideal for you to be out of jail so that you can assist your criminal defense attorney, whether it’s me or someone else, with your case. It is so much easier to plan your defense and be more prepared if you’re actually out of jail and able to assist your lawyer.

If you’re charged with a misdemeanor in Georgia, that is automatically bondable. You should be able to receive a bond almost immediately. If you’re charged with a felony in Georgia, it may take a little longer because some of those charges, those bonds have to be set by a superior court judge.


Lying About Your Identity

In Georgia, you can be charged with giving false information to law enforcement if you provide inaccurate information to a police officer when you’re questioned about your name or date of birth. It’s giving false information to a law enforcement officer. It is a misdemeanor charge in Georgia.

It is punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a $1,000 fine. I’ve seen where community service has been ordered in these particular cases, as well. It is a bondable offense.


Drug and Gun Possession

I had a client recently who was charged with a drug offense, but then also had a weapon in his possession at the time that he was charged with the drug offense. In Georgia, because he was charged with having possession of a weapon, that is an additional five-year sentence that has to be served consecutively to any other sentence; consecutively means after you serve the sentence in the drug charge, the firearms charge is tacked on. It’s a very significant charge because it has to be handled consecutively.


Failing to Appear in Court

I’ve had a client call and ask what will happen if I fail to appear in court in a case in Georgia. If you fail to appear at a court date that has been noticed and you have received notice of the court date, you can be charged with a bench warrant. A Bench warrant can be issued. You will be arrested.

You will remain in jail until the judge on your case opts to bring you into court. That could be days, weeks, or months. It’s quite imperative that, if you have a court date, whether it’s a misdemeanor charge or a felony charge, you appear at each and every court date.

If you learn after the court date has passed and you missed the notice, you need to call the clerk of that court immediately and let them know that you did not receive the notice and that you will attend the next court date. You need to ask whether or not a bench warrant has been issued against you.


Shoplifting Charges

I had a client call recently who was charged with shoplifting in Georgia. Shoplifting can be a felony, but it can also be a misdemeanor. If it is under $500, it’s a misdemeanor; if it’s over $500, it is a felony. If it’s under $500, the punishment is up to 12 months in jail, and up to a $1,000 fine. There also may be some restitution depending on the situation.

The felony charges have increased and enhanced punishments.

Are you or a loved one in the process of a criminal defense case in Statesboro, Springfield, or Swainsboro and have questions about our 10 criminal defense tips? Contact the experienced Georgia criminal defense attorneys at Hall & Navarro today for a consultation and case evaluation. We can help get your life back on track.

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Martha Hall, Criminal Defense Attorney in Springfield, GA

Criminal Defense Attorney Martha Hall

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