Criminal cases have become rampant in Atlanta, Georgia. For instance, in March 2022 alone, over 400 criminal defendants were convicted in courts for misdemeanor and felony cases. The experience can be traumatizing if you do not have a criminal defense attorney to represent you in court.
A professional Atlanta criminal defense lawyer should represent you in court and advice you on every trial step to ensure you get a fair sentence. The lawyer also helps you negotiate a plea bargain if needed. If you are not satisfied with the ruling, you can always hire an attorney to file an appeal.
At Diaz & Gaeta Law, our Atlanta criminal defense attorneys are experienced in handling your case and getting you a favorable judgment. For many years, we have defended the residents of Atlanta against various criminal charges. Our attorneys are well-versed in state and federal criminal law and are committed to your success.
What Are the Rights of a Criminal Defendant in Georgia?
Every time you get arrested by police in Georgia, you always have several legal rights that protect you. Here are some of these rights.
The Fourth Amendment
The Fourth Amendment prohibits law enforcement from carrying out unwarranted searches or unjustified seizures. It stipulates that the police need probable cause to stop you in the first place and conduct an unwarranted search.
The police are required to obtain a warrant from a judge before carrying out any search or seizure. It also stipulates that evidence obtained through illegal means is not admissible in court.
The Fifth Amendment
The Fifth Amendment encompasses a number of important protections for people facing criminal charges, including:
- Protection against self-incrimination (right to remain silent).
- Protection against double jeopardy (being prosecuted twice for the same criminal charge).
- The right to a fair trial.
- The right to a jury trial.
The Sixth Amendment
As per the Sixth Amendment, criminal defendants should be made aware of the criminal charges brought against them. It also guarantees the right to a public trial without delay. Under the Sixth Amendment, criminal defendants also have the right to know their accusers and confront them.
This amendment also guarantees your right to legal representation (the right to an attorney). For those who can’t afford one, the court should provide one for you. Under this amendment, the prosecution is required to reveal any evidence against you that will be presented to the judge and jury. Any evidence presented in court by the prosecution that wasn’t mentioned before goes against the Sixth Amendment.
The Eighth Amendment
The eighth amendment guarantees your right to post bail and protects you against excessive bail or fine amounts as well as cruel or unusual punishment. This amendment prohibits the courts from giving out unreasonable punishments based on personal feelings or prejudices against the defendant.
What Is a Misdemeanor vs. a Felony in Georgia?
Many states, including Georgia, distinguish a misdemeanor and a felony depending on the potential jail sentence length. Below is a good definition of how Georgian courts define the two terms:
In Georgia, a felony is a crime with a sentence of over one year. Georgia does not grade felonies, and most jail sentences for felonies range from one to twenty years. However, sometimes the court can impose a life sentence or the death penalty if you committed a capital crime. You get to serve your sentence at a state prison after a felony conviction.
A misdemeanor is a less severe crime than a felony, with a maximum fine of around $1,000 and a maximum jail sentence of fewer than twelve months. Georgia courts usually break down a misdemeanor case depending on its severity to get a fair verdict. If you are guilty of a misdemeanor case, you will serve your sentence in a local or county penitentiary.
Should I Consult an Atlanta Criminal Defense Lawyer Before Speaking to the Police?
Yes, always! Anytime you are arrested in Georgia, you have the right to remain silent until an attorney comes to listen to your case. You can always refuse to give out any information to the police without the help of an attorney. An attorney comes in handy in this case to ensure that the police will not use your words to testify against you.
What Is the Habitual Offender Law?
You are referred to as a habitual offender if you commit and get charged for a particular crime several times. In such a case, the court has the right to punish you with a severe sentence, as indicated by the Three Strikes section.
In Georgia, the habitual offender law dictates that the sentence should be given per the crime. However, the penalty may sometimes include hefty fines, intense rehab programs, and supervised probation.
How Can a Criminal Defense Lawyer Help Me?
A lawyer is essential every time you get arrested or charged with a crime. An Atlanta criminal defense lawyer will assist you in doing the following:
- Prepare Your Case: A criminal defense lawyer is skilled in focusing on the unique facts in your case rather than the arguments presented. The lawyer can help you consistently organize the facts to win the case.
- Bargaining for a Plea: If you feel that the sentence imposed on you is unfair, your criminal defense lawyer can always bargain for a plea to reduce your sentence. However, the lawyer will strive to get the case resolved to limit your conviction chances.
- Gauge the Trial Outcomes: A lawyer evaluates your charges and the presented evidence to devise an appropriate defense for you. The attorney advises you on each trial step to make the case easy.
- Representing You in the Trial: A criminal defense lawyer will present you in court during your trial. The attorney works tirelessly to get a positive outcome in the trial using impeccable negotiation skills.
What Is the Cost of Legal Representation in Georgia?
Generally, it is hard to determine how much a conviction will cost you. Georgia has different types, and the various criminal defense lawyers charge different amounts depending on the type of case.
Are There Benefits to Hiring a Private Atlanta Criminal Defense Attorney vs. Working with a Court-Appointed Attorney?
You have two options whenever you need an attorney to represent your case in court. One, you can hire a private attorney or request for a public defender, or rather a court-appointed attorney.
However, it would help if you understood that most public defenders are faced with overwhelming cases. They usually have simultaneous dozens of cases, and they can generally make mistakes when representing your case due to the limited time gathering the required evidence.
Most cases represented by public defenders usually end up in bargain pleas due to heavy workloads. The US Courts site estimates that more than 90% of the cases represented by public defenders end up in bargain pleas.
It would help if you always considered getting a private attorney when arrested. Don’t let a public defense attorney determine your fate! Let our criminal defense lawyers in Atlanta fight for your freedom.
Should I Accept a Plea Bargain?
Sometimes, the plea bargain works in your interests, but it deters you from appealing. If you accept the offer, the judge usually gives a lighter sentence but decides on the penalties to impose on you during the incarceration.
Our defense attorneys will strive to advise you on whether to accept a plea bargain during the trial. We will also negotiate for the offer if you face severe crimes and the judge fails to grant the plea bargain freely.
Appealing a Conviction in Georgia
You can always appeal your case in Georgia if you are unsatisfied with the sentence of the first ruling. Our reputable lawyers will help you file an appeal and negotiate to have your verdict overturned or reduced. You should understand that the process is not very simple as it involves some necessities.
You must file a Motion of a New Trial or Notice of Appeal 30 days after your first sentence. Our criminal defense attorneys at Diaz & Gaeta Law will assist you in filing either of these forms. We will then go through the proceedings of your original trial to create a list of the possibilities of appealing and come up with meaningful ideas to help you win the appeal.
Protect Your Constitutional Rights & Freedom With Unmatched Legal Representation In Atlanta
Facing criminal charges, whether felony or misdemeanor, is quite overwhelming. We can help you in court with representation and negotiations. Our criminal defense lawyers in Atlanta specialize in all matters regarding criminal charges.
At Diaz & Gaeta Law, we pride ourselves on being passionate about winning, and we will strategize from multiple angles to give us an advantage in winning your case. Do not hesitate to contact us anytime you have a criminal charge in Atlanta, Georgia. We are just a call away! Contact us at 678-329-9084 to schedule a free consultation.