Defendants accused of violent crimes in Georgia face serious punishment, including lengthy imprisonment, fines, and fees. Georgia law recognizes several different types of violent crimes. The most severe violent crimes include murder, aggravated assault, manslaughter, kidnapping, and domestic violence.
If you’re facing a criminal charge for a violent crime, you need to hire an experienced Atlanta criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. At Carter/Pilgrim, we have extensive experience helping defendants accused of violent crimes protect their freedom and their futures. We can help you build a strong criminal defense to seek the best possible result. Contact our Atlanta criminal defense lawyers today to schedule your initial consultation.
What Constitutes as Violent Crimes in Georgia?
Violent crimes include violent threats or crimes that result in the death or injury of another person. Violent crimes tend to have an especially negative stigma attached to them. Georgia prosecutors fight incredibly hard to prosecute people of violent crimes. The broad scope of violent crimes encompasses a wide array of offenses, including the following:
- Armed robbery
- Assault and battery
- Aggravated assault
- Aggravated battery
- Assault with a deadly weapon
- Assault causing major bodily injury
- Cruelty to children
- Domestic violence
- Terrorist threats
- Rape and other violent sexual offenses
All of the crimes listed above involve an aspect of violence. However, each violent crime requires that prosecutors prove a specific set of elements beyond a reasonable doubt. The penalties for each of the crimes vary as well. It is beneficial to explore each crime separately.
Murder is the most serious of all violent crimes in Georgia. The crime of murder occurs when a person kills another human with the intent to kill or to inflict bodily injury. Prosecutors must either prove that the defendant expressly intended to kill or inflict bodily injury on the person who died, or they must show that circumstances surrounding the crime show an implied intent to kill or cause serious injury. When the defendant used a deadly weapon, Georgia courts will automatically find that the defendant intended to kill the victim.
Georgia also recognizes the crime of felony murder. Felony murder occurs when the defendant kills another human being during the commission of a felony-level offense. For example, if the defendant was committing a felony drug crime and accidentally shot and killed a bystander, the state could charge the defendant with felony murder along with the original drug crime.
Voluntary and Involuntary Manslaughter
Voluntary manslaughter takes place when a person intentionally kills another person with adequate provocation. In other words, an action happened that would cause an ordinary person to feel such a “sudden and intense passion” that they would lose their self-control. In Georgia, finding a spouse in bed with someone else or the threat of deadly force can constitute adequate provocation. Verbal threats against the defendant are not enough to constitute adequate provocation.
Involuntary manslaughter occurs when a person kills someone with criminal negligence. For example, when a person kills someone while driving while intoxicated, the state could bring involuntary manslaughter charges. Involuntary manslaughter is a misdemeanor charge in Georgia and carries a sentence of not more than a year and a fine of up to $1,000. When the involuntary manslaughter occurs during the commission of another crime, prosecutors can bring felony charges that carry a prison sentence between one and ten years.
Sex-Related Violent Crimes
Georgia prosecutors take violent crimes of a sexual nature extremely seriously, especially when the victims are minors. Sexual crimes are extremely sensitive, and law enforcement and prosecutors can make defendants feel as if they have no hope. Violent sex crimes often come with mandatory minimum life in prison sentences and other harsh penalties, including registration on Georgia’s Sex Offender Registry. However, with a vigorous legal defense conducted by an experienced lawyer, defendants do have hope that a court will dismiss the charges.
Domestic Violence Crimes
Under Georgia law, domestic violence includes physically harming a family member or a household member. Jail time is a possibility for defendants who commit domestic violence. Those convicted could also lose their employment, child visitation rights, and professional licenses. Defendants mustn’t underestimate how serious domestic violence charges are in Georgia. Hiring an experienced Atlanta defense attorney can make a big difference when it comes to mitigating the risk of heavy penalties.
Assault includes any attempt to commit violent harm to another person or acting in a way that puts another party in reasonable fear of imminent bodily harm. The penalties for the crime of assault depend on whether Georgia prosecutors charge the offense as a misdemeanor or as a felony. When there are aggravating factors, defendants can face greater punishments, including jail time of up to 20 years. Aggravating factors can include using a deadly weapon, assault during a rape or robbery, or assault with the intent to murder.
Under Georgia law, kidnapping occurs when someone abducts or steals another person without legal authority and holds the victim against his or her will. Prosecutors must prove that the defendant changed locations with the victim. Defendants convicted of kidnapping face penalties ranging from 10 years to life in prison.
Penalties for Violent Crimes in Georgia
Defendants accused of certain types of violent crime in Georgia need to fully understand how the charges against them will negatively affect them. First-time offenders who commit lower-level crimes, such as misdemeanor assault, might face moderate penalties. On the other hand, repeat offenders, or those convicted of more serious violent crimes, face significant penalties:
- Kidnapping penalties range from 10 years to life in prison
- Kidnapping with bodily harm can come with a penalty of life in imprisonment
- Aggravated sexual battery can range from 10 years of jail time to the death penalty
- Armed robbery and murder charges can result in life imprisonment or the death penalty
Contact Our Atlanta Violent Crimes Defense Attorneys
If you are in the difficult circumstance of facing a violent crime charge, the stakes are much too high to leave your legal defense to chance. You will need to take swift action to protect your constitutional rights as a defendant. Contact our experienced violent crime lawyers today to schedule your initial consultation.