Welcome to the blog of Atlanta criminal defense attorney Lisa Wells! Check back in soon for new posts with news and information regarding criminal laws in Georgia and around the United States.
In Georgia, and in the Atlanta area, most people rely on their vehicles for daily transportation back and forth to work, to go shopping and to run errands, besides going out for entertainment or other important day trips. Many drivers do not think twice about the privilege they have been afforded in driving their vehicle – they do not think about that privilege until it is threatened to be taken away, or is taken away.
State of Georgia Tough on Traffic Offenses
While most drivers are willing to pay higher insurance premiums or expensive driving fines, those same drivers will fight to retain their driver’s license and to stay out of jail. The Georgia Department of Driver Services (GA DDS) is serious about Georgia traffic offenses and considers dangerous, negligent or incompetent drivers to be a menace. The GA DDS will cancel, suspend or revoke your driving privilege if it is abused. Georgia drivers accumulate points for traffic offenses – these points add up and can lead to license suspension.
What Traffic Offenses Put Points on My License?
The points for Georgia traffic offenses range from 1-point to 6-points per violation. For drivers 21 or older, accumulate 15 or more points in a 24-month period your license will be suspended for 1-year. For drivers 18 but not yet 21 receive 4 or more points and your license will be suspended for at least 6-months. Drivers under the age of 18 who accumulate 4 or more points in a 12-month period results in your Georgia driver’s license being suspended for at least 6-months.
If you receive a ticket for a violation that will add points to your license, cause your license to be suspended, or have a conviction record placed on your record, contact an Atlanta traffic offense lawyer who can review the many defenses that may be made for your specific situation.
Examples of Atlanta traffic offenses that add points to your driving record are violations such as reckless driving (4 points), going 19 to 23 mph over the posted speed limit (3 points), improper or no use of a child restraint device (1 to 2 points), unlawful passing of a school bus (6 points), disobeying any traffic control device or traffic officer (3 points), possessing an open container of alcohol while driving (2 points), failure to adequately secure a load (2 points), HOV lane violation (1 point) and as a final example, aggressive driving (6 points). Call the Georgia traffic offense attorney Lisa Wells to discuss your case and develop a plan to reduce or remove the points from your record.
Let an Atlanta Traffic Offence Attorney Review Your Case
The Georgia Department of Driver Services can suspend, cancel and revoke your driving privilege. While license suspension is temporary for a specific period of time, when your license is revoked your driving privileges are terminated and withdrawn. Your license may be cancelled if you give false information on your driving license application or are ineligible to drive. The Georgia traffic offense attorney Lisa Wells will review your case and situation and work to reduce or dismiss a violation through numerous defenses that may fit your specific offense. Lisa Wells, Attorney at Law, specializes in traffic offenses as well as traffic violations that result in mandatory suspension or mandatory revocation of your license. Call the legal expert in Georgia traffic offenses today for a free consultation.
The Georgia court system takes a hard stand against illegal drug use with resulting sentences often giving the label of convicted felon in addition to years of jail time and hefty fines. The Controlled Substances Act (CSA) enacted into law in 1970 is the Federal drug possession policy that regulates the manufacture, importation, possession, use and distribution of specific drugs that are often used illegally. Drug possession of even a small amount of an illegal drug or possession of drug related paraphernalia without the actual drug may result in the judge sentencing you to the mandatory minimum sentence for Georgia drug possession.
Mandatory Minimum Georgia Drug Possession Sentence
The mandatory minimum sentence for Georgia drug possession means that the court cannot sentence you to serve less time than the mandatory minimum. In addition, you would not be able to receive an early parole until after the minimum sentence in jail has been served for drug possession. According to the Georgia Drugs and Narcotics Agency, Georgia drug possession guidelines assist the court in determining what the mandatory minimum punishment would be. As an example, for drug possession of marijuana, sentencing could result in a misdemeanor or felony charge with jail time ranging from 1-year to 10-years of jail time, even if this is a first offense.
Georgia Drug Possession Criminal Code
The penalty in the State of Georgia for drug possession will vary dependent on the type of illegal drug, the amount of illegal drug you have, your intention to use or sell, and if this is your first, second or third offence for drug possession. In Georgia, drug possession of marijuana can carry jail time of up to 10 years, while drugs such as heroin, LSD, ecstasy, cocaine, oxycodone or methamphetamines can carry jail time of up to 30-years for second offenses. The Georgia Criminal Code describes 5-schedules of controlled substances with most felony drug possession charges falling into the Schedule I or Schedule II categories.
- Schedule I includes drugs such as Heroin, LSD, MDMA and Ecstasy; all of these drugs have a high potential for abuse and are not used for medical treatment
- Schedule II drugs with a high potential for abuse and are also used in medical treatment include Cocaine and Amphetamines
- Schedule III drugs are controlled substances which are often abused and are used in medical treatment. These drugs include depressants, stimulants, and anabolic steroids.
- Schedule IV while similar to Schedule III medications have less of a potential for abuse in the community. These drugs include various depressants and stimulants.
- Schedule V are controlled substances with a lowered potential for abuse and are frequently used for medical treatment. These medications include certain narcotics that are often mixed with other agents for prescription use.
Atlanta Georgia Drug Possession Attorney
Whether this is your first, second, or even third offense having a proven expert Atlanta drug possession attorney heading up your case will give the best opportunity to reduce or remove the charges, receive a conditional discharge without a conviction or guilty plea on your record, or be placed on probation instead of jail time. Conviction of a felony will affect your job, the privilege of holding a driver’s license, your ability to receive financial aid for education, your ability to buy a home, and your standing in the community.
Choosing the right Georgia drug possession lawyer is critical to explore all options and protect your constitutional rights while working to avoid a criminal conviction for drug possession. You only have once chance to avoid criminal charges and challenge State’s evidence against you – Call Lisa L. Wells, Attorney At Law, your Atlanta area drug possession attorney today.
According to the Chattanoogan.com, there has been a statewide DUI crackdown in Georgia. The Georgia DUI crackdown called “Operation Zero Tolerance,” was created when House Bill 336 was passed adding a felony level DUI charge for repeat offenders. This Georgia DUI bill was an important change in Georgia law where multiple Georgia DUI arrests can now lead to strict punishments and felony convictions for high-risk violators. A felony level DUI charge can be leveled against an offender who accumulates up to four drunk-driving convictions during a 10-year driving record.
Georgia DUI Statistics
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) reports that Georgia DUI currently ranks 7th in the nation, with 45,598 3rd time offenders, 5,782 5th time offenders, 298 Georgia DUI fatalities and 24% of total traffic deaths DUI related. MADD continues to report that Georgia DUI state subsidy of drunken driving fatalities is $1.46 Billion dollars. With almost one out of every three traffic deaths involving drunken driving, the problem of Georgia DUI is a serious one. In the U.S. someone is killed in a drunken driving crash every 52 minutes, or 10,228 people a year. Every 90-seconds someone is injured in a preventable event.
Georgia DUI Felony Law
Under Georgia DUI law, felony level charges can be charged against a driver with prior DUI convictions. Expert legal counsel is necessary immediately after your traffic stop, charge and possible arrest. Under the new Georgia DUI law convictions add up over a 10-year period and with an experienced Georgia DUI attorney your conviction may be dismissed or reduced to a lower level. Having immediate legal consultation can mean the difference between a felony conviction or a much lesser charge. The Georgia DUI convictions are as follows:
- 1st and 2nd Georgia DUI convictions are misdemeanors
- 3rd DUI conviction are treated as high and aggravated misdemeanors
- 4th and further convictions within a 10-year period are treated as felonies
The fines and penalties for each of the convictions are as follows:
- 1st Georgia DUI carries a fine up to $1,000, jail time from 10-days to 1-year, minimum of 40 hours of community service for those with DUI at .08 BAC or above, or minimum of 20 hours of community service for DUI below .08 BAC, completion of a DUI alcohol or drug use risk reduction program, a clinical evaluation and any prescribed follow up treatment, 1-year of probation.
- 2nd Georgia DUI carries a fine up to $1,000, jail time from 90-days to 1-year, with a minimum of 72-hours of actual jail time, minimum of 30-days community service, the completion of a Georgia DUI alcohol or drug risk reduction program, a clinical evaluation and completion of necessary treatment, 1-year probation.
- 3rd time Georgia DUI carries fines up to $5,000, jail time from 120 days to 1-year with a minimum of 15 days of actual jail time, minimum of 30 days community service, completion of Georgia DUI alcohol or drug risk reduction program, a clinical evaluation and completion of necessary treatment, 1-year probation.
- 4th time and further Georgia DUI convictions carry fines up to $5,000, jail time from 1-year to 5-years with minimum of 90-days of actual jail time, minimum of 60-days of community service, completion of Georgia DUI alcohol or drug risk reduction program, a clinical evaluation and any necessary treatment, 5-years’ probation.
Georgia DUI Defense Can Reduce Penalty Charges
An experienced Georgia DUI attorney can often have your case dismissed or penalty reduced. The State of Georgia has two ways to convict someone for DUI – one way is to show 0.08 grams or more of blood alcohol concentration within three hours of driving a vehicle which is called the “per se” provision under Georgia DUI law. The other way to convict is to show that the driver is “less safe” to drive a vehicle – even with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05 grams or less, the State can try and convict under the provision you were “less safe” due to alcohol or other intoxicants. Having an Atlanta DUI attorney on your case from the beginning can very often rebut all inferences being made against you as well as attacking the accuracy of any field hand-held breathalyzer and field sobriety tests administered.
A good Georgia DUI defense can not only save you money in fines and insurance costs, but an expert in Georgia DUI legal provisions can also save you jail time, your driving license, and even your ability for a future job; a Georgia DUI charge goes on your permanent record. Get the Georgia DUI attorney you need to help reduce or clear your charges before you are faced with a felony record that will follow you wherever you go for the rest of your life – call Lisa Wells, Attorney at Law for the expert you need now.
Under Georgia law there are many kinds of theft that carry punishments of both fines and jail time. Georgia theft laws are a direct reflection on how serious the State is about prosecuting those convicted of theft. In Georgia theft refers to taking possessions or services unlawfully without payment or permission. The theft can include physical items, charging for a service that was never completed, not paying for a service that was done for you, theft of a company’s trade secrets, keeping a lost item that you found, and numerous other acts of “stealing” under Georgia theft laws.
What is the Difference between Misdemeanor and Felony Theft?
Under Georgia statutes, Georgia theft laws describe the various types of theft and the penalties associated with them. With complex state laws and legal processes it is critical to retain legal counsel to represent you with prosecution of these serious crimes. All Georgia theft is considered either a misdemeanor or a felony crime. A theft is considered a misdemeanor if the value of the stolen property or service is $500 or less, with penalties of fines up to $1,000 and up to 1-year in prison. Georgia theft becomes a felony when the value of the property or service stolen is worth more than $500, with the sentence no less than 1-year and no more than 10-years in prison. Some of the more common types of Georgia theft include:
What are the Different Types of Georgia Theft?
- Theft by taking: This means that a person unlawfully took possession of any item or piece of property that belongs to another. It does not matter how the item was taken. This is the simplest form of Georgia theft, and if you have another person’s property and deprive them of it you can be charged and found guilty of theft by taking.
- Theft by deception: This means that you were able to get something from another by deceitful means. This includes billing someone for a service that was not done, accepting payment for something you know will not be done, or selling property or an item without disclosing that there is a lien or loan still on it. Georgia theft by deception is more complex due to the intention of theft involved to deceive another out of their property or money which may involve confirming another’s wrong assumption about a fact or event when you know it is wrong.
- Theft by conversion: Georgia theft by conversion means that you took someone’s money to apply it in some manner for them, such as a deposit or payment, and instead you used it for your own purposes. For example, an officer or an employee of a government or financial institution does not apply your payment to the intended account, but rather, pockets the money for their own use. In addition, Georgia theft by conversion also applies to rental property that you are using; if you do not return such property when the owner demands it back then you have committed theft by conversion.
- Theft of services: In Georgia theft of services involves receiving a service, entertainment or an accommodation with no intention of paying for it. This includes not paying for maid service, not paying for a hotel room or meal, or item that requires payment of some sort. Georgia theft law ensures that service providers are able to collect the fee they are due by making the theft of services a crime.
- Theft by receiving stolen property: This type of theft is a crime which involves receiving stolen goods whether or not you are aware that they are stolen. You have committed a Georgia theft crime if you receive, get rid of, or keep property that you know or should know is stolen.
- Theft of lost or mislaid property: Many people may not realize that this is a crime under Georgia theft law. If, for example, you find a lost wallet and make no effort to return it to its rightful owner, then you have now committed theft of lost or mislaid property. Effort needs to be made to return the property under the law.
- Shoplifting: Shoplifting has its own specific punishments under Georgia theft law. Shoplifting includes any attempt to conceal an item, change the listed price, or failing to pay in full for an item removed from a store. Unlike the other Georgia theft crimes, a misdemeanor conviction involves stealing an item under $300; a felony shoplifting conviction involves stealing items that are worth more than $300.
- Other types of Georgia theft include theft of trade secrets, theft by extortion, livestock theft, theft for taking stolen property out of or into the state, and theft for receiving property stolen in another state. All types of Georgia theft require expert legal representation to successful plead your case or reduce charges and penalties. Georgia theft law is strict and you need an attorney that knows the statues and proceedings within the Georgia court system.
Atlanta Theft Attorney
Get the expert legal counsel you need at a time like this. Georgia theft and shoplifting laws are stringent and are enforced according to the law. Call your Atlanta theft attorney Lisa Wells for your theft or shoplifting charge. Schedule a free consultation visit to go over your specific situation and Georgia theft charges and put an expert on your side.
The State of Georgia takes a hard stand on those driver’s that violate traffic laws and endanger the lives of others by driving under the influence or driving without regard to the safety of others. Georgia’s Department of Driver Services can and will suspend your driving privilege for a variety of both traffic offenses and driving infractions. Georgia driver license suspension becomes mandatory if you used your vehicle to commit a felony, killed another person with your vehicle, were involved in a hit or run, or were driving without insurance to name just a few examples.
Georgia Driver’s License Suspension
Mandatory Georgia driver’s license suspension is a serious legal matter. Having your license suspended by the court means that you are not permitted to drive. If you are discovered to be driving after your license is suspended you can face imprisonment for up to five years or the length of your Georgia driver’s license suspension significantly increased. Experienced legal counsel can direct you through the process of obtaining a limited driving permit following your license suspension. While a limited driving permit allows you to drive, there are strict limitations that must be followed or you will face convictions for your violations of the conditions of the permit. Georgia traffic rules and regulations are often complex and having a seasoned attorney on your side is crucial for your court case.
Violations and Convictions That Result in License Suspension
Mandatory Georgia driver’s license suspension is the result of being convicted of numerous serious driving infractions and offenses. The Georgia Department of Driver Services dictates that any of the following will result in a mandatory Georgia driver’s license suspension with conviction:
- Homicide caused through the use of your vehicle
- Any felony committed where a vehicle was used in the crime
- Fleeing or trying to elude an officer while driving a vehicle
- Fraudulent application for, or the fictitious use of a Georgia’s driver’s license
- Driver of a hit-and-run accident, or leaving the scene of an accident
- Racing your vehicle either alone or with other drivers
- Driving a vehicle while you have a revoked, canceled or suspended registration
- Conviction for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Failure to appear in court or respond to a traffic citation
- Any violation of the Georgia Controlled Substance Act
- Driving without being properly insured to at least minimum standards
- Accumulation of 15 points within a 2-year period, both in and outside ofGeorgia
- And numerous other traffic infractions and offenses that can result in Atlanta driver’s license suspension
Atlanta Limited Driving Permit
Retaining legal guidance from an experienced Atlanta driver’s license suspension attorney is critical in the possible reduction of charges or dismissal of the conviction. There are many situations where a limited driving permit can be obtained following a Georgia driver’s license suspension. A limited driving permit in the State of Georgia does allow you to drive a motor vehicle, however the permit will only allow you to:
- Drive back and forth from your place of employment or to perform the daily normal duties of your occupation
- Drive to scheduled medical appointments or to the pharmacy to pick up prescribed medications
- Drive back and forth to registered classes at college where you are enrolled as a student
- Drive back and forth to support group meetings for drug or alcohol abuse
- Drive back and forth to a driver education program, or to a drug/alcohol treatment program
An experienced Atlanta driver’s license suspension attorney knowledgeable in Georgia traffic rules and regulations will work for you to receive court approval on your limited driving permit that has been customized for you. Limited driving permits need to be strictly adhered to in-so-far as to specific places you may drive to, specific routes of travel, the times you may drive, and other details that will allow you to continue on with your school and/or work schedule. A limited driving permit can be made to also work around your personal and medical needs. The Atlanta driver’s license suspension lawyer Lisa Wells is a formidable partner to have in hammering out the details of your case before the judge and court. Call for a free confidential consultation today and get your life back on track so you can move ahead with future plans.
Domestic violence is a serious rapidly growing problem throughout our society. In the United States, domestic violence claims the life of three women every day and every nine-seconds a woman falls victim to some form of domestic violence. The Georgia Commission of Family Violence (GCFV) ranks the State of Georgia 10th in the nation for the rate of fatalities of women. The GCFV report is even more disturbing in that in 43% of fatal domestic violence cases children were witness to this violent act. The domestic violence report indicates that in 75% of the fatalities in 2010, a firearm was the murder weapon.
The problem of domestic violence is everyone’s problem and it has taken a stronghold in our state of Georgia– With more than 23,000 orders of protection and stalking orders issued each year, domestic violence is on the rise. Children become the victim as well when they witness abusive behaviors. The Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence (GCADV) track long term statistics that indicate children who grow up as a witness to domestic violence may grow up to be an abuser in their relationships, and men in particular, are 2-times as likely to exhibit domestic violence as an adult.
End the Fear – Stop Living with Atlanta Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behaviors or coercive control that the abuser will use to gain control and power over another person. The abuser can be either a man or a woman; however a woman is most often the victim in these cases. In same-sex relationships the reported rate of domestic violence is similar to that of a woman in a heterosexual relationship. Domestic violence tops the list of leading causes of injury to women, occurring more often than rape, car accidents and muggings.
It is time to stop the pain and fear associated with being a victim in a domestic violence relationship. Call your Atlanta domestic violence attorney Lisa Wells for a free confidential discussion of your specific situation – if you are unable to come in to the office, other arrangements can be worked out. Lisa Wells, while sensitive to your needs, will be a powerful advocate for you in setting up legal protection and planning for a safe retreat. Let her be your voice to speak up and stop the horror of domestic violence through every legal means available.
Georgia Domestic Violence Comes in Many Forms
When the term domestic violence is heard, most people, including the victims, believe that it speaks of physical violence where you receive personal injuries; the injuries may be hidden from public view, but they are real and they do exist. However there are numerous other forms of Georgia domestic violence and each one brings its own fear, pain, and often self-proclaimed embarrassment to the victim.
Physical domestic violence is the one form of violence that most people think of when they hear the term domestic violence. The abuser may hit, punch, burn, cut, bite, pinch, spank, poke, or any other type of physical harm or personal injury. Physical domestic violence also includes forcing the victim to take drugs. In addition the abuser may hurt or torture the victim’s pet, threatening to kill or give away the pet. The abuser may also hide or take away needed medication, glasses, a leg brace or other items that may make them a prisoner in their own home. You need a lawyer who has proven their competence through the court system helping victims break the chains of domestic violence – make the call to Lisa Wells, yourAtlanta domestic violence attorney.
Emotional domestic violence or abuse is where the abuser will call their partner hurtful names, put them down, and blame them for anything real or imagined that went wrong. The victim is often humiliated in front of others. The emotional domestic violence abuser keeps their partner isolated and the victim constantly worries about what might happen if they make their tormentor angry.
Psychological domestic violence or abuse is often a long slow process that develops over time, often over years, where the victim generally feels confused and unsure as to how they feel, and often believe the lies and miss-truths that they hear over and over about themselves. Over time the victim believes that they are second-rate and are un-deserving of anything positive about themselves.
Sexual domestic violence generally means that the abuser enjoys causing hurt and pain during sex, or they like to force their partner to perform sexual acts against their will, and out of fear of angering their abuser. This type of domestic violence also includes the behavior where the abuser may force their partner to have sex for money or to knowingly infect them with HIV/AIDS or other STD.
Economic domestic violence abuse involves controlling behavior where the victim is not allowed to handle any of the money, go to work or school. If the victim is allowed to work, their freedom is severely curtailed where they have to account for every moment of their day and where the abuser may call or check on them during working hours to make sure they are where they are supposed to be. Every year in theUnited States over 8-million dollars of paid time are lost due to domestic violence.
Atlanta Domestic Violence Attorney Lisa Wells
Domestic violence is a growing problem in our society and sometimes the charges are false. Retaining an Atlanta domestic violence attorney like Lisa Wells will team you up with an experienced, proven and knowledgeable lawyer that will take the necessary legal actions required make the best case for your situation.
According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Georgia burglary statistics for 2011 show that there were 94,044 burglaries reported, with Georgia burglary accounting for 24.30% of reported crimes. There is a Georgia burglary rate of 958.1 per every 100,000 residents. In the State of Georgia, burglary is the act of entering or remaining in any type of structure, building or vehicle without permission and with the intent of committing a felony.
Georgia Burglary Sentences
Burglary is a crime taken very seriously in Georgia and the severity of the penalty with conviction depends on whether you are charged with 1st, 2nd, or 3rd degree burglary. Even if the act of burglary is not completed and you are charged with criminal attempt, the penalty is based on the originally intended crime. Penalties for Atlanta burglary can range from a fine to probation, to a minimum of 1 year to a maximum of 20 years in prison. For a 1st Georgia burglary conviction the judge may sentence you from 1-20 years, for a 2nd conviction you face 2-20 years, and for a 3rd conviction the penalty is 5-20 years – Georgia law requires the minimum jail term be served if convicted.
Types of Atlanta Burglary Convictions
- First Degree Burglary: This term describes the crime as unlawfully entering a private home, structure, boat, vehicle, etc., where the person intends to commit a crime against the property or the person/people in the property. First degree Atlanta burglary is a Class A felony and carries more severe punishments.
- Second Degree Burglary: This type of burglary involves entering and theft from a business or commercial property. While theft can be petty theft or grand larceny, the conviction of burglary deals specifically with the act of unlawful entry with the intent to commit a crime.
- Third Degree Burglary: This term includes entering a home, a business, a private or commercial structure with the intent to steal or to commit other felonies. The issue of intent may be a defense strategy used by your Atlanta burglary attorney in that you may have had a legal purpose for being present on the property or that you did not have initial intent when you entered the building.
Very often the difference between being charged with a 1st, 2nd or 3rd degree Atlanta burglary depends on if anyone was in the home or business, the presence or use of a weapon, and the type of tools used to gain access to the building, as well as the type of establishment (i.e., bank or financial institution, pharmacy with the intent to steal narcotics). If you have been arrested for an Atlanta burglary you need immediate expert criminal representation to protect your rights and to begin the stages of defense – call your Atlanta Georgia burglary attorney Lisa Wells for the legal defense strategies that you need.
Atlanta Burglary Attorney
Retaining a qualified experienced Georgia burglary attorney is of the utmost importance. You need a criminal defense lawyer who understands the Georgia legal system, State of Georgia Court proceedings and how to develop the best defense strategy for your case. You may be able to negotiate a plea agreement, be able to reduce the degree and type of crime charged against you, have evidence ruled inadmissible, or successfully present your defense to the Court where charges are dismissed or significantly reduced.
The Atlanta burglary criminal defense attorney to call is Lisa Wells – every case is different, and each defense strategy needs to be customized to the specific situation and extenuating circumstances. If you are facing Georgia burglary charges, call today to set up an initial consultation visit. Your life and your future hang in the balance – your choice of a criminal defense attorney can have life-altering consequences and hardships for both you and your family – Make the call!
In what may have been an attempt to profit from the upcoming Super Bowl game and the parties associated with it, two men were arrested recently for stealing $65,000 worth of frozen chicken wings from their cold storage employer using a forklift and a rental truck, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The men may have been motivated by recent media coverage indicating a possible chicken wing shortage, such as the story on ABC News. It seems funny, but in Georgia this is a felony offense because what was taken was worth more than $5,000 according to the 2012 legislative session regarding Georgia Theft Statutes. The reporter indicated that the whereabouts of the chicken wings was unknown, so apparently the thieves were not caught quickly enough to immediately return the frozen wings to the employer’s cold storage facility.
Sometimes good people do bad things. Not every thief is an awful person. Sometimes people are coerced to commit a crime by threats of bodily harm to themselves or a loved one, or blackmailed some other way. Occasionally people will take something they believe belongs to them and sometimes people are wrongly accused of theft. In the United States our constitution gives us the right to due process of law. Defense attorneys are trained to be an advocate for the accused person. The attorney will ask the defendant very specific questions and seek necessary evidence to disprove all or portions of the charges. By telling the complete truth to the defense attorney, the accused has a much better chance of finding favor with a jury and a judge during criminal proceedings, which can result in a not guilty verdict or a lesser charge.
If you are facing criminal theft charges you will be questioned by police, a prosecution attorney, and a judge. It is in your best interest not to speak to anyone but your attorney about the details of your arrest. You need someone who will be on your side to help tell your account of what really happened. Schedule a free consultation with Atlanta theft attorney Lisa Wells if you’re facing a criminal charge. She has the training and experience to provide you with excellent representation.
Georgia Supreme Court Rules on Complaint of Failure to Merge Criminal Law Charges
The United States is a nation built on laws intended to maintain order within our society. When someone breaks the law, justice is meted out. It sounds so simple, but most crime is not that cut and dried, and it’s in the gray areas that the challenge to the law arises, because while society demands justice, even those convicted of violent crime have rights. The struggle to balance those rights sometimes raises questions that layer over one another.
In 2009, 57 year old Daisy Pearl Brown of Swainsboro, Georgia, was fatally stabbed in her home. Her tenant, Michael Alvin Reddings, called 911 to report her death. Emergency responders found the door to her trailer had been forced open, blood spatters throughout the house, and the victim in the bathroom, dead from six stab wounds in the head, neck, torso, and back. Wounds to her hands were consistent to typical defense injuries, indicating that Ms. Brown had tried to prevent her death.
Mr. Reddings was ultimately convicted of murder, aggravated assault, and two weapons possession counts and sentenced to life without parole, followed by 5 years (consecutive) for the first weapons count and 25 years (concurrent) for the second. He filed a motion for a new trial, which was denied. He then appealed that denial to the Georgia Supreme Court, claiming trial court reversible error. His motion contended that the court erred when it denied his request for a change of venue, and again when it failed to merge the assault conviction and the murder conviction.
Vacating Conviction Strengthens Georgia Criminal Law Defense
On February 4th, 2013, The Supreme Court upheld Redding’s murder conviction and found no abuse of discretion concerning venue, but it vacated the sentence on one of his weapons charges as well as the conviction of aggravated assault. While this ruling does not set aside Mr. Reddings’ murder conviction, it does strengthen the law on merges, oftentimes a crucial approach in a Georgia criminal defense lawsuit.
Citing numerous supporting decisions, including Drinkard v. Walker (2006), Coleman v. State (2009) and Grell v. State (2012) and referring to OCGA § 16-1-7 (a), which establishes double jeopardy protection, prohibiting multiple convictions (and punishments) for the same offense, the Justices found that the Court had erred when it did not merge the charges.
There was an exception, however, that the Justices also considered and addressed: separate convictions are allowed in instances of a “deliberate interval” between a non-fatal injury and the fatal injury, as found in Coleman, 286 Ga. at 295 (3), Ortiz v. State, 291 Ga. 3 (3) (727 SE2d 103) (2012), and Lowe v. State, 267 Ga. 410 (1) (b) (478 SE2d 762) (1996), but the Court found that it was impossible to establish which of Ms. Brown’s injuries were inflicted first or even the order of each occurrence. Thus, evidence of a “deliberate interval” between the injuries could not be proven, and Reddings’ aggravated assault conviction and the associated weapons possession conviction were vacated.
Atlanta Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you’re facing a criminal charge in Georgia, you need an experienced attorney on your side. Call Atlanta criminal defense attorney Lisa Wells today for legal help.