“Criminal law has to do with relations between the misbehaving individual and his government… Criminal law establishes rules of conduct; their breach, if prosecuted and conviction follows, results in punishment.” – Lawrence M. Friedman –
The above quote generally outlines the criminal justice system in the U.S.
But, every state has a different framework that establishes their unique style of justice.
Thanks to former governor, Nathan Deal, and current governor, Brian Kemp, Georgia is the nationwide leader in criminal justice reform. These reforms have saved our taxpayers millions of dollars, increased the number of taxpayers, given veterans, addicts, and offenders with mental health issues the opportunity to recover, join their families, and resume being or become productive citizens.
Georgia Felonies and Misdemeanors
Georgia, like each state in America, is free to draft its own new criminal laws. If an act is deemed a crime in Carrollton or Douglasville, Georgia, that doesn’t necessarily mean it will be a crime in Boston, Massachusetts or any other state. But, state laws do have to be constitutional.
In Georgia, crimes are classified under felonies and misdemeanors depending on their severity and type. Misdemeanors are lesser crimes compared to felonies. They generally carry a maximum fine of $1,000 and up to one year in jail. (Most misdemeanors are handled with probated sentences.)
Felonies are the worst crimes in Georgia. Generally, felonies are punishable by one year of imprisonment (or probation) at minimum and up to life imprisonment or the maximum penalty of death by lethal injection. Of course, each crime has a different sentencing range.
Capital Punishment in Georgia
Death by lethal injection is legal in Georgia for capital felonies. However, almost every execution that has taken place in Georgia involved the crime of murder.
Georgia DUI Laws
Just like in every other state, Georgia’s DUI laws extend beyond alcoholic intoxication while driving to drug and prescription medication intoxication. If a substance impacts a person’s ability to drive safely, he could be charged DUI.
A person can be charged with DUI if he registers a blood-alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.08 percent or higher. A driver can also be charged with DUI if his BAC is below 0.08 if he is less safe to drive or combined alcohol with drugs. DUI penalties start from a mandatory one-year license suspension, 40 hours of community service, and a minimum $300 fine among other administrative penalties.
Georgia Criminal Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations is the legal period of time following an illegal act in which a victim may prosecute the person who committed the act. Every state sets its own statute of limitations. Here are a few of Georgia’s statutes of limitations for different criminal acts:
- Murder — no limitation
- Other capital felonies or felonies punishable by life imprisonment — seven years
- Forcible rape — 15 years
- Other felonies — four years
- Misdemeanors — two years
It is important for every citizen to have a general understanding of criminal law in Georgia because “ignorance of the law is no excuse”, many Georgians have or will be involved in the criminal justice system as a defendant, victim, or witness, and our citizenry should know their constitutional rights.
If a person is facing criminal charges, he should hire an attorney familiar with the local system, criminal procedures, and laws.
Interviewing attorneys is not a bad idea. If an attorney decides to take the case, the person should follow their intuition and decide whether they trust the attorney. It is always best to hire the attorney that the person feels most comfortable with.
Georgia’s criminal justice system is not perfect. But, I can assure you that its foundation is made of men and women dedicated to fighting the backlog created by COVID and seeking justice.