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In Georgia, a misdemeanor is any offense that can be punished by up to one year in jail. Felonies carry longer sentences and higher fines. Misdemeanor charges in Georgia can arise out of illegal conduct such as shoplifting, drinking and driving, trespassing, vandalism, or possession or small amounts of marijuana.
Misdemeanor charges can be upgraded, however, to a high and aggravated misdemeanor offense under certain circumstances. This may occur when an individual has committed the same offense on multiple occasions during a certain period of time. Other offenses, such as aggressive driving or assaulting a family member, may be charged as misdemeanors of a high and aggravated nature regardless of an individual’s criminal history.
At Ryan J. Swingle, Attorney at Law, LLC, we handle a variety of misdemeanor charges, including:
We enjoy taking on new and challenging cases, and will work with you to fight your misdemeanor no matter the offense.
All misdemeanors in Georgia carry potential jail time and fines. State law distinguishes misdemeanors and misdemeanors of a high and aggravated nature by the maximum fine imposed.
However, these are the maximum sentences and fines that can be imposed for a misdemeanor charge. Both types of misdemeanors are eligible for probation and suspended sentences, whereby a defendant is required to follow specific conditions or restrictions imposed by the court. A judge may also permit a defendant to serve jail time on the weekends or during non-working hours if they are sentenced to a term less than six month. Of course, the outcome of any case is entirely dependent on the facts of that specific case.
If you have been charged with a misdemeanor, you should consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Even if you do not serve jail time, having a criminal record can impact your future in a significant way. You may have difficulty finding housing, obtaining credit, finding a job, or seeking a college education. Though the criminal penalties for a misdemeanor are less severe than those of a felony, the collateral consequences of a criminal conviction can last for years to come.
Hiring a misdemeanor attorney can be intimidating, especially if this is your first offense. Athens criminal defense attorney Ryan Swingle is here to listen to your story, review the facts of your case, and help you build the strongest defense possible. Contact our office today for a free initial consultation.
Georgia Misdemeanor Penalties
In Georgia, misdemeanors are considered less serious offenses than felonies and usually have lighter penalties. Possible consequences for misdemeanors in Georgia include probation, fines, jail time, and community service. In addition, a misdemeanor can result in a permanent mark on your record, affecting your ability to find public housing, employment, or operate your vehicle. Under specific circumstances, a misdemeanor can be upgraded to an aggravated misdemeanor, often carrying significant penalties.If you are dealing with a misdemeanor offense in Georgia, you need to seek the service of an experienced misdemeanor defense attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can fight for your rights and work hard to ensure your charges are dropped.Ryan Swingle Law is equipped to offer experienced representation for people facing misdemeanors in Georgia. Lead attorney Ryan Swingle can help by investigating the charges against you and building an aggressive defense strategy for your case.
How are Misdemeanors Prosecuted?
Misdemeanors and felonies are generally not prosecuted in the same way. The process for prosecuting misdemeanors is typically simpler and less formal compared to felonies.In many jurisdictions, misdemeanor cases are often handled in lower-level courts, such as municipal or county courts. In contrast, felony cases are heard in higher-level courts, such as state or federal courts.The procedures, penalties, and legal standards involved in prosecuting misdemeanors and felonies can vary significantly. Felony cases often involve more complex legal processes, including grand jury indictments, extensive pre-trial procedures, and more formal trial proceedings. Misdemeanor cases, on the other hand, may involve less pre-trial preparation and simpler trial procedures and generally carry lesser penalties compared to felonies. For example, misdemeanor drug offenses will be prosecuted based on the type, weight, and amount of drugs involved.Sex crimes such as pimping and indecent exposure are usually prosecuted as misdemeanors. Some violent offenses, like assault and theft, involving less than $300, are also considered misdemeanors. Other misdemeanor offenses in Georgia include driving under the influence (DUI), traffic violations, and some domestic violence crimes.Although misdemeanors are considered less serious, they can still carry significant penalties depending on who committed the offense. So they should be handled with the same level of seriousness as felonies. Let our attorneys at Ryan Swingle Law work for you to ensure your misdemeanor charges are reduced or dismissed.
Can Misdemeanors Turn into Felonies?
It is important to remember that misdemeanors can become felonies based on the circumstances. If the misdemeanor is committed in a certain way, such as a conviction for repeated DUI, a certain amount of drugs, or a crime with a weapon, it can easily be upgraded to a felony.A felony is a more serious offense than a misdemeanor and is punishable by a prison sentence of one year or longer. Common examples are armed robbery, rape, murder, and arson.
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