The Georgia criminal law system categorizes the seriousness of a crime. The two categories, beyond citations, are misdemeanors and felonies. Courts use these categories to determine penalties and how to try them.
If the state or local government charges you with a crime, always direct your specific legal questions to a licensed Georgia criminal defense lawyer. However, the information below is an excellent place to start gathering information regarding your case.
Let us take a closer look at the primary differences between misdemeanors and felonies in the State of Georgia:
What is a Misdemeanor?
Misdemeanor convictions in Georgia are less severe than felonies. Typically, misdemeanors carry no more than 12 months in jail. Some defendants may have to pay a fine of up to $1,000.
About Aggravated Misdemeanors in Georgia
Courts rarely impose maximum sentences for misdemeanors. Instead, judges reserve them for ‘aggravated’ cases, where the defendant acted with gross deference for the law. Examples of scenarios that may lead to aggravated charges include:
- Assault against a vulnerable person
- Reckless driving while intoxicated
- Partner-family member assault
The only difference between the two is that an aggravated charge carries a maximum fine of $5,000. Judges reserve the right to suspend jail sentences and offer probation depending upon his or her decision on the matter for either subclassification.
What is a Felony?
Felonies are the most severe types of crimes that a person can commit in the eyes of the federal and state justice systems. That means they also carry the highest penalties for a crime possible.
Prison time for felonies in Georgia range between a one-year prison sentence up to the death penalty for the most heinous crimes. These types of charges are more challenging to sentence. Therefore, Georgia statutes define sentencing guidelines for each crime separately in many cases.
Examples of crimes and associated penalties include:
- Assault and Battery: Up to 20 years in prison
- Possession and/or Distribution of Marijuana: Up to 10 years and prison plus a maximum fine of up to $10,000.
- Rape: At least 25 years in prison with lifetime probation status.
- Robbery: Up to 20 years in prison.
While the preceding list is not exhaustive of felonious crimes and associated penalties in Georgia, it may give you an idea as to how judges sentence particular criminal convictions.
Discuss Your Case with a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer
Remember that you are innocent until proven guilty whether facing felony or misdemeanor charges. You have rights that are constitutionally protected, including your right to counsel. Consider discussing pending charges against with an attorney who is going to fight your case and go to trial if necessary.
Consider Working with Charlton & Glover, Attorneys at Law
At Charlton & Glover, Attorneys at Law, we understand how scary it is to face misdemeanor or felony charges. You can speak with one of our Georgia criminal law attorneys regarding your case today. Please contact our office by calling (770) 993-1005 or by sending us a quick note through our request form.