Clayton County Criminal Defense Lawyer

Clayton County Criminal Defense Attorney

A criminal conviction can have a severely negative impact on your freedom and your long-term future, and facing charges, prosecution, and a potential conviction can be terrifying. There are short-term financial consequences, possible jail or prison time, and the long-term impact of a criminal record. Whether you committed the crime or not, the criminal justice system is an overwhelming process to navigate without an experienced Clayton County criminal defense lawyer.

Legal representation can protect your rights during a criminal case and fight for the ideal outcome. When you or someone you love is facing a criminal charge in Clayton County, you need an attorney who has experience in the charges you face and can tailor that experience to your unique case. The sooner you find a qualified defense attorney, the sooner they can begin building a defense.

Clayton County Criminal Defense Lawyer

Miller North & Brill: Your Criminal Defense Lawyers

At Miller North & Brill, our attorneys have more than 30 years of experience in criminal law and defending individuals charged with crimes around Clayton County and nearby communities. We also have experience in state and federal courts. Our firm represents those who are charged with crimes that include driving under the influence (DUI), homicide, domestic violence, and sex crimes.

Managing these cases can be incredibly traumatic and stressful without an experienced attorney. If you attempt to defend against these charges without legal representation, it is more likely to result in a conviction and criminal penalties.

Our team believes that, when you are charged with a crime in Clayton County, GA, you are innocent until you are proven guilty. We work diligently to dismiss the charges against you, and if that isn’t possible, we fight for lessened charges and limited sentences that favor rehabilitation.

Clayton County Criminal Defense Cases That We Have Experience Handling

When searching for a criminal defense attorney, it’s essential that the legal team you select has experience and success with the type of charges you face. Attorneys who have managed similar cases before understand the legal requirements for your case and the likely defenses. They also know how to avoid problems that may slow down a less-experienced attorney. Some of the criminal defense cases we have handled at Miller North & Brill include:

  • Drug Crimes: Drug crimes include charges such as drug possession, drug manufacturing, and drug trafficking. The cultivation, sale, and transportation of controlled substances, like illegal drugs and prescription drugs, can result in significant penalties. The severity of a charge depends on the type of controlled substance involved, the type of crime, and how much of the substance is present. Possession of less than 1 ounce of marijuana is a misdemeanor, while certain drug trafficking charges are felonies with mandatory minimum sentences of 5 to 25 years in prison.
  • Theft: Theft charges could include shoplifting, petty and grand larceny, and robbery. Depending on the value of the item or items stolen, and aggravating factors, theft crimes could be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. Aggravating factors include prior offenses, other crimes being committed while the theft was committed, the use of firearms, or someone being injured or killed during the commission of the offense.
  • DUI Offenses: A DUI, or driving under the influence, is charged when an individual is operating a motor vehicle while impaired by drugs or alcohol. A first-time DUI with no aggravating factors can result in hundreds or thousands in fines, driver’s license suspension, jail time, probation, and community service. A first-time offense where someone was severely injured or killed, or where a child was in the vehicle, is charged as a felony. Repeated offenses have more severe penalties.
  • Domestic Violence: Domestic violence refers to any violence committed against family members or members of the same household. Domestic violence crimes could include assault, battery, false imprisonment, and sexual assault. These cases are treated incredibly seriously, and penalties can be severe, including imprisonment, fines, and loss of child custody.
  • Kidnapping: Kidnapping is charged as a felony and refers to when an individual takes another person to another location against their will. This is different from false imprisonment, although both charges are frequently part of the same case. There is a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years for kidnapping.
  • Sex Crimes: These crimes include sexual assault, prostitution, public indecency, and sex offenses involving children. When someone is charged with a sex crime, they face potential criminal consequences as well as severe social and professional consequences. A conviction can result in life-changing consequences, including registration as a sex offender. It’s essential that individuals charged with sex crimes have experienced legal defense.
  • Violent Crimes: Violent crimes include assault, battery, and homicide. They also include crimes with deadly weapons, such as armed robbery or assault with a deadly weapon. Most violent crimes are charged as felonies and carry severe sentences.
  • White Collar Crimes: These crimes are financial in nature and are usually non-violent. They include crimes like fraud, embezzlement, insider trading, bribery, and money laundering. Those facing charges for white-collar crimes may also face civil claims for damages, and many people involved in white-collar crimes were unaware that they were participating in something illegal.

At Miller North & Brill, we also have significant experience in criminal appeals if you have already received a conviction. In some cases, a conviction can be appealed to a higher court, and a higher court could overturn the conviction.

Clayton County Misdemeanors

In Georgia, a misdemeanor is typically any criminal charge with a sentence of 12 months or less in jail. Some misdemeanors include shoplifting low-value items, public intoxication, possession of less than 1 ounce of marijuana, criminal trespass, and public indecency.

The main two forms of misdemeanor include:

  • Regular Misdemeanor: Penalties include up to 1 year in jail and fines up to $1,000
  • High and Aggravated Misdemeanor: Penalties include up to 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.

Misdemeanors are considered less serious than felonies, as the crimes are typically non-violent and have lesser penalties. Both types of misdemeanors allow a judge to suspend the jail sentence in favor of alternate sentencing, like probation.

However, a misdemeanor conviction still results in a criminal record. It’s important to not underestimate the impact that a misdemeanor conviction can have on your future, including preventing you from job, housing, and educational opportunities.

Clayton County Felonies

Felonies in Georgia carry more severe sentences, as they are typically violent, destructive, or damaging crimes. Felony conviction typically results in 1 year or more in prison. Each felony carries its own unique sentence, and many carry mandatory minimum sentences. This means that a judge usually cannot waive incarceration for alternate sentencing, and they must assign the minimum prison sentence.

FAQs About Clayton County, GA Criminal Defense Laws

Does Georgia Extradite for Misdemeanors?

Typically, misdemeanors are not serious enough to be worth an extradition request. Federal law governs interstate extradition, which occurs when an individual has fled the state where they faced charges, and the state requests that they be sent back for prosecution. Under federal law, the state where an individual fled must comply with that request.

However, this is less likely to happen for misdemeanor charges. It is usually better for an individual to face the due process with a criminal defense attorney than to move states to avoid a charge.

Can You Pay Off a Warrant in Georgia?

If the warrant is a bench warrant for an unpaid ticket, unpaid child support, or similar balance, paying the fines or balance will remove the warrant. When a warrant is an arrest warrant for a criminal investigation, you cannot pay off the warrant. Instead, it is in your interests to find a criminal defense attorney when you believe that there is a warrant for your arrest. They can determine your next steps and ensure that your rights are protected during a criminal investigation.

How Long Can You Be Held in Jail Without Being Charged in Georgia?

Under Georgia law, law enforcement can hold individuals in jail for up to 72 hours before they must formally charge them with a crime or release them. When the arrest is made without a warrant, this time period shrinks to 48 hours. These timelines don’t cover weekends or official holidays.

This period begins once the arrest and booking have been completed. Prior to an arrest, detainment should be a short period of time for a law enforcement officer to determine if there is cause for arrest. After an arrest, if the prosecutor does not press charges within the set amount of time, the individual must be released.

Do Felonies Go Away After 7 Years in Georgia?

No, felonies do not go away after 7 years. Under Georgia law, a felony conviction never goes away, and it cannot be restricted. Restriction is the current term for expungement of a criminal record, which locks a criminal record from public view but does not erase the charges.

There are cases where misdemeanors and felonies can be restricted from a criminal record, but this only happens when you have been arrested and never were referred to be prosecuted. These arrests are restricted after 2 years when the arrest is for a misdemeanor and after 4 years for certain felonies. Severe violent felonies and sex crime felonies are restricted after 7 years. These timeframes do not refer to criminal convictions but arrests that were not prosecuted.

Protect Your Rights With a Clayton County Criminal Defense Attorney

It’s essential that you work with a legal team that is committed to your defense. At Miller North & Brill, we want to stand up for your rights and ensure that you are treated fairly in the criminal justice system. We believe in advocating for you, and we do not shy away from severe criminal charges. Contact our team today.

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