WHY YOU NEED A PROFESSIONAL FELONY ATTORNEY IN CANTON, GEORGIA
Every year, thousands of people face the unwelcome prospect of being charged on felony charges in Canton or Cobb County. The experience can be confusing and gut-wrenching because it has the potential of changing one’s life. The accused and their families will have to deal with the possibility that the full might of the law may be applied. If convicted, this can translate to lengthy jail terms, probation, fines or other harsh penalties.
To avoid going to jail or facing other penalties, the accused needs to seek the assistance of an experienced Canton criminal law attorney. Doing so presents the defendant with a fighting chance. Failure to secure the services of a competent legal representative may cost an individual their livelihood and freedom.
Felony charges in Canton, Georgia
The official federal definition of a felony pertains to any criminal offense committed by an individual, which is punishable by imprisonment for a period of least 12 months. It also extends to crimes that are punishable by death penalty. This means any crime that is serious enough to warrant hefty sentences.
Such crimes include being accused of causing severe bodily harm to another person or to property. Some good examples of crimes that fall under felony include:
- Drug crimes
- Aggravated assault or battery
- And more
In some cases, offenders may be convicted of a felony following a string of minor misdemeanor charges. Once the matter reaches this level, the best option is to reach out to a Canton felony attorney capable of delivering aggressive defense.
Repercussions of a Felony Conviction in Georgia
Convicted offenders can expect harsh penalties, which may affect various rights. A court may decide to withdraw the right to own a firearm for life. The offenders may be slapped with a fine, jail time or restitution coupled with the loss of voting rights while in prison. In addition, restrictions and bans may be placed on a number of educational and financial opportunities.
The consequences can also affect employment in various fields and the ability to obtain a driver’s license. With all these restrictions, it is easy for convicted individuals to experience considerable difficulty returning to a normal life. A reduction of employment opportunities and the inability to drive can compromise one’s quality of life.
Being denied access to good income opportunities undermines the ability to put food on the table for a family. For this reason, felony charges should be taken seriously and the accused should enlist the services of a Canton felony attorney. Legal professionals understand how to prepare for a case by identifying weak points in the case.
With a good felony attorney in Georgia, it becomes easier to either obtain a suspended sentence or an acquittal. Doing so can save one’s life from ruin.
The Felony Process in Georgia
In Georgia, the felony process is officially triggered by an arrest. Law enforcement officials may conduct a bodily search of the suspect. The search may also extend to a property, including a home, car or business premises. A valid search warrant issued by a judge is required to conduct searches on private property.
The judge can only approve the request for an arrest warrant if law enforcement officers can provide proof of probable cause. Once the judge is convinced that the suspect is linked to a specific crime, then the arrest warrant is issued immediately. However, not all searches require a warrant. Police officers have the right to search the body of a suspect without applying for a warrant.
If the officer finds any incriminating evidence, then the suspect’s rights are guided by the felony process. Some of the rights accorded to an individual during the process include the right to remain silent. This allows the suspect to avoid incriminating himself by providing answers without the presence of a lawyer. The law also extends the right to contact an attorney following the arrest.
Arraignment of Felony Charges in Georgia
The law requires that the accused is arraigned before the courts within 72 hours after arrest. The accused is given an opportunity to enter an official plea once the charges are brought forward in an open court of law. The defendant can choose a plea from a wide variety of options. It is best to make the final decision based on the advice of a lawyer.
The available plea options include:
- No contest – the accused has chosen not to dispute any aspect of the charges brought before the court. However, this plea does not translate to admitting having committed the crime. This option is ideal when expecting to face a related civil lawsuit.
- Not guilty – disputing the accusations outright.
- Mute – choosing to remain silent allows the court to enter a not guilty plea on behalf of the accused. This indicates displeasure in the manner the entire felony process is being handled.
- Guilty – admitting to being responsible for the crime in question.
Felony Trial Phase
Pleading guilty or rejecting the prosecution’s plea agreement offer leads to trial proceedings. The defendant has the right to demand an expeditious trial if desired. As a result, the court will set the trial date based on specific procedural terms.
The law stipulates all accused persons facing felony charges have a right to a trial by jury. Alternatively, the case will be determined by a judge (otherwise known as a bench trial). A verdict will be rendered accordingly at the end of the trial by a judge or jury. A guilty verdict will lead to sentencing by a judge and the defendant can appeal the sentence within thirty days. If you are in need of a professional Canton Felony Attorney, contact Michael Vereen, III today to see how we can help you fight the charge.