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Posted by on August 17, 2022

Criminal defense laws and theories can change over time as the state’s situation changes. What you knew in the past may not apply to what happens if you get charged with a crime in the future. This article will help you keep up with Georgia’s ever-changing criminal defense laws. For additional information on criminal defense laws in Georgia, find more at this link. 

Criminal Justice System Process

The following are the steps on how the Georgia Justice System processes criminal cases:

  • Booking. The law enforcement agency will record names, gather information, get fingerprints and photographs, and allow defendants to get a phone call.
  • Initial Appearance. The defendant will appear before the judge for due process, including explaining the case, hiring lawyers, and similar aspects.
  • Preliminary Hearing. In the magistrate courts, they will discuss the cause of the crime, whether or not the defendant committed it, and distinguish if it is a felony or misdemeanor.
  • Indictment. The prosecution will start attempting to prove the defendant is guilty of the crime.
  • Arraignment. The formal hearing will happen in the state or superior court to decide whether the defendant is guilty, not guilty, or nolo contendere.

Criminal Statute of Limitations

Criminal charges in Georgia often require a time limit. To explain this further, read the following statute of limitations below.

1. Felonies

Felonies differ in their time limits because of their severity. These crimes are as follows:


  • Murder – No time limit
  • Rape – 15 years
  • Crimes punishable by life imprisonment or death – 7 years
  • Others – 4 years (usual) or seven years (if against a minor)

2. Misdemeanors

Misdemeanors usually require defendants and attorneys to gather needed information and evidence to close the case within two years.

3. Where Child Is The Victim

If the victim of rape, incest, molestation, or sodomy is below 16 years old, the time limit will start once they turn 16 or they reported the case, whichever is earlier. 

Criminal Law Defenses

While undergoing court trials need thorough processes, building a solid criminal law defense can help you resolve your case. These defenses are the following:

1. Innocence

If you are innocent of a crime charged to you, your attorney needs to create a defense to prove that you cannot and did not commit such things. Finding solid evidence and hiring trusted witnesses can make this possible, even though it can require more thorough planning.

2. Self-defense

Self-defense can often lead to battery, assault, or murder, which are punishable under the law. However, if you did it to protect yourself from threats of violence, your attorney can take the challenge to build strong arguments to show that if you did not do the act, then you get in danger. 

3. Constitutional Violations

Once you get criminally charged in Georgia, you can be eligible for specific protections the law enforcement agencies cannot violate. If they did not give you these rights, you must use this as a defense in the courts to get away from your case or lessen your charge. 


These constitutional violations include:


  • An illegal search of evidence
  • Not reading the Miranda warning
  • No warrants
  • Breaks custody on collected evidence
  • Coerced confession

Three-Strikes Law

Even though you can get away from your first offense under the law, Georgia published the Three-Strikes Law that serves the maximum time provided in the sentence for fourth-time offenders. Once convicted three times of felonies and other crimes, you will no longer be eligible to have paroles unless you finish your sentence.


The crimes that fall under this law are:


  • Murder
  • Sex offenses
  • Manslaughter
  • Robbery
  • Kidnapping
  • Any crime punishable by ten years

Get Legal Help Today

When you need help finding answers to your questions about criminal defense laws, the best thing you can do is seek out a lawyer who specializes in this field. Criminal defense lawyers can give you a better idea of what to expect and how to move forward with your case today.



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