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Whereas a misdemeanor is defined as a minor crime, usually carrying with it a jail sentence of 12 months or less, a crime which carries a minimum jail time of 1 year or more is classed as a felony under Georgia law. The laws in Marietta and other parts of Georgia differ from those in other states because crimes are designated either as a misdemeanor or felony. Most other states designate felonies a class 1 or class A felony, etc.
Crimes which are not considered less serious, such as theft and simple possession of drugs generally are punished by shorter prison sentences while more serious offenses such as armed robbery, child molestation, aggravated child molestation, rape, and kidnapping carry longer prison sentences up to and including life in prison. Murder can be punished by sentences as severe as life with or without parole or death.
Georgia code states that a term of 25 years to life, without parole, is the punishment for rape.
A sentence which includes prison time, may also include probation. Probation is usually served after completing the incarceration portion of a sentence. Parole is that period of time when a person is released early from their prison sentence and is conditioned upon complying with the rules of parole. A violation can cause the person to be sent back to prison to complete their prison sentence. A violation of the rules of probation can also cause one to end up in prison. The prosecution must prove a violation of probation by a preponderance of the evidence. Many times probation officers are not able to prove the violation, especially when the accused has a seasoned criminal defense attorney on their side. Even if the violation may be able to be proven, the defendant who wisely hires an attorney to represent him or her when facing either a parole or probation revocation, will usually end up with a much better result. An experienced attorney knows the law, the evidence requirements, and is able to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the case with the prosecutor. This, in turn, leads to better results for the accused.
You may have to pay a fine if you are convicted of a felony in Georgia, and the crime will determine the amount of the fine.
There is a period of time called a statute of limitations applicable to all crimes with the exception of murder. The statute generally begins to run from the date of the offense. If a person is not prosecuted, with certain exceptions, within the applicable statute of limitations, the prosecutor may be barred from pursuing the case. There is no statute of limitations for murder.
A good criminal defense attorney can make all the difference when it comes to deciding whether your crime is actually a felony crime or a misdemeanor, and as discussed above, the difference between the two can be significant. A criminal record from a conviction can affect you the rest of your life, as well as mean that you serve jail time for many years.
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