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Roadmap to Sentencing Guidelines

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Judge, Scales of Justice & Gavel

After being arrested and charged with a crime, the next process that Georgia residents will move through is a series of court dates. For misdemeanor crimes, it is common for there to be only a handful of required court appearances, and in some cases, only one court date is needed in order to resolve the case and sentence the defendant. For felony crimes, the process of moving through the court system often requires several court dates, as sentencing is rarely handed down on the same day that the case is tried. In some cases, sentencing may be days, weeks, months, or even years after the original trial.

Moving through the court process can be challenging on the emotions, finances, and future opportunities for the defendant and his or her loved ones. It is important that as soon as an arrest is made, steps be taken to protect the defendant’s legal rights and examine all possible outcomes. It is also important to understand how Georgia’s sentencing guidelines work, in order to form a solid defense.

Georgia’s Sentencing Guidelines

Here is some helpful information for Georgia residents about sentencing guidelines, what to expect, as well as how it can affect your life.

  • Misdemeanor – Misdemeanor convictions generally carry a sentence of up to $1,000 in fines, along with up to one year in prison
  • Aggravated Misdemeanor - A conviction of a crime of aggravated or high nature generally carries a sentence of up to $5,000 in fines, along with up to one year in prison
  • Felony – Sentencing for felony offenses are not as clearly defined as misdemeanor offenses. Sentencing of a felony crime often depends on the nature of the crime, and generally carries a sentence of $1,000 or more in fines, and more than one year in prison.
  • Serious Violent Felony – Serious violent felony crimes, such as aggravated child molestation, sexual battery, sodomy, or armed robbery carry very strict sentences with a minimum of 10 years in prison, up to 25 years or longer.

Pre-Sentence Investigation

Many courts require what is known as a pre-sentence investigation before sentencing a defendant. A pre-sentence investigation is an in-depth examination of all aspects of the defendant’s life, including past criminal records, family life, living arrangements, and employment records. Once all this information is obtained, the judge will review it before making a sentencing decision. The judge also may consider information gathered from family members or probation officers, which can improve the chances of a more favorable outcome.

Get Help to Prevent a Strict Sentence

Even though Georgia law is strict in sentencing, many defendants find that there are positive options to avoid steep fines and lengthy stints in prison. In some cases, it may be possible to convince the judge that a suspended sentence is a good option, which allows the defendant to complete a term of probation before a judge determines if incarceration is the best choice. Research indicates that defendants who have an attorney are more likely to be granted probation than those who do not.

If you want to avoid a strict, expensive sentence then call Abt Law Firm, LLC today at (678) 582-2272 to schedule a free consultation. At Abt Law Firm, LLC, you will find our Atlanta Criminal Defense Attorney ready to fight for your rights and fight to secure the best outcome possible for your case. It is critical to have the support of a criminal defense attorney who is knowledgeable about Georgia law and sentencing guidelines. At Abt Law Firm, LLC, we provide competent, comprehensive legal representation that gets results.