Felony Offenses Are Punishable By Serving From One Year To Life In Prison, Or By The Death Penalty

Generally speaking, a felony is any criminal offense that is punishable by death, life in prison, more than one year in jail, and a fine of more than $1000.  Felonies can be a violation of Georgia state law, federal law, or both.

Felonies Can Result In Loss Of Certain Civil Rights And Job Opportunities

In addition to possible prison time and fines, a felony conviction will also result in the loss of other basic civil rights that we all take for granted.  In example, as a convicted felon a person can not vote.  Likewise, a felon can not serve on a jury.  It is also very difficult to get certain types of jobs or careers with a felony conviction, such as becoming a lawyer, doctor, teacher, pharmacist, police officer or serving in the military.

A Felony Conviction Means That You Can Not Own Or Be In Possession Of A Firearm

If you are convicted of a felony offense, you can not own a firearm of any sort.  Being a “felon in possession of a firearm” is a felony offense that is punishable under both United States federal law and the laws of Georgia.  This means that even if you are in the car with someone else who has a gun, you are at risk of being arrested, convicted and sent to prison.

TRUE STORY:  Mr. C and his cousin were driving in the cousin’s truck through the town of Eatonton in Putnam County, Georgia.  In Mr. C’s only prior brush with the law he had picked up a felony conviction for possession of cocaine back in the 1980’s.  Other than that, he had been a model citizen, taxpayer and father.  An officer from the Eatonton police department stopped the truck for a minor traffic violation.  The officer asked the cousin for permission to search the vehicle and the cousin, with nothing to hide, gave consent for the search.  The officer found nothing that was illegal, but did see that the cousin had a hunting rifle in a rifle rack.  And, upon running Mr. C’s license, determined that Mr. C had a prior felony conviction.  As such, the cousin was released with a traffic ticket, and Mr. C went to jail to face a charge of being a “felon in possession of a firearm.”

A Felony Drug Conviction Will Result In the Suspension Of Your Georgia Driver’s License

In addition to the possible jail time and fines, felonies also carry other consequences.  In example, a conviction for a violation of the Georgia Controlled Substances Act, or VGCSA as it commonly referred to will result in a suspension of your driver’s license.  Most people are not aware of that little fact, but it is true.  Whether it is mere possession of less than an ounce of marijuana (which is usually treated as a misdemeanor), or trafficking in cocaine, any conviction for a drug offense in Georgia will result in a loss of the right to drive in Georgia.

A Conviction For A Felony of A Sexual Nature May Result In A Requirement To Register As A Sex Offender For Life Even If You Are Not A “Sexual Predator”

Georgia’s sexual offender registration laws are among the toughest in the entire nation.  If you are convicted of almost any felony offense of a sexual nature you may face years, or even the rest of your life, as a registered sex offender.  Your name, photograph and HOME ADDRESS will be available for anyone with internet access to see.  Due to Georgia’s Draconian sex offender registry laws you will have great difficulty in finding a place to live.

The Georgia General Assembly Likes To Make New Laws To Show The Voters That They Are “Tough On Crime”

The list of offenses that are treated in Georgia as felonies is long indeed.  And every legislative session it gets a little longer.  Whatever happened to the conservative ideal that “government that governs less governs best”?  That is most certainly an alien concept to the Georgia General Assembly.

Below is a list of some of the felony offenses that we are contacted about most often and able to provide representation for:
Murder; Felony Murder; Voluntary Manslaughter; Involuntary Manslaughter; Aggravated Assault; Robbery; Armed Robbery; Burglary; Kidnapping; Fraud; Identity Fraud; Theft by Taking; Theft by Shoplifting (can be a misdemeanor also); Theft by Conversion; Habitual Violator; Possession of Firearm by a Convicted Felon (very nasty when charged federally!); Obstruction of a Law Enforcement Officer (can be a misdemeanor); Serious Injury by Vehicle; Vehicular Homicide; Violation of the Georgia Controlled Substances Act (VGCSA) by possession, possession with intent to distribute, or trafficking; Rape; Statutory Rape; Child Molestation; Aggravated Child Molestation; Sodomy; Aggravated Sodomy; Sexual Battery on a minor.

Georgia’s First Offenders Act May Provide You A Way To Avoid A Felony Conviction, But Beware Of The Hidden Dangers

The Georgia First Offenders Act may provide you with an opportunity to avoid being considered as a convicted felon for the rest of your life.

The Georgia First Offenders Act, O.C.G.A. § 42-8-62,  says that “upon fulfillment of the terms of probation, upon release by the court prior to the termination of the period thereof, or upon release from confinement, the defendant shall be discharged without court adjudication of guilt. Except for the registration requirements under the state sexual offender registry and except as otherwise provided in Code Section 42-8- 63.1, the discharge shall completely exonerate the defendant of any criminal purpose and shall not affect any of his or her civil rights or liberties; and the defendant shall not be considered to have a criminal conviction.”

This act is not available to be used for all felony convictions.  And, despite the apparently strong wording of the statute indicating that a first offender discharge shall “completely exonerate”, etc, such is not exactly true.  The law still provides that you may still be excluded from certain jobs.  And, entering a plea to a felony under the First Offender’s Act leaves you exposed to the danger of being resentenced to “the maximum penalty allowed under the law” if you have problems while on probation.

If you are charged with any felony offense in Georgia, call for a free consultation about all of your options, including the pro’s and cons of the First Offender Act!

Don’t Go To Court Unrepresented!

GeorgiaFelonyDefense.com is a website presented by Giannini Law Office, PC, a Georgia law firm, for the purpose of advertising legal services only.  Bob Giannini is Gwinnett criminal defense lawyer who practices throughout the Metro Atlanta and North Georgia area.  The information on this website, while hopefully of value to you, should not be considered as a substitute for legal advice from a trained Georgia lawyer familiar with the facts of your situation.  Contact us for a free consultation with attorney Robert Giannini.