The events surrounding an arrest can be a stressful and frightening experience. It is best to act quickly and decisively to provide your case with every chance to succeed. Yet, communicating with police officers and prosecutors without the presence of a qualified attorney may only undermine your case. One call to our law firm will connect you with one of our highly skilled attorneys to assist you and help you navigate the charges you face with professionalism and integrity. Call us today to schedule your consultation.
At Moffitt Law, we provide zealous yet personable representation to clients charged with misdemeanors and felonies in LaGrange, Georgia. We provide solid criminal defense for our clients, protecting their rights through arrest, trial and beyond.
The attorneys at Moffitt Law are licensed to handle all criminal matters in Georgia’s Superior courts, as well as the traffic courts and the juvenile courts the areas we serve include the following:
- Gang Related Crimes
- Sex Crimes
- Domestic Violence
If you have been arrested or charged with a Misdemeanor or Felony in LaGrange, you will face an aggressive pursuit by the prosecution. You may also endure harsh penalties if convicted. A criminal case, in most instances, begins with an arrest either at a crime scene or later after the issuance of a warrant. When a person is placed in police custody, the arresting officers are required to inform him or her of the right to remain silent and that anything you do or say can you used against you in a court of law. Once you have been read your rights by the police, you should be silent and not speak to the police without an attorney in your presence. If you do speak, and say anything incriminating, it may be used as evidence against you.
Initial Appearance in a Georgia Court
Unless a person charged with a crime has already been bailed out of jail, the arresting agency must bring him before a magistrate or judge within 48 hours after a warrantless arrest. For an arrest warrant, the timeframe is 72 hours. The judge decides whether to set bail. He also determines the amount of bail to set. If you fail to post bond and have not yet been indicted by a grand jury, you can request a preliminary hearing/probable cause hearing. This will allow you to hear all the evidence the prosecution has against you. It may give you and your attorney, an opportunity to potentially challenge the warrant as lacking probable cause. You are not entitled to a preliminary hearing/probable cause hearing if you have already been indicted or if you’re out on bond.
Accusation or Indictment
Next, the District Attorney will file criminal charges against you through an accusation or an indictment. In an accusation, the prosecutor files the charge directly with the court. This is used only for certain types of crimes such as drug offenses (except drug trafficking), forgery, theft, and all misdemeanor offenses. All other offenses must first be presented to the grand jury for indictment. If a grand jury finds that there is probable cause to try you for criminal charges, an indictment will result. The person who has been accused of the crime (the defendant) is not entitled to be present at the grand jury hearing.
Arraignment and Pre-Trial Motions in Georgia
After the indictment is the arraignment. After the arraignment, in most cases, the defendant enters a plea of not guilty, and you have 10 days to file any pre-trial motions.
If the defendant pleads guilty, the defense and prosecution may enter into either a negotiated plea or a non-negotiated plea (also known as a “blind plea”) at any time before the trial date.
A negotiated plea is one that is favorable to the defendant and is the result of the defendant’s attorney’s negotiations with the prosecution. In contrast, a non-negotiated plea may be offered at the discretion of the court and permits the judge to determine the defendant’s sentence without a jury trial. A defendant who agrees to a pre-negotiated plea can generally expect a significantly lighter sentence than he or she would receive if a jury returns a guilty verdict.
Trial Procedure in Georgia
If your case goes to trial, you can decide whether you want a jury trial or a bench trial (where the judge hears the evidence and issues the ruling). An experienced criminal attorney can advise you of which option is likely to result in a more favorable one for you.
DUI/DWI Cases in Georgia
The attorneys at Moffitt Law specialize in DUI and DWI cases. They recognize that facing an arresting officer, prosecutor and judge alone in court can be a very daunting situation. We aggressively protect the rights of people who have been arrested and charged with driving under the influence or while intoxicated. We work hard to minimize or prevent accumulations of insurance and driving record points, and we seek to minimize fines associated with these charges.
The potential consequences of a DWI include hefty fines, community service hours, a suspended license, jail time, and even a felony charge, depending on the circumstances.
Drivers with previously clean driving records can find themselves in a downward spiral in which they can never recover from after a DWI conviction. Major consequences can haunt a driver for years. So, don’t let one mistake ruin the rest of your life. You need an attorney on your side that is knowledgeable and experienced with Georgia DWI law.
Georgia Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act
If you’re accused of being a member of a gang, your alleged crime will be aggressively prosecuted putting you in danger of much longer and more severe sentencing. That’s why it’s of critical importance that you secure the services of an experienced attorney to defend you.
In Georgia today, gangs exist not only in large urban areas but in small towns and the suburbs as well. The Georgia Gang Investigators Association (GGIA), a statewide organization of criminal justice professionals who work to prevent gang-related crimes, recently estimated that there are more than 40,000 gang members in the state. In response to the growth of gang-related crimes, the LaGrange Police Department and Troup County District Attorney’s Office are leading the way in the fight against gang violence in the city of LaGrange.
The Georgia Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act (O.C.G.A. 16-5-3(1)) identifies “Criminal Gang Activity” as: “the commission, attempted commission, conspiracy to commit, or solicitation, coercion, or intimidation of another person to commit any of the following offenses on or after July 1, 2006: racketeering activity, rape, aggravated sexual battery, aiding or encouraging a child to escape from custody, criminal trespass or criminal damage to property, or any criminal offense in the State of Georgia, or in the United States that involves violence or possession or use of a weapon.”
If you are associated with a gang, you can bet that local or state police officers will have an increased interest in your activities. They are especially concerned about weapons, narcotics trafficking, and other pursuits that may be associated with violence. Even a seemingly innocuous crime, such as vandalism, will be taken very seriously if they see a link between gang activity and graffiti.
Sex Crimes in Georgia
Sex crimes are any offenses that involve acts of a sexual nature and in the state of Georgia include molestations, child pornography, rape and sexual assault. The attorneys at Moffitt Law work aggressively to defend our clients accused of a sex crime.
Domestic Violence Laws in Georgia
Domestic Violence cases are often emotional and can complicate the lives of everyone involved, including children. If you have been falsely accused of domestic violence, you need to realize that your entire life will be changed if you are convicted. Our attorneys assist victims of domestic abuse charged with the very crimes they have been subjected to, without notice in the legal system. We also assist those clients seeking protection from violence or prosecution. Whatever your situation, we will proactively address your case.
Call your LaGrange, Ga. Criminal Law Attorney Today
For experienced and approachable criminal defense in LaGrange and the surrounding communities in Georgia, contact our office to set up a confidential consultation. We accept Visa, MasterCard, and Discover and can process payments over the phone.