Ralph's criminal defense passion is deeply rooted in his strong belief in the United States Constitution, the Georgia Constitution, and his passion for helping people through what is often the most difficult time of their life.
O.C.G.A. § 16-2-1(a) defines a crime as: a violation of a statute of this state in which there is a joint operation of an act or omission to act and intention or criminal negligence.
Misdemeanor Criminal Defense
Misdemeanor criminal defense is one of Ralph's preferred practice areas. A simple misdemeanor in Georgia is generally punishable by a maximum of twelve (12) months in jail and/or a $1,000.00 fine.
Depending on your criminal history there are often options available to mitigate a misdemeanor criminal charge. Additionally, misdemeanor crimes, such as speeding, often require great work and effort on the part of the prosecution to properly bring a case against a defendant.
Felony Criminal Defense
Felony criminal defense is a very intensive job. Felonies can have a very wide sentencing guideline Aggravated Assault, for example, which is punishable from not less than one (1) year to no more than (20) years, with exceptions for aggravating factors enumerated in O.C.G.A. § 16-5-21(c)-(k). This leaves a vast range for someone who knows that they are guilty of Agg. Assault to try and mitigate their sentence and even more concerning for an individual who is not guilty of Agg. Assault and must defend themselves against this charge knowing if they are convicted they could face a sentence in this range. There is a reason the government is not required to bid out professional services, and if you are facing felony charges you should highly consider why that is.
For certain defendants who have not been previously convicted of a felony there are options available to protect their criminal record through a deferred prosecution under the First Offender Act. Generally, a negotiated plea under O.C.G.A. § 42-8-60 will generally require the defendant to complete a set of requirements and at the successful completion of the terms the action against the defendant will be discharged. This will mean the defendant will not be a convicted felon.
O.C.G.A. § 42-8-60. Probation prior to adjudication of guilt; violation of probation; review of criminal record by judge, provides in part:
(a) When a defendant has not been previously convicted of a felony, the court may, upon a guilty verdict or plea of guilty or nolo contendere and before an adjudication of guilt, without entering a judgment of guilt and with the consent of the defendant, defer further proceedings and:
(1) Place the defendant on probation; or
(2) Sentence the defendant to a term of confinement.