How to Defend against Criminal Mischief Charges

You should be concerned about the repercussions of a conviction if you have been accused of criminal mischief. You can be charged as a misdemeanor or as a felony, both which entail hefty fines and lengthy jail or prison sentences.

Penalties

A criminal mischief charge be from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class B non-violent felony. If you are guilty of a misdemeanor, you might spend a year in jail and pay a $1,000 fine.

On the opposite end of the range, the most serious accusation, criminal mischief in the first degree, is a Class B non-violent felony with a possible 25-year jail term.

Defenses

Several strategies can be used to successfully resolve a criminal mischief accusation. A criminal mischief attorney can assist you in selecting a defense that works for your particular situation. The following are some possible defense stances for defendants:

Involuntary Intoxication:  Unwilled drunkenness can affect anyone. If you acted after you are coerced or threatened into drinking, nothing you did while you were impaired should be used against you.

Choice of Evils: It is feasible to contend that, given the circumstances, what you did was the best course of action. For example, this would be the defense if a teen was forced due to peer pressure to pick between two crimes and choose the lessor one.

Wrongful Imprisonment: If you damaged property after being detained against your will, you might have a defense. This frequently occurs in cases of domestic violence where you had to break a few windows to get out and find refuge.

Self-Defense: A self-defense move that caused property damage is unlikely to be considered malicious mischief.

Exaggerated Damages: The prosecutor may exaggerate data to suggest that you committed more harm than you actually did. Your attorney can gather proof to demonstrate the actual damage to prevent you from being subjected to more considerable charges than necessary.

 Impaired Mental State: Trauma, PTSD, and emotional distress can all affect a person’s mental condition. If you were under any sort of emotional or mental duress while the action was committed, it may be a good defense.

Please call us toll free at 866-214-7036 or fill out the contact form on our website. Serving Brunswick, GA and Glynn, Camden, Brantley, Wayne, Ware and McIntosh Counties.

Should I Plead Guilty to Domestic Violence?

Domestic abuse is a serious offense. If you are given a domestic violence charge, you might also be charged with assault, battery, or other offenses. You risk jail time and other punishments if you are found guilty of domestic abuse. The seriousness of the crime and whether it was a first or subsequent offense determine the specific punishments for domestic violence.

What is Domestic Violence?

The use of force (or a threat of using force) against a family member, spouse, or another person with whom you have an intimate relationship is considered domestic violence. Domestic violence can occur without any physical harm being done to the victim.

Physical abuse, sexual assault, emotional, financial, and psychological abuse are examples of domestic violence. It may also involve harassment and stalking. Depending on how severe the assault was and whether a weapon was used, domestic violence can be charged as a misdemeanor or as a felony.

When to Consider a Guilty Plea?

You might not think admitting guilt to domestic violence charges is in your best interests. Still, depending on the specifics of your case, it might be acceptable if it allows you to deal with the charge while minimizing the overall impact on your life.

For instance, pleading guilty in exchange for a lighter sentence can be the wisest course of action if the prosecutor has substantial evidence against you, and a conviction could result in lengthy jail time.

Keep in mind that if you enter a guilty plea to a domestic violence charge, your record will reflect a criminal conviction. Your ability to find work, affordable housing, qualify for government financial aid, and otherwise move on with your life could be harmed by this decision.

To decide whether entering a guilty plea is the best course of action, you and your attorney must carefully examine each specific aspect of your case.

Don’t Go It Alone

If you have been charged with domestic abuse, you should immediately speak with a skilled criminal defense lawyer. An experienced lawyer can help you navigate your charges and give you frank legal counsel regarding your best course of action.

Please call us toll free at 866-214-7036 or fill out the contact form on our website. Serving Brunswick, GA and Glynn, Camden, Brantley, Wayne, Ware and McIntosh Counties.

Can a Parole Board Decision be Repealed?

There are several reasons why a person may want to overturn a parole board’s decision. The most obvious reason is the incarcerated person wishing to overturn a parole denial in order to regain liberty. However, the victim of a crime may seek to prevent their perpetrator from being given parole.

Parole boards allow the incarcerated and those affected by the incarcerated’s release the opportunity to appeal an unfavorable judgment.

The Purpose of Parole

The goal of parole is to assist a formerly jailed person in reintegrating into society under the supervision of a parole officer. The officer assists with housing and employment-related challenges. Furthermore, parole protects society from individuals who may represent a risk by ensuring that they adhere to specific criteria.

Parole Board Decisions

In most cases, requests for parole are considered by prison officials rather than judges. Officials from the parole board convene on a regular basis to hear bids for parole.

The severity of the offense, if the sentencing judge issued any parole recommendations, and whether the prisoner has followed applicable rules while incarcerated will all be considered by the board before making a parole decision.

Challenge a Denial of Parole

Those wishing to challenge a denial of parole can submit an appeal to the Parole Hearing Officers’ Division or equivalent authority. New evidence regarding guilt, proof of wrongdoing by the hearing official, or evidence of substantial procedural flaws during the hearing could all be grounds for an appeal.

Please call us toll free at 866-214-7036 or fill out the contact form on our website. Serving Brunswick, GA and Glynn, Camden, Brantley, Wayne, Ware and McIntosh Counties.

Field Sobriety Test: To Refuse or Not to Refuse

Law enforcement authorities may want you to complete field sobriety tests to determine whether or not you are intoxicated if you are pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving. These tests are often administered by cops when they strongly suspect that a driver is intoxicated and want to confirm it. They are voluntary in most states, and you can refuse to participate. Many criminal defense lawyers advise people to avoid taking these tests because the evidence acquired from them will almost certainly only be used against them in DUI proceedings.

Field Sobriety Tests

Field sobriety tests are a set of voluntary tests given to a driver to determine whether or not he or she is sober. Because the examinations are subjective in nature, the officer must decide whether you passed or not based on your performance or other considerations.

The US Department of Transportation claims that in only two-thirds of all DUI cases, FST were able to identify drunk drivers. For a large proportion of drivers, field sobriety tests may indicate that they are inebriated when they are not. The inconsistency is attributable to many circumstances, including anxiousness, drugs taken by the driver, and pre-existing balance issues.

Refusing the Test

A driver may respectfully decline or ask to call his or her attorney if asked to undergo a field sobriety test. While there will be no legal consequences for refusing to participate, it is crucial to note that this does not mean the driver will be free to go.

If a driver refuses a field sobriety test, they will almost always be asked to agree to a chemical test to ascertain their blood alcohol level — such as a breathalyzer test or a blood test. While these tests are being completed, the motorist may be brought to the police station or jail briefly.

Can I Refuse a PAS?

The officer may ask you to blow into a hand-held breath device, often known as a preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) device, while you are still at the traffic stop location. This breath device can determine your blood alcohol concentration (BAC), but it is not the same as the evidential breath sample you will be required to submit at the station later.

Based on a breath sample, a PAS device can detect the presence and concentration of alcohol in your system. However, under implied consent regulations, you are not obligated to submit to a PAS test at the scene of the occurrence. The outcome of a PAS test is similar to that of an FST in that it is only utilized to aid the officer in evaluating probable cause.

Please call us toll free at 866-214-7036 or fill out the contact form on our website. Serving Brunswick, GA and Glynn, Camden, Brantley, Wayne, Ware and McIntosh Counties.

Getting to Work After Losing a License

Suppose you had your driver’s license suspended due to an impaired driving conviction or certain traffic ticket convictions. In that case, you’re probably wondering how to keep your employment until your license is reinstated, right?

For many people in rural and even urban areas, public transit is not available enough to provide a reliable mode of transportation. The good news is that drivers with suspended licenses may be eligible for limited driving privileges while waiting for them to be reinstated. A Georgia hardship license permits those who have had their licenses suspended to drive to work, school, medical appointments, and other necessary places.

How to Get a Georgia Hardship License Permit

Not all Georgia drivers with suspended licenses are eligible for the program. You are only eligible if your license has been suspended for a first conviction, a first or second DUI conviction, or a first or second points suspension. Keep in mind that you’ll have to demonstrate to the court that your life will be dramatically impaired without a driver’s license. You will need to prove that you aren’t able to do things like getting to work or school, attend medical appointments, retrieve needed medication from the pharmacy, or that you won’t be able to attend a court-ordered program.

You will need to apply for your hardship license through your county’s law enforcement or government website. You will be required to provide personal information (name, DOB, address, driver’s license number, and reason for the request.) There is also a fee that will need to be paid.

If your application is initially denied, there is an appeal process. You will need to request the appeal through the Georiga Department of Driver Services, and it will take roughly 30 days for a hearing.

Those granted a hardship license can lose them for violating traffic laws and other such conditions.

Denied the Hardship License?

If you are denied the hardship license, life will take a bit more planning. For instance, you will need to find family or friends that can give you a ride, learn about public transportation schedules, or even purchase a bicycle. Leaving things like purchasing groceries to the last minute may not be an option anymore.

Please call us toll free at 866-214-7036 or fill out the contact form on our website. Serving Brunswick, GA and Glynn, Camden, Brantley, Wayne, Ware and McIntosh Counties.

Next Steps if Your Child’s Been Charged as an Adult

Some juvenile cases are transferred to adult criminal court through a “waiver” process, in which a judge waives the juvenile court’s protections. Juvenile cases that are subject to waiver typically include more serious offenses or juveniles who have previously been in trouble.

Although being tried in adult court provides a child with additional constitutional protections, it also comes with drawbacks, such as the prospect of harsher punishment and time spent in an adult jail facility.

What Crimes Can Cause Juveniles To Be Charged as Adults

When a minor turns 18, most states allow them to be prosecuted as an adult. However, depending on a juvenile’s crime, some states may apply a younger or older age limit.

The following are some examples of offenses for which a juvenile may be charged and tried as an adult criminal defendant:

  • Serious felony offenses or violent crimes like murder, rape, or armed robbery
  • Drug trafficking offenses
  • Acts that are considered “wobbler crimes”
  • Repeated offenses

What Obstacles Will My Child Face in Adult Court?

As previously stated, adult criminal offenders who are convicted in a regular criminal court face substantially heavier penalties than juvenile criminal defendants who are convicted in the juvenile court system. However, in an adult criminal court, a juvenile criminal defendant may face certain less evident challenges.

For example, due to their age, the majority of juvenile defendants lack the capacity to comprehend what a criminal court may ask of them. Even if a kid understands what the court expects or demands of them, they may lack the maturity to implement those lessons correctly. If adult criminal defendants confront similar obstacles, one can only imagine how difficult it will be for a juvenile to overcome them.

Can You Fight It?

If the District Attorney uses a Discretionary Waiver, they must persuade the judge that your child belongs in adult court. In most cases, the judge will order a report on your child, the family, and what happened. The report’s drafting agency will make a recommendation to the court.

You can prepare for the interviews and the investigation with the help of an attorney. Your lawyer will assist you in determining the best way to present your child and demonstrate that he or she does not belong in adult court. A judge’s hearing can be used to question the report, and your attorney can call witnesses to help present your child in the best light possible and ensure that their experience is told completely.

Please call us toll free at 866-214-7036 or fill out the contact form on our website. Serving Brunswick, GA and Glynn, Camden, Brantley, Wayne, Ware and McIntosh Counties.

Should I Take a Plea Deal?

A plea deal, sometimes known as a plea bargain, is a typical option for a person facing criminal accusations. According to the US Department of Justice, up to 95% of all state and federal criminal cases are settled out of court rather than going to trial.

What is a Plea Bargain?

Plea negotiating is the process of a prosecutor and a defendant reaching an agreement on a plea. The charges, the sentence, and the facts are the three basic possibilities for plea bargaining in general. A defendant may be allowed to plead guilty to a lower charge and thereby face only the penalty associated with that offense.

When a person is charged with a crime, they are frequently facing multiple charges simultaneously. The prosecution may offer to withdraw some of the charges in return for a guilty plea on others, or if you agree to plead guilty, your penalties may be lessened.

Have You Talked to Your Attorney?

Suppose you have not yet spoken with an attorney representing your interests. In that case, it should be your first step before accepting a plea bargain. A criminal lawyer will be knowledgeable of the legal system and will be able to assess whether the offer you are receiving is fair. Plus, an attorney can look over the evidence against you and see if there are any methods to get the charges dropped. Should the prosecution know that its case isn’t particularly strong, they might be inclined to make a better plea deal to avoid losing.

Sometimes It Is the Best Option

A plea bargain is sometimes the best option. However, in order to achieve the greatest conditions for the plea offer, your defense counsel must contest the facts and any weak arguments made by the prosecutor.

Below are a few of the advantages of a plea bargain:

  • Fewer charges
  • shorter sentences
  • Avoiding the stress of a trial,
  • A speedier return to your everyday life and family
  • Predictable sentencing
  • Saving time
  • Saving money on court costs

Conclusion

Before you make any decisions on a plea bargain, it is critical that you speak with a criminal defense attorney whom you trust to represent your best interests and who can advise you on whether or not you should accept the plea deal.

Please call us toll free at 866-214-7036 or fill out the contact form on our website. Serving Brunswick, GA and Glynn, Camden, Brantley, Wayne, Ware and McIntosh Counties.

Can I Get My DWI Charges Thrown Out?

A DWI conviction can have serious, lifelong consequences.

It’s more than just insurance points or a license suspension from the DMV. Community service, court expenses, penalties, the possibility of probation, and alcohol treatment are all part of a conviction. DWI accusations also have a social stigma attached to them.

Nobody expects to get arrested for drunk driving, and if you do, it’s reasonable to wonder, “Can I have my DUI charges dropped?”

The answer is contingent on a couple factors: Reasonable Suspicion, Probable Cause, and the Fourth Amendment.

Reasonable Suspicion

In general, police officers must be “reasonably suspicious” that a suspect has committed a crime. It’s not just a hunch or an unspecified belief. Suspicion of criminal action is based on real, objective data when it comes to DWI allegations.

If the police officer fails to provide sufficient evidence to establish Reasonable Suspicion in the eyes of the judge, the stop of your car will be declared illegal or incorrect.

Probable Cause

Evidence of driving while intoxicated may be suppressed if the charging officer lacked Probable Cause, and your DWI may be dropped without this evidence of impairment.

Reviewing the grounds for arrest should be done with careful consideration.

The Fourth Amendment

The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects citizens from government searches and seizures. Yet, the Fourth Amendment does not protect citizens from all searches or seizures; it protects citizens from those searches that are ruled unreasonable by the law.

The balance of two key interests determines whether a particular search is considered reasonable in the eyes of the law. On one hand is protecting a person’s Fourth Amendment rights, and on the other is protecting public safety which is a legitimate concern when a DWI is involved.

Preparing to Meet with a Lawyer

Your attorney is likely to ask the following questions when deciding to take your case:

 

  • Did you agree to the breathalyzer?
  • How many readings did the breathalyzer have?
  • Was your reading above the legal limit?
  • Did you refuse a breathalyzer?
  • Were you marked as Willful Refusal?
  • Did you provide a blood sample?
  • Has your blood sample been tested?
  • Have your results been provided?
  • Was the blood test reading above the legal limit?
  • Do you have a CDL license and drive a truck as your job?

Your consultation with an attorney will better help you answer the question of whether or not your DWI charges will be thrown out.

Please call us toll free at 866-214-7036 or fill out the contact form on our website. Serving Brunswick, GA and Glynn, Camden, Brantley, Wayne, Ware and McIntosh Counties.

Can a Felon Get a U.S Passport?

In general, if you are a U.S. citizen, you are permitted to obtain a passport, allowing you to travel to other countries. However, getting a U.S. passport is a privilege, not a right, and the government may refuse you for various reasons. Unpaid child support or taxes could be one of them, as could a youngster who does not have parental authority to carry travel documents.

A passport is available to most convicts and ex-felons. Even if you obtain your passport, this does not guarantee that you will be able to travel wherever you like. 

Several countries refuse to let convicted criminals cross their borders for public safety and political considerations. Some countries that don’t allow felons to enter include Australia, China, and India.

As a result, if your name appears on the criminal registry, you may have difficulty acquiring a visa in some countries. When planning a trip abroad, review the list of countries that do not allow felons to pass their borders, as well as the list of nations that are felon-friendly.

Obtaining a U.S. Passport With a Felony

It may be difficult if you have been convicted of international drug trafficking or distribution of narcotics or prohibited substances.

Felony drug offenses are a significant roadblock to obtaining a passport. These two sorts of infractions will almost certainly result in the rejection of your passport application.

You would be disqualified for a passport if you crossed an international border while trafficking drugs and were arrested and sentenced for it. However, a conviction for possession of a controlled substance cannot be used to justify denial.

As you can see, a felony record does not automatically exclude someone from applying for a passport in the United States. Only certain drug offenses, as listed above, may result in your application being refused. 

If you’re a convicted felon who wants to travel abroad, make sure you don’t have any criminal records related to international drug trafficking or controlled substance distribution. If you don’t have your travel documents yet, you can apply for them.

Please call us toll free at 866-214-7036 or fill out the contact form on our website. Serving Brunswick, GA and Glynn, Camden, Brantley, Wayne, Ware and McIntosh Counties.

Child Abduction

When a couple is married, they both have physical custody rights to their children unless the court intervenes and directs custody otherwise.

Parental abduction or kidnapping is the basic idea that a child’s parent can be criminally charged with the abduction of their biological child. If one parent removes, retains, or conceals a child from the other parent, they can be charged with child abduction and it is the most common type of kidnapping. 

These types of abductions can occur within the state or even in the same city.

Child Abduction Laws

In some states within the U.S., parental abduction can be a criminal offense only if a formal custody order has been put in place by the court. Taking a child across state lines may also be considered a criminal offense and there has been work done by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws to draft the Uniform Child Abduction Prevention Act to bring uniformity to this issue. Currently, it has been “enacted, in some form, in 49 states, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and the District of Columbia.”

Punishments for Child Kidnapping in Georgia

In the state of Georgia, parental kidnapping is a serious crime. A parent that is found guilty of kidnapping their child who is under the age of 14 can face up to 25 years in jail and be sentenced to probation for life. 

Relocating Your Child

You may need to relocate your child outside the state of Georgia or even outside of the U.S., especially if you are a foreign national. If removing your biological child from the state would break your custody agreement, you can face parental abduction charges.

Modifying your custody agreement can be a lengthy process, but you will need to attempt to gain full custody of the biological child in order to relocate. You will need to show that the relocation and new custody agreement would be in the best interest of the child.

Please call us toll free at 866-214-7036 or fill out the contact form on our website. Serving Brunswick, GA and Glynn, Camden, Brantley, Wayne, Ware and McIntosh Counties.

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