Murder Charges in Georgia

In Georgia, A Murder is the intentional killing of another. A person convicted of Murder faces up to life in prison. Facing false charges can be scary, especially if they’re murder charges. However, it is certainly possible to fight a murder case with the right legal team. The most important thing to do is to hire an experienced attorney familiar with coordinating this type of defense. You should still familiarize yourself with the process so that you will know what to expect. It is vital for you to be familiar with the types of murder charges and with the defenses that your attorney may present.

Read on to learn more about how to fight false murder charges.

The Types of Murder Charges

First-Degree Murder

Some states have three different levels of murder. However, Georgia has only first and second-degree murder. First-degree murder carries the stiffer penalties.

A charge of first degree murder means that the accused is alleged to have intentionally and maliciously caused the death of another person. That means the death had to be intentional, or the death had to occur in the commission of another felony.  An accidental death is not first-degree murder, unless the death resulted from the commission of another felony, i.e. Armed Robbery. 

Malice is defined as the intent to commit an evil act. Malice does not necessarily require premeditation. That means even for a moment, if the person acts with the intent to kill, and a death results from the action, the State of Georgia can charge that person with Murder. 

Felony Murder

A felony murder is when someone dies as the result of the commission of a felony. For instance, if a person robs a liquor store, and shoots and kills someone, that is considered a felony murder. If the person robbing the store gets in a shoot-out with the clerk, and another person were to be killed, that is also a felony murder. 

You can also be charged with Felony Murder if you a party to the crime that resulted in the death. Using the example above, even if a person is the get-away driver and never enter the store at all, I am responsible for the actions of my accomplices and can be charged with felony-murder as a party to the crime.

First-degree murder in Georgia can only result in three sentences: the death penalty, life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, and life imprisonment with the possibility of parole.

Second-Degree Murder

Second-degree murder is a fairly rare charge in Georgia. This is because there is only one situation in which a charge of second-degree murder can be brought. Someone can only be charged with second-degree murder if a child died while they were committing cruelty to children in the second degree. If they intended to kill the child, they can be charged with first-degree murder. If they did not intend to kill the child, they may be charged with second-degree murder.

Thus, a person can only be charged with second degree murder in the death of a child, when there is evidence of Cruelty to Children.

A person charged with Second Degree Murder faces a minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum of 30 years in prison.

Getting Bail for Murder Charges

It is difficult to get bail for murder charges in most states. However, it is especially difficult in Georgia. This is because a magistrate judge cannot grant bail for murder charges in Georgia, though they can do so for other charges.

Instead, bail for a murder case can only be granted by a superior court judge. That means, if you are charged with Murder your bond will be denied at first appearance. However, an experienced attorney can request a probable cause hearing and bond hearings in front of the Superior Court on your behalf. 

Unfortunately, it can take weeks to get a hearing in front of a superior court judge. However, there is one alternative. An attorney can try to get a consent bond approved. This bond must first be approved by the district attorney before it can be sent to the superior court judge. The superior court judge can then approve the bond without the need for a hearing.

Common Defenses for Murder Charges

Constitutional Violations

The Constitution provides a measure of defense for people who have been accused of crimes. If the police or district attorney violate the constitutional rights of someone accused of a crime. the case may be thrown out. For example, if the arresting police officer forgets to read you your Miranda Rights, this is a constitutional violation. If that happens, they cannot use any statements made in the context of that interrogation against you.

Any evidence obtained by the police illegally cannot be used to convict you of a crime. It is your attorney’s job to track down all leads and investigate all of the evidence the State is attempting to use to prove the murder conviction. If any of the evidence is obtained illegally, the State can’t use it. An experienced Murder Criminal Defense attorney will know how the State plans to prove their case and will be able to build the best defense to your criminal charges.

Alibi

If you can prove that you were not at the scene at the time of the murder, then you can mount an alibi defense. That includes providing witnesses to testify you were not at the scene. In Murder investigations, police routinely obtain cell phone records to track the whereabouts and messages for all those involved. If we can show a person was in a different place at the time of the crime, the State has difficulty proving a Murder case. 

Accident

An accidental death is considered a Manslaughter. If the death was an accident, then the crime of murder has not occurred. If the accidental death occurred because of the commission of another crime that is not a felony, such as driving under the influence, then a charge of manslaughter may result.

The key to this defense is showing you did not intend to harm or kill anyone. That goes directly to the alleged offender’s state of mind at the time of the incident, and usually must be presented at trial. The intent of a person charged with Murder is a Jury question, meaning the Judge leaves it up to the Jury to decide at trial.

We are trial specialists. We thrive in the courtroom trial environment and specialize in trial presentations. A jury is made up of individual citizens- not the Judge or the prosecutor. So our job is to present the best case to the Jury to help minimize the impact on you.

Defense of Other People

If you can prove that you committed homicide to save someone from serious injury or death, you may be acquitted of murder. Further, if you were acting reasonably to defend another person, you can be immune from a Murder prosecution.

There are qualifiers and disqualifiers for this offense. For instance, you cannot use force greater than the person you are defending is threatened with. That means if a person is being threatened with a push to the ground, you are not justified in using deadly force to defend them.

That is generally a legal question left to the Judge, but can also be used as an affirmative defense to a Jury. Call us now for a free consultation on your Murder Defense.

Self-Defense

If you committed homicide to prevent serious injury or death to yourself, this may be deemed as a justifiable homicide. You may also be immune from prosecution for a Murder case if you were reasonably defending yourself.

That being said, you cannot use force greater than what you are bing threatened with, and deadly force is only acceptable if you are threatened with deadly force. 

That is generally a legal question left to the Judge, but can also be used as an affirmative defense to a Jury. Call us now for a free consultation on your Murder Defense.

Mistaken Identity

Sometimes, people are charged with murder because they happened to be at the murder scene or because they resemble the murderer. In this situation, a mistaken identity defense may be successful. 

When this occurs, you need an attorney with experience defending these types of cases. It normally takes significant investigation and sometimes an identity expert. We specialize in building these types of defenses in Murder cases.

Hiring Experienced Attorneys is Essential When Facing Murder Charges

It’s absolutely vital to hire an experienced defense attorney when facing a murder charge. In fact, it’s best to hire attorneys before formal charges are even filed. The Freedom Lawyers in Atlanta, Georgia can help if you are dealing with murder allegations. Our expert attorneys have defended many people accused of murder before, so we have the experience necessary to get the best possible results for our clients. Contact The Freedom Lawyers today so you can begin helping your with your murder case.