Will I Need to Register as a Sex Offender for the Rest of My Life?

In the State of Georgia, sex crimes are taken very seriously, and the penalties imposed on those who have been convicted of a sex crime are severe. In addition to steep fines and a prison sentence of up to 20 years, if convicted of a sex crime, you may be required to register as a sex offender. Depending on the circumstances, this penalty may be imposed for life. This can have a devastating impact on your reputation and your ability to seek employment and apply for a loan or a mortgage.

You may be able to have your name removed from the registry by filing a petition in court. However, several requirements must be met to be eligible for removal. An experienced criminal defense lawyer will review your case, assist you with removing you from the registry if you meet the legal requirements, and ensure that your legal rights are protected throughout the process.

What Is the Sex Offender Registry?

The sex offender registry is a list of individuals who have been convicted as sex offenders in a particular state. Depending on the jurisdiction, certain information about the offender is contained in the registry and is available to the public. In most cases, the public has access to the offender’s name, current address, offenses, and a photograph of the offender.

Once convicted, a sex offender must register with the sheriff’s office in the county where they live within 72 hours. If a convicted sex offender fails to register within the required amount of time, they will face severe penalties, including a prison term of one to thirty years for a first conviction and five to thirty years for a second conviction. Failing to register is a strict liability crime, and there is no leniency for offenders who forget to register on time, fail to check in with the sheriff, or claim that their failure to register was an accident or unintentional.

Who Is Required to Register as a Sex Offender?

According to Georgia law, any individuals that fall into the following categories must register with the state as a sex offender:

  • Any person who was convicted of a dangerous sexual offense on or after July 1, 1996.
  • Any person previously convicted of a criminal offense against a minor and was released from prison or placed on parole, supervised release, or probation on or after July 1, 1996.
  • Anyone who was previously convicted of a dangerous or sexually violent offense and is released from prison or placed on parole, supervised release, or probation on or after July 1, 1996.
  • Individuals who are a resident of Georgia who intend to reside in the state, and who were convicted under the laws of another state, under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, or in a tribal court of a sexually violent offense, a criminal offense against a victim who is a minor on or after July 1, 1999, or a dangerous sexual offense on or after July 1, 1996.
  • A nonresident who changes residence from another state to Georgia who is required to register as a sex offender under federal, state, territory, military, or tribal law, or who has been convicted in Georgia of a criminal offense against a victim who is a minor or any dangerous sexual offense.

Can I Be Removed From the Sex Offender Registry?

While you may petition the court to be removed from the sex offender registry, there is no guarantee that your petition will be approved. To be removed from the registry, you must first meet the following requirements:

  • You completed your prison term, supervised release, and probation for the offense that required you to register as a sex offender, and you are confined to a hospice care facility, a skilled nursing home, a residential care facility, or a nursing home, or you are totally and permanently disabled.
  • You were sentenced for a crime that became punishable as a misdemeanor on or after July 1, 2006.
  • You were required to register because you were convicted of kidnapping or false imprisonment involving a minor, and the offense did not involve a sexual offense against a minor or an attempt to commit a sexual offense against a minor.
  • You completed all prison, parole, and probation requirements.
  • Ten years have passed since you completed all the requirements or have been classified as a Level 1 risk assessment classification.

If you meet the eligibility requirements, you can file a petition for release with the Superior Court in the country where you were convicted or in the county where you live. Copies of the petition must be served to the district attorney and sheriff in both counties.

 In most cases, a sex offender will not have a risk assessment classification unless they have a recent conviction date. If you have not been classified by the Sex Offender Registration and Review Board (SORRB), the court will order the SORRB to conduct a risk assessment and classify your level of risk within 90 days. If you are classified as a Level 1 risk, your case will proceed to a removal hearing, where a judge will determine whether your name can be removed from the registry.

What Happens at the Removal Hearing?

A judge will determine whether there is a preponderance of evidence that you no longer pose a substantial risk of committing a dangerous sexual offense in the future. If the court is satisfied that there is little to no risk of re-offending, you may be completely removed from the sex offender registry, or the court may grant your petition on a temporary basis.

Copies of the petition will be sent to the sheriffs and district attorneys who were initially served, the Georgia Department of Corrections, and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation so they can take the necessary steps to remove your name from the registry. If your petition is denied, you must wait at least two years before you can file a new petition.

Our Savannah Criminal Defense Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Represent Clients Who Wish to Be Removed From the Sex Offender Registry

If you were convicted of a sex crime and you meet the requirements to be removed from the sex offender registry, do not hesitate to contact our Savannah criminal defense lawyers at Kicklighter Law. We will help you navigate this process, protect your legal rights, and negotiate the best possible outcome. To schedule a consultation, call us today at 912-754-6003 or contact us online. Located in Springfield, Georgia, we serve clients in Effingham County, Savannah, and the surrounding areas.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Post Bail?

If you have been charged with a crime, posting bail allows you to avoid going to jail while you wait for your trial date. The bail amount will depend on various factors, including the nature and severity of the crime you are accused of committing. In Georgia, bail is meant to ensure that a suspect of a crime will not flee if released from custody. In most cases, bail is set at a high amount so that the defendant is more likely to stay in the jurisdiction and appear in court so they can get their money back.

If you are facing criminal charges, it is highly recommended that you contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer who will review the details of your case and negotiate a reasonable bail amount. This will allow you to alleviate some of the stress of a pending criminal case and focus on preparing your defense.

What Is Bail?

Bail is a set amount of money you will have to pay to be released from custody until your criminal case is finalized. While posting bail allows you to stay out of prison, you are required to remain in your jurisdiction as you await your trial. It also reduces overcrowding at jail facilities and the costs associated with imprisoning each inmate, from feeding and housing them to personal hygiene and healthcare costs. Judges will consider a range of factors when determining a bail amount. For example, a judge may set a higher bail amount if the defendant is likely to flee the jurisdiction to avoid a harsh sentence. The following are other factors that will impact the bail amount:

  • How reliable the defendant has been in attending court dates in the past.
  • The severity of the offense.
  • The defendant’s ties to the community.
  • The ability of the defendant to pay.
  • Whether the defendant is a public safety risk.
  • The character of the defendant.
  • How likely it is that the defendant will repeat the same crime.
  • The likelihood of the defendant returning to court and answer the charges.
  • Whether the charge is included in the list of those eligible for bail.

What Is the Difference Between Bail and Bond?

These terms are often used interchangeably, and both allow you to be released from custody while your charges are pending, but there are key differences between the two. Bail is essentially a security deposit that ensures you will appear in court. A bond requires a bondsman or a bonding company to pay the bail if they do not attend court. In most cases, a bonding company will charge between 10 and 15 percent of the bail amount. Four types of bail bonds are used to release a defendant from jail, including the following:

  • Own recognizance: This option is for minor misdemeanors or traffic offenses. In lieu of making a cash payment, you can sign a form promising to attend all court appearances. This is generally not an option in felony cases or more serious misdemeanors.
  • Cash bond: If you choose this option, you must pay the total amount. The benefit of a cash bond is that you get your money back at the end of the case, regardless of the outcome, provided you do not miss a court date. Keep in mind that you will need to pay the bond in cash. Most jurisdictions do not accept credit cards or personal checks.
  • Property bond: You can use your home as collateral to pay bail. To pursue this option, you must meet certain requirements. For example, your mortgage and taxes must be current.
  • Professional bondsman: This may be an option if you cannot afford to post bail. A bonding company will pay the bail amount and charge a non-refundable fee. When your case is resolved, the bail is returned, and the bondman keeps the fee.

How Can a Criminal Defense Lawyer Help Me Post Bail?

Whether you are facing misdemeanor charges or a more serious felony charge, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can recommend the best legal course of action to help you post bail and ensure your legal rights are protected. Once the bail amount has been determined, your lawyer will thoroughly explain the payment options and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each based on your financial situation.

In addition, a dedicated criminal defense lawyer will present testimony showing that you intend to attend all court dates and that you are not a flight risk. Simply hiring a lawyer demonstrates that you are committed to the judicial process and intend to uphold the conditions of your release. If you want to use a bondsman, your lawyer will recommend a reputable bail bond company and contact them. By having your lawyer handle important bail bond paperwork, you can avoid errors or omissions that are more likely to occur if you handle the process independently. Mistakes in the bail process can lead to frustrating delays.  

Our Savannah Criminal Defense Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Assist Clients With the Process of Posting Bail

If you have been charged with a crime and have questions or concerns about how to post bail, it is recommended that you contact our Savannah criminal defense lawyers at Kicklighter Law as soon as possible. We will discuss the details of your case. To schedule a confidential consultation, call us today at 912-754-6003 or contact us online. Located in Springfield, Georgia, we serve clients in Effingham County, Savannah, and the surrounding areas. 

How Do You Establish Reasonable Doubt?

If you have been charged with a crime in the United States, you are considered innocent until proven guilty in the eyes of the law. This principle is based on the belief that allowing a guilty person to remain free is preferable to convicting or imprisoning someone innocent.

To establish guilt, the prosecution has the burden of proving, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you committed the crime. To do this, the District Attorney’s office must produce enough evidence to prove your guilt and establish grounds for a conviction. However, if the prosecution fails to meet the burden of proof and you can establish reasonable doubt, the jury cannot convict you of the crime. Contact a criminal defense lawyer who will protect your legal rights if you are facing criminal charges.

What Is Reasonable Doubt?

The evidence must be convincing enough that no reasonable person could doubt the defendant’s guilt. It is one of the highest standards of proof in criminal law. If any jurors have reason to doubt any evidence presented by the prosecution, this is considered reasonable doubt, and those jurors must vote not guilty.

What Are Defense Strategies for Establishing Reasonable Doubt?

There are several defense strategies that your criminal defense lawyer may consider based on the strength of the evidence available. The following are examples of defense strategies that your lawyer may recommend:

  • Alibi: This may be a viable defense strategy if you can prove that you were not at the crime scene when it occurred. You must be able to provide evidence of your whereabouts at the time of the crime. If there are witnesses that can corroborate your story, they will need to give an official statement.
  • Constitutional violations: This defense strategy may be used if your constitutional rights were violated during the arrest, search, or seizure. If law enforcement acted unlawfully, any evidence collected during the arrest may be suppressed, which means that the prosecutions will not have access to it.
  • Duress or coercion: If you can prove that you were under duress or were coerced to commit the crime, this may be an effective defense strategy. For this to be effective, you must prove that you were forced or compelled to act against your will due to threats or that you feared for your safety or the safety of others.
  • Entrapment: If law enforcement persuaded or forced you to commit a crime you would not have otherwise committed, this may be an effective defense strategy. However, if you were tricked into criminal activity by an undercover police officer, you must prove that you were the victim of entrapment and that you would not have committed the crime otherwise.
  • Innocence: If you have a solid alibi that proves you were not at the scene of the crime when it happened, you can successfully challenge the credibility of a witness, or you have new evidence that establishes reasonable doubt on the prosecution’s case, your defense lawyer may pursue this line of defense.
  • Insanity defense: This defense strategy may be an effective option if you have a mental illness and you are incapable of understanding the nature of your actions and the impact they would have at the time of the crime. It will be necessary for a mental health expert to provide testimony that supports this claim. Keep in mind, however, that if this strategy is successful, it is possible that you could be sent to a mental health facility for treatment.
  • Lack of intent: If the crime you have been charged with requires intent, you may be able to argue that you did not have the mental capacity to commit the crime. This defense strategy aims to establish that your actions were accidental or lacked the intent to commit the crime.
  • Mistaken identity: This defense strategy challenges the accuracy of an eyewitness’s identification, arguing that you were wrongly identified as the person who committed the crime. Often, this is due to poor lighting, stress, or unreliable witnesses.
  • Necessity defense: This defense may be used if you committed an illegal act to prevent greater harm or a potentially dangerous situation and that your actions were justified.
  • Self-defense or defense of others: If you acted in self-defense or were trying to defend another person from harm, a self-defense strategy may be a practical option.

Contacting a Lawyer

The most important step you can take if you are facing criminal charges is to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer who will review the charges that have been brought against you, examine all of the evidence, challenge the credibility of witnesses, present alternative explanations for the evidence presented, and highlight inconsistencies in the prosecution’s case. This requires a thorough understanding of the law, the facts of your case, and a knowledge of other instances in which reasonable doubt resulted in an acquittal. Ultimately, the goal is to convince the jurors to question whether the prosecution has proven each element of the criminal charge beyond a reasonable doubt.

Our Savannah Criminal Defense Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Represent Clients Facing Criminal Charges

If you have been charged with a crime, contact our Savannah criminal defense lawyers at Kicklighter Law as soon as possible. We will discuss the details of your case with you, determine the most effective defense strategy, and ensure that your legal rights are protected. To schedule a consultation, call us today at 912-754-6003 or contact us online. Located in Springfield, Georgia, we serve clients in Effingham County, Savannah, and the surrounding areas.

How Do I Petition to Be Removed From a Sex Offender Registry?

If you were legally required to register as a sex offender, you know that it can hurt your ability to get a job, find a decent place to live, and maintain relationships with family and friends. In Georgia, the sex offender registration statute requires registration for life. However, depending on several factors, you may file a petition to be removed from the sex offender registry. You should contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer to help you navigate this process, ensure your legal rights are protected, and petition the court.

When Can I Request to Be Removed From the Sex Offender Registry?

Before 2010, sex offenders were prohibited from petitioning for removal until 10 years after completing their prison sentence, parole, supervised release, and probation. However, in 2010, a law was passed that allowed those classified by Georgia’s Sex Offender Registration Review Board (SORRB) to petition for removal from the registry immediately after completing their prison term, parole, supervised release, and probation, provided they are a Level 1 offender, which is considered to be at low risk of committing another sex crime.

How Do I Know if I am a Candidate for Sex Offender Removal in Georgia?

To petition for removal from the sex offender registry, you must fall into one of the following four groups:

  • Disabled offenders: If you have a disability, an illness, or are considered severely incapacitated, lawmakers have recognized that it is unlikely that you pose a serious threat to the community. You may petition the court for release from registration requirements if you are totally and permanently disabled, confined to a nursing home or residence care facility, or physically incapacitated due to a serious illness or injury.
  • Low-risk offenders: If you demonstrate that you pose little risk to the community, you may seek relief from the registry. In addition to completing the prison time, parole, supervised release, and probation, you must meet the following requirements:
    • No other convictions for sexual offenses.
    • No evidence that you have committed similar crimes.
    • You did not use a weapon during the crime.
    • The victim did not suffer intentional physical harm.
    • The victim was not physically restrained.
  • Romeo & Juliet offenders: This involves offenders under the age of 18 who were convicted of sex acts involving victims who are close in age. For example, if you were 18 when you engaged in a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old, you may only be charged with a misdemeanor, and you are eligible to petition the court for removal from the registry.

Petitioning the Court for Removal

The first step is to petition the court in the jurisdiction where you were convicted. If you are granted a hearing, a judge will determine whether you can be removed from the registry and consider whether you pose a threat to the community. You will only be released from registration requirements if there is a preponderance of evidence that it is highly unlikely that you will engage in a dangerous sexual offense in the future. The court will issue a decision, which may involve releasing you from all registration requirements, rejecting your petition, or releasing you from some restrictions but not others.

Our Savannah Criminal Defense Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Advocate for Clients Who Want to Be Removed From the Sex Offender Registry

If you were convicted of a sex crime and meet the qualifications to be removed from the sex offender registry, contact our Savannah criminal defense lawyers at Kicklighter Law. To schedule a consultation, call us at 912-754-6003 or contact us online. Located in Springfield, Georgia, we serve clients in Effingham County, Savannah, and the surrounding areas.

When Is a Search and Seizure Warranted?

According to the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution, law enforcement officers are prohibited from conducting unreasonable searches and seizures. That means that if you are suspected of engaging in criminal activity, law enforcement may not search your home, vehicle, or other property without an official court-issued search warrant. To secure a warrant, the police officer must show probable cause for obtaining the warrant. However, a warrant is unnecessary in some situations, and the evidence obtained can be used against you.

 If the search and seizure was done illegally, the evidence obtained may not be admissible in court, and you may take legal action for a violation of your civil rights. A criminal defense lawyer will determine whether the search and seizure was warranted and recommend the most effective defense strategy.

Are There Circumstances When a Search Warrant Is Not Required?

In most cases, a law enforcement officer must obtain a search warrant to perform a search. However, there are circumstances where an officer may conduct a warrantless search, including the following:

  • You consent to the search. If you agree to allow the police officer to search your home, vehicle, or property, they may proceed with the search without a warrant. However, you have the legal right to refuse the request. Often, people give consent because they do not think they have a choice. Law enforcement may not threaten or promise any benefit or reward in exchange for your consent.
  • There are weapons, drugs, paraphernalia, or other suspicious items in plain view. A police officer does not need a warrant if they observe illegal contraband from a legal vantage point.
  • Illegal items are found during a stop-and-frisk. This allows police officers to ensure that a suspect is not armed. Any unlawful items found during this process may be confiscated.
  • If you try to escape police custody after committing a crime, police may search the area for weapons or contraband that may have been concealed or abandoned.
  • Police generally may search you if it is part of a lawful arrest. However, not all arrests are lawful, so you may be able to challenge a warrantless search. A criminal defense lawyer can assist you with this process.
  • If an officer detects alcohol or marijuana at a DUI checkpoint stop, you may be required to submit to a field sobriety test. If you are arrested for a positive test, your vehicle may be impounded and the contents may be searched.

Savannah Criminal Defense Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Represent Clients in Cases Involving Unwarranted Search and Seizures

If you were charged with a crime and law enforcement conducted an unwarranted search and seizure, you are urged to contact our Savannah criminal defense lawyers at Kicklighter Law. We will thoroughly review the details of your case. To schedule a consultation, call 912-754-6003 or contact us online. Located in Springfield, Georgia, we serve clients in Effingham County, Savannah, and the surrounding areas.

What Should I Do if I Was Falsely Accused of Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is a serious crime that may result in penalties ranging from steep fines and restraining orders to mandatory prison sentences. The laws against domestic violence and the penalties imposed are meant to prevent abusive behavior and protect survivors of this type of abuse. However, not all accusations of domestic violence are true, and a false claim can have devastating personal, legal, and financial consequences for the accused.

Several reasons may cause someone to falsely accuse another person of domestic violence, including the following:

  • Retaliation or revenge: In some cases, a spouse or domestic partner may make a false accusation of domestic violence in an effort to retaliate for the relationship ending, suspected infidelity, or other perceived wrongs.
  • Seeking advantage in divorce or custody proceedings: Divorce can bring out the worst in people, and if one spouse does not want a divorce or is unhappy with the proposed alimony or custody agreement, they may resort to making a false accusation of domestic violence.
  • Mental health issues: If a spouse or partner is suffering from a mental health issue, they may make a false accusation based on delusions, hallucinations, or other symptoms of their mental illness.
  • Seeking attention: In some cases, an individual may falsely accuse their spouse or partner of domestic violence to seek attention, sympathy, or support from others.

If you were falsely accused of domestic violence, it is crucial that you have a skilled criminal defense lawyer on your side who will protect your legal rights.

You should take the following steps with help from your lawyer:

  • Gather evidence: Collect any evidence that may help support your case. This may include photographs, text message emails, and other documentation that can help prove your innocence.
  • Present your side of the story: Provide a clear and consistent account of what happened, and stay calm and composed. Avoid exaggerating facts or making false statements, which can harm your credibility.
  • Present character witnesses: If you have friends, family members, colleagues, or anyone else who can testify to your character and help counter the false accusations, they can present their testimony in court.
  • Challenge the accuser’s credibility: If the statement provided by the accuser is inconsistent or based on unreliable information, you can challenge their credibility.
  • Consider possible defense strategies: Some strategies may be more effective depending on the circumstances. Your criminal defense lawyer will recommend the best course of action.

Savannah Criminal Defense Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Represent Clients Who Are Falsely Accused of Domestic Violence

If you were falsely accused of domestic violence, contact our Savannah criminal defense lawyers at Kicklighter Law as soon as possible. These are serious charges, and we can work tirelessly to examine the case details, address your questions and concerns, and recommend the best defense strategy. To schedule a free consultation, call 912-754-6003 or contact us online. Located in Springfield, Georgia, we serve clients in Effingham County, Savannah, and the surrounding areas.

Can I Be Charged With a DUI if I Was On Private Property?

If you are driving home after having one too many drinks, you may assume that once you have pulled into your driveway, a parking lot, a gated community, or any other area that is considered private property, you cannot be pulled over and charged with a DUI. However, a DUI is a severe offense in Georgia, and you can be charged with a DUI whether you are pulled over on a public road or private property.

If you were charged with a DUI while driving on private property, do not hesitate to contact a criminal defense lawyer who can review the charges and recommend the best legal options.

What Are the Potential Penalties for a DUI on Private Property in Georgia?

Penalties for a DUI can be severe, even if you were driving on private property at the time. Depending on your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and the nature and severity of the accident, the penalties may be severe, including steep fines and a suspended license to a prison sentence.

The following are examples of potential penalties you may face based on whether this is your first offense or you have been charged with a DUI on multiple occasions:

  • If your BAC exceeds the legal limit, your driver’s license may be suspended for one year.
  • If your BAC is below the legal limit,  you may receive a limited driving permit, which will only allow you to drive to limited locations.
  • If this is your first offense, possible penalties include a minimum sentence of 24 hours in jail, fines of at least $300, and community service. You may also be required to complete DUI school and undergo a substance abuse treatment program.
  • If this is your second or third offense within five years, you may be charged with an aggravated misdemeanor, which may carry a fine of up to $5,000, a minimum 240-hour community service requirement, and probation for 12 months. In addition, you may be required to complete a mandatory drug program and undergo random alcohol and drug screenings.

What Should I Do if I Was Charged With a DUI While I Was Parked?

To be charged with a DUI, you must be in actual physical control of your vehicle.  If you were in your car, the keys were in the ignition, and the vehicle was running, this is typically enough to qualify as “actual physical control.” It is recommended that you consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer if you have been charged with a DUI.

Savannah Criminal Defense Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Represent Clients Facing DUI Charges

If you were charged with a DUI while on private property, speak with our skilled Savannah criminal defense lawyers at Kicklighter Law. To schedule a confidential consultation, call 912-754-6003 or contact us online. Located in Springfield, Georgia, we serve clients throughout Effingham County, Savannah, and the surrounding areas.

What Steps Can I Take to Ensure the Best Possible Criminal Defense?

If you have been charged with a crime, you may face penalties ranging from fines to a prison sentence. This can be an extremely overwhelming experience, particularly if you face severe penalties for a felony offense. To ensure that your legal rights are protected, it is crucial that you have a highly skilled and experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side. 

Whether this is your first offense or you have been charged with a crime, you may be unsure about your next steps. The most important step is to find a criminal defense lawyer.

The following are questions you should ask prospective criminal defense lawyers:

  • How long have you been practicing criminal law? It is recommended that you work with an attorney with years of experience handling criminal law cases. An experienced lawyer will have a better understanding of the legal system, how other lawyers, judges, and prosecutors operate, and the legal strategy that will be most effective in your case.
  • Do you focus primarily on criminal law? In addition to having years of legal experience, it is essential that you work with a lawyer who focuses on criminal law. This means that they are going to be more familiar with the criminal court system, specific judges, and the legal strategies that are going to be the most effective.
  • How many trials have you handled? A skilled criminal defense lawyer is more likely to have handled several cases, which means they will be better at opening and closing arguments, jury selection, and other essential elements in a criminal case.
  • What defense strategies will you pursue? An experienced criminal defense lawyer will review your case, identify things that the officer may have done wrong, discuss the defense strategies that are available to you, and recommend the strategy that will result in the best possible outcome.
  • How do you communicate with clients? Your criminal defense lawyer should communicate with you and provide case updates regularly. If there is a lack of communication or you do not feel your case is getting the attention it deserves, it is in your best interest to consider looking for new legal representation. 

What Are the Other Steps?

If you have been charged with a felony, you must appear for several court dates, including an arraignment, where you are notified about the charges and allegations against you.

The next step involves scheduling plea dates where you can negotiate your case with the district attorney. You will eventually be set for a pre-trial calendar, where you will discuss whether you want a bench trial or a jury trial.

Once this process is complete, there will be a conviction or an acquittal. Sentencing will occur if there is a conviction.

Savannah Criminal Defense Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Represent Clients Facing Criminal Charges

If you are facing criminal charges, do not hesitate to contact our Savannah criminal defense lawyers at Kicklighter Law. We will thoroughly review your case details and ensure your legal rights are protected. To schedule a consultation, call 912-754-6003 or contact us online. Located in Springfield, Georgia, we serve clients throughout Effingham County, Savannah, and the surrounding areas.

What Are My Legal Rights During an Arrest or Investigation?

Being charged or arrested for a crime can be an extremely stressful and upsetting experience. While it is essential that you cooperate with law enforcement during an arrest and an investigation, it is also essential to understand that you have legal rights during every stage of the criminal process.

If you are arrested, police may not use excessive force during the arrest process. However, what counts as excessive force will depend on the nature of the crime committed and the circumstances of the “use of force” laws where you were arrested. According to Georgia law, a police officer can only use force if necessary to make an arrest.

During an arrest, you have the following legal rights:

  • You have the right to ask the arresting officer for identification, including the police officer’s name and badge number.
  • You have the right to be informed of the crime you are charged for.
  • You do not have to allow police to search your home or vehicle if they do not have a search warrant. However, police have the legal right to search you or the person being arrested and the area within the arrested person’s reach to protect a suspect from escaping or destroying evidence.
  • You have the right to remain silent.
  • Once arrested, you have the right to make a phone call.

What Rights Do I Have When Being Questioned by Police?

The Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states that you can remain silent when being questioned by police if answering would incriminate you. Police must also issue a Miranda warning, which states the following:

  • You have the right to remain silent.
  • Anything you say can and will be used against you in court.
  • You have the right to an attorney and to have them present while being questioned.
  • If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to represent you.
  • You can stop the interview at any time.

What if My Rights Have Been Violated?

If you feel that your legal rights have been violated during an arrest or while being questioned by police, you should not argue, resist, run away, or obstruct the officer, even if you are innocent. This may harm your case going forward. Write down everything you can remember about your interaction with the officer, including their name, badge number, and vehicle license plate number.

If you were injured, seek immediate medical attention for your injuries. You should contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can protect your legal rights and assist you with a formal complaint as soon as possible.

Our Savannah Criminal Defense Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Represent Clients Who Are Facing Criminal Charges

Our Savannah criminal defense lawyers at Kicklighter Law can protect your legal rights if you have been charged with a crime. If your rights were violated in any way, we can help. To schedule a confidential consultation, call us today at 912-754-6003 or contact us online. Located in Springfield, Georgia, we serve clients in Effingham County, Savannah, and the surrounding areas.

I Was Accused of Shoplifting – Can a Lawyer Help Me?

If you face shoplifting charges, penalties can range from fines, community service, probation, and even jail time, depending on the value of the stolen merchandise. In addition to the criminal charges, the store owner may file a civil lawsuit against you for the losses and damages they incurred due to the theft. While shoplifting charges are taken very seriously in Georgia, it is possible to contest the charges. Several defenses can be used to contest a shoplifting charge successfully. A skilled criminal defense lawyer will review the charges brought against you, recommend the most effective defense strategy, and ensure that your legal rights are protected every step of the way.

What Is Considered Shoplifting in Georgia?

In Georgia, shoplifting – also referred to as “theft by shoplifting” – occurs when an individual takes merchandise or store property without paying. The following acts are considered shoplifting:

  • Conceal or take control of a store’s property.
  • Change the price tag on any inventory in the store.
  • Move merchandise from one container to another.
  • Move a price tag from a less expensive product to a more expensive item.
  • Wrongfully causing the amount you pay for an item to be less than the store owner’s stated price.

What Are the Penalties for Shoplifting in Georgia?

The penalties you will face for a shoplifting charge will depend on the value of the stolen item. For example, if the item is worth $500 or less, it is considered a misdemeanor offense and may involve a fine of up to $1,000 and up to one year in jail. Repeat offenses come with harsher penalties, including mandatory fines and longer prison sentences. Shoplifting property valued at less than $500 with three or more prior convictions is considered a felony. Depending on the circumstances of the case, the penalties can include one to 10 years in prison, with the first year being mandatory.

If the value of the stolen property is more than $500, this is considered a felony offense, which means you could face steep fines and one to ten years in jail. The penalty will be at the court’s discretion. You may also face civil charges if the store owner seeks compensatory damages. Whether you are facing misdemeanor or felony shoplifting charges, it is recommended that you contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.

Savannah Criminal Defense Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Represent Clients Facing Shoplifting Charges

Contact our Savannah criminal defense lawyers at Kicklighter Law if you have been charged with shoplifting. We can review the charges brought against you, address all of your questions and concerns, and recommend the defense strategy. To schedule a consultation, call us today at 912-754-6003 or contact us online. Located in Springfield, Georgia, we serve clients in Effingham County, Savannah, and the surrounding areas.

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Springfield, GA 31329

Telephone: 912-754-6003
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