Fighting a Murder Charge in Columbus Georgia
How to Handle a Murder Charge in Columbus
Handling the issue alone might be detrimental to your case and your well-being. You might need to seek professional legal help to fully understand the charges against you. If you are facing criminal charges in Columbus under Georgia law, an attorney can explain the charges against you and represent you in your defense.
Degrees of Murder in Columbus, Georgia
The Georgia code recognizes different classes of murder, and it would help to understand each one as you prepare your case.
1st Degree Murder
A person commits first-degree murder when they intentionally kill another human being, with advance planning and without legal justification such as self-defense.
Second Degree Murder
When a person unintentionally kills another person or acts recklessly, it is called second-degree murder.
Generally speaking, 2nd-degree murders typically have no premeditation and are intended primarily to harm others, rather than kill.
Columbus, Ga law defines felony murder as killing someone while committing a different felony, regardless of whether the murder is intentional.
For instance, if a felon, fleeing in a getaway car after a bank robbery, accidentally strikes and kills a pedestrian, that would be a classic example of felony murder. A murder that occurs as a result of aggravated assault may also fall within this class.
As in many states, a conviction for voluntary manslaughter in Georgia is equivalent to a conviction for second-degree murder. Voluntary manslaughter occurs when a person intentionally kills someone under the influence of a sudden, violent passion.
Catching your spouse in bed with someone else and reacting violently is a classic example of “sudden, violent passion.”
In Georgia, attempted murder occurs when a person intends to kill someone and takes substantial steps towards actualizing the murder. Attempted murder is a form of criminal attempt. There are also significant penalties for attempted crimes. For instance, attempted murder can carry a prison sentence of one to thirty years.
A person commits involuntary manslaughter when they kill someone through criminal negligence. A classic example is a drunk driver. The driver may kill someone in the accident, but probably not intentionally.
Strictly speaking, involuntary manslaughter is a homicide but not murder. The perpetrator must have been in the process of committing a misdemeanor crime or committing a “lawful act in an unlawful manner”, such as a DUI.
If you or anyone you’re close to has been charged with murder the charges would likely fall within one of the above areas. Your lawyer can explain each one in detail if necessary and help you develop a suitable strategy for your case.
What Happens After You Are Charged With Murder?
The steps in the criminal justice process that occur when a person is being charged with murder are summarized as follows:
The suspect(s) is arrested by Columbus police officers. They may also be booked or held at the Muscogee county jail.
The suspect is arraigned before a judge. An arraignment is a preliminary hearing where an accused person pleads guilty or not guilty. In deserving cases, the judge may also grant bail and set the bail conditions
The prosecution brings a formal charge and the trial begins.
After hearing the evidence of witnesses the jury would reach a decision and the sentence is read out.
If the accused is found guilty, authorities from the Columbus police department would take them to jail to serve their sentence.
There may be other steps to the criminal justice process that occur after your release. If you are on parole, for example, you will have to comply with the conditions of your parole.
Penalties for Murder
The penalties for the various degrees of murder in Columbus, Georgia are as follows;
The penalty for first-degree murder is death, life in prison without parole, or life in prison with possible parole.
The penalty for felony murder is the same as the penalty for first-degree murder.
The penalty for second-degree murder is ten to thirty years in prison.
The penalty for voluntary manslaughter ranges from one to twenty years in prison.
The penalty for involuntary manslaughter ranges from less than one year in prison to ten years in prison.
It is the judge, not the jury, that determines the sentence. The jury decides only guilt or innocence. This is one area where a criminal defense lawyer can make a difference. With their experience, they can help to present your case in a manner that can positively sway the jury.
What Is the Standard Sentence for Murder in Columbus, Georgia?
There is no standard sentence for murder in Georgia because the degree of guilt of each defendant varies greatly. Courts in Georgia generally apply the death penalty only to the most serious murders. For first-degree murder, life in prison with the possibility of parole is probably the most common sentence.
Consequences of a Murder Conviction in Columbus, Georgia
The most obvious consequence is the sentence, which might mean you never walk free again. If the state of Georgia does release you from prison, you may face a loss of your civil rights, such as:
The right to own or carry a firearm
The right to vote
The right to serve on a jury.
You will also be ineligible for most forms of professional licensing. You will probably face discrimination in employment and housing. Depending on the facts surrounding your offense, you might have to register as a sex offender and face lifestyle restrictions based on that designation.
How to Beat a Murder Charge in Columbus, Georgia
The simple answer to this question is “introduce reasonable doubt into the minds of the jury.” Theoretically, a jury cannot convict you unless they believe you are “guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.”
With the help of your lawyer, you can set up possible defenses such as:
Illegal search and seizure (leading to the suppression of evidence against you)
Self-defense or the defense of others
Exercise of duty such as a police officer acting appropriately
At The Office of ALJ, we can help you fight your murder charge by assessing your case and help you identify the defenses available to you. We have a track record of successful criminal defense and we can apply our extensive experience to your
Don’t Hesitate—Contact Us Immediately!
If Georgia has charged you with murder, your life is at stake. The Georgia criminal justice system is a brutal and confusing place, at least without a skilled and experienced criminal defense lawyer. Let us help. To schedule a consultation with The Office of ALJ, simply fill out our online contact form or call us at 706-641-2551. We can even meet you in jail.