Fighting a Murder Charge in Columbus Georgia
A skilled attorney is essential when facing a murder charge in Columbus, Georgia. Contact the Office of ALJ for help.
How to Handle a Murder Charge in Columbus
The offense of murder is generally regarded as the unlawful killing of another without justification. A murder charge in any form is a grave issue. If you or your loved ones are facing such charges, it is crucial to understand what you are up against.
Handling the issue alone might be detrimental to your case and your well-being. You might need professional legal help to understand the charges against you fully. If you face 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, which would help you 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 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 sentence 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 toward 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 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 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:
Arrest and Initial Hearing
When a person is arrested for murder, the Columbus police department may charge them with the offense and take them into custody. The suspect then appears in court for an initial hearing, where a judge will determine if the person should be held in jail and set a bail amount.
A preliminary hearing will be held if there is enough evidence to prove that the crime may have occurred and that the suspect is responsible.
The trial involves the prosecutor presenting evidence to prove the suspect’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The defense may present evidence to challenge the prosecution, and witnesses will be called to testify.
Closing Arguments and Jury Deliberations
After hearing all the evidence from witnesses and other sources, a closing argument will be presented by each side. The jury will then deliberate and return a verdict.
In the event of a conviction, the suspect will be sentenced based on the severity of the crime. Severe crimes such as murder may result in lengthy prison terms or even the death penalty, depending on the jurisdiction.
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 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 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 helping you identify the defenses available to you. We have a successful criminal defense track record and can apply our extensive experience to your lawsuit. Don’t face life-altering consequences without giving yourself a fighting chance. Contact us today to learn how we can help you.
Don’t Hesitate—Contact Us Immediately!
If you are convicted of murder, armed robbery, or any other serious offense in Columbus, Georgia, contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys at The Office of ALJ as soon as possible. Do not try to handle this alone.
We can assess your case, advise you, and provide an aggressive defense to fight for your rights in court. Don’t face the consequences of a murder conviction without giving yourself a chance. Contact us today at 706-641-2551 to schedule a consultation.