Georgia Misdemeanor and Misdemeanor of a High and Aggravated Nature Explained
If you or a loved one have been arrested in the state of Georgia and charged with a misdemeanor, you no doubt have many questions. You may be wondering what legal consequences you might face, how long it will remain on your record and what the various degrees of misdemeanor mean. Read on for answers to all of your questions about the laws in Georgia and what they mean for those charged with a misdemeanor.
What Punishment Does a Misdemeanor Carry in Georgia?
Under Georgia law, a misdemeanor carries a maximum jail time of 12 months fine and fines up to $1,000. That fine does not include any possible restitution you will be required to pay to any victims. While a prison sentence for a misdemeanor can be served in either a city or county jail, there may also be a period of probation.
But the punishment goes beyond fines and jail time. A misdemeanor charge on your record can potentially have an impact on your driver’s license, child custody or your right to possess a firearm, depending on the nature of the crime. It will also be noted on your criminal record, showing up whenever someone runs a background check for employment, college admissions or eligibility for public benefits. You may also be compelled to perform community service and risk the damage to your reputation that comes with publication of your arrest.
What is a Misdemeanor of a High and Aggravated Nature?
While a misdemeanor is considered a less serious crime than a felony, the state of Georgia classifies some crimes as “high and aggravated misdemeanors.” Essentially sitting at the border of a misdemeanor and a felony, this class of offense carries a 12-month jail sentence, but can also include:
- Fines that can go as high as $5,000 or more.
- House Arrest
- Drug and Alcohol Counseling
That is just a few of the extra consequences that a high and aggravated misdemeanor charge can carry.
Can a Misdemeanor Charge Affect my Livelihood?
Absolutely, especially if your job requires any kind of professional licensing. With a misdemeanor on your record, a licensing board can opt to deny you licensing for your profession, or even revoke an existing license.
That’s not the extent of their power, either. Depending on your particular certifications, a board can opt to suspend your license, place you under probation, issue a citation or fines, require you to attend substance abuse education or treatment, or test you for drugs and alcohol.
Is There Any Way to Seal my Conviction?
While it’s tempting to think that a misdemeanor, as a lesser charge than a felony, might have a smaller impact on your life or that the record might simply vanish after a time, this is false. Especially in the state of Georgia, where misdemeanor convictions stay on your record permanently. Every detail of the conviction, from the nature of the charges to your sentencing, will be a matter of public record available to anyone. And just like a felony charge, it can have an enormous impact on your ability to live your life.
The only option available for limiting access to these records after a conviction is to petition to restrict your records. This can only be done with permission from your prosecutor and after you have fulfilled the sentencing handed down as part of your conviction. This does not entirely exonerate you – your record will still be visible to law enforcement and criminal justice officials. So, it is a far better tactic to fight the charges in the beginning, with an experienced attorney at your side.
How Can You Fight a Misdemeanor Charge?
The first step is to not plead guilty. Even if the charge is a high and aggravated misdemeanor, the Busbee Law Group always goes to bat for our clients. And as our record shows, time and time again we fight to win. That means our first priority is clearing you of all charges and ensuring that a misdemeanor won’t become a part of your permanent criminal record.
The exhaustive preparation we put into your defense means we walk into the courtroom with more knowledge of your case than the prosecution. We investigate every aspect of your case, building a defense piece by piece until we can assure the best outcome possible for you. Don’t let a misdemeanor haunt you for the rest of your life. Put our experienced attorneys to work for you by submitting your contact information below and schedule a free, no obligation case evaluation.