First Offender Sentencing in Georgia

First offender treatment is available in Georgia for anyone who has not been previously convicted of a felony and is not charged with a serious violent felony. Serious violent felonies are murder, felony murder, armed robbery, kidnapping, rape, aggravated child molestation, aggravated sodomy, and aggravated sexual battery. Anyone charged with one of those offenses is automatically ineligible for first offender unless the charge is reduced to a lesser offense.

If a defendant receives first offender treatment, it can be both a blessing and a curse. If there are no issues during the period of probation, then no official conviction will ever be reported and the record itself will seal from public view. However, if the defendant commits a new offense while on probation or has any issues at all, then the judge has discretion to revoke the first offender status and re-sentence the defendant up the maximum sentence allowed by law.

While serving the sentence which will undoubtedly involve a period of probation, the defendant is not technically convicted of a crime but still cannot possess a firearm. After successful completion, all gun rights are restored.

Finally, first offender status can be granted retroactively if the defendant was eligible for first offender treatment at the time of the original plea but was not informed of his or her eligibility. Still, there is discretion, and the judge must find by a preponderance of the evidence that the ends of justice and the welfare of society are served by granting retroactive first offender status.

If you are charged with a crime in Georgia, then you should always consult with an attorney as to whether you are a candidate for first offender treatment. If you have already pled guilty, then you should still reach out to discuss whether you can receive retroactive first offender treatment. Give us a call today at 404-581-0999.

VIDEO – Atlanta, Georgia Theft by Shoplifting Charges – Dunwoody, Alpharetta, Kennesaw

I’ve received theft by shoplifting charges in Georgia, but my court notice says Dunwoody Municipal Court, what’s happening here?

Hello, I’m attorney Scott Smith and I’m here today to talk with you about shoplifting charges. We see a lot of theft by shoplifting arrests in metro Atlanta due to the number of shopping malls in the area. Lenox Mall, Phipps, Atlantic Station, Perimeter Mall, North Point Mall, Town Center, and all the other malls in the Atlanta area.

We also see a lot of shoplifting charges coming from stores like Walmart, Marshall’s, and TJ Maxx.

Many of these cases will originate in municipal courts like Atlanta, Dunwoody, Alpharetta, and Kennesaw.

A theft by shoplifting charge in Georgia can be accused as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on: the amount alleged to have been taken, the number of shoplifting convictions showing on your criminal history, and whether there was a pattern of recent shoplifting activity.

Shoplifting cases generally have two components. The first part is the criminal case. But often folks arrested for theft by shoplifting will receive a letter in the mail from law firms or collection agencies on behalf of the store asking for a payment for a civil penalty. We urge anyone watching this to consult with a Georgia attorney before making any payment to a law firm or collection agency due to this shoplifting charge. It could have an impact on your case.

It is important to state people who shoplift are not bad people. Generally the case comes down to one of three things. The person charged is sometimes depressed. It was an honest mistake such as an accidental concealment or not actually taking the item. Or finally the person thought they needed the item to survive or they were taking it for thrills. Ninety percent of the people we represent fall within the first two categories, depression or an honest mistake.

There are many was to resolve your theft by shoplifting charges in Georgia. Our office of experienced Georgia shoplifting attorneys can evaluate your case and tell you about potential defenses and outcomes. Let us help you today. Call our office at 404-581-0999. Thank you.