If you are charged with a crime in Georgia and believe you acted in self-defense, you are entitled to an immunity hearing. Your attorney will need to file a motion and request a hearing.
O.C.G.A. 16-3-24.2 gives you this right to an immunity hearing. At this hearing, a judge will determine if you acted in self-defense and the judge can dismiss your case.
Soon after you are arrested, start gathering information that may assist in your defense. Get contact information for any potential witness so that your attorney can interview. Write down everything you remember about the case and why you believed you had to use force.
The trial court has a duty to determine before trial whether a person claiming the use of threats or force in self-defense or defense of property is immune from prosecution.
The defendant bears the burden of proof at the immunity hearing in proving he was justified in using force by a preponderance of the evidence.
If the judge rules against you in an immunity hearing, you can still have a jury trial and argue self-defense to the jury. It might be easier to win at trial due the burden of proof being beyond a reasonable doubt. At the immunity hearing, the burden is on the defense to prove self-defense. At trial, the burden shifts to the State to show that the defendant was not acting in self-defense.
If you are arrested for any crime in Georgia where you believe you acted in self-defense, please call our office 24/7 at 404-581-0999. We will sit down with you and fully discuss your case and what to expect in court. There is no charge for the initial consultation. You will only retain us if you feel we are the best law firm to represent you. It is your case and your life so you need to hire the lawyer that you feel gives you the best chance to win.