Theft by Receiving Stolen Property in Fulton County

A person commits the offense of theft by receiving stolen property when s/he receives, disposes of, or retains stolen property which s/he knows or should have known was stolen unless the property is received, disposed of, or retained with the intent to restore it to the owner. “Receiving” means acquiring possession or control or lending on the security of the property.  OCGA § 16-8-7. Guns and cars are the most common property associated with theft by receiving stolen property charges.

In order to sustain a conviction for theft by receiving the state is required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused KNEW the property was stolen. That knowledge can be inferred (i.e. should have known) by circumstances that would be suspicious to an ordinary prudent person. For example, if you buy a brand-new Mercedes G Wagon for $5,000 and it turns out to be stolen, a jury is authorized to believe you knew it was stolen. It would be unreasonable to the average person that a brand-new car that normally costs upwards of $200,000 would be sold for $5,000. Now if we are talking about a Nissan Ultima, that $5,000 price cannot show knowledge that it was stolen because the price is reasonable. Certain damage to a vehicle, like a broken steering column or the locks being punched out, can also imply the necessary knowledge. It is much more difficult for the state to prove knowledge of a stolen gun. The Georgia appellate courts have found that purchasing a gun on the street at a reduced price or the gun being labeled “for law enforcement use” is not enough but it can be shown if the serial number has been filed off.

If you or a loved one has been charged with theft by receiving stolen property, give us a call for a free consultation.

Child Molestation in Fulton County

Child Molestation is a serious crime in the State of Georgia. If you are arrested in Fulton County or the City of Atlanta for child molestation, please do not make any statements to the police. It is imperative that you retain a qualified attorney immediately if you are being accused of child molestation. The Fulton County Crimes Against Women and Children Unit zealously prosecutes these cases and they are very prepared. Many allegations of child molestation are false. Even if you know the allegation of child molestation against you is made up, you still must take it very seriously and aggressively defend yourself.

If you are arrested, you will be on the 12pm calendar the following morning for First Appearance. At this hearing, the Fulton County Magistrate Judge will read the warrants to you. They then might consider bond depending on the allegations but will likely deny bond in a child molestation. You will then need to file a motion for a formal bond hearing and a preliminary hearing. These hearings take place at the Fulton County Courthouse. It is crucial to get an attorney retained to be at the First Appearance hearing at the Fulton County jail.

O.C.G.A. § 16-6-4 defines child molestation as follows:

A person commits the offense of child molestation when such person: Does any immoral or indecent act to or in the presence of or with any child under the age of 16 years with the intent to arouse or satisfy the sexual desires of either the child or the accused OR by means of electronic device, transmits images of a person engaging in, inducing, or otherwise participating in any immoral or indecent act to a child under the age of 16 years with the intent to arouse or satisfy the sexual desires of either the child or the person.

Child Molestation is a specific intent crime. Whether the accused has the requisite intent when he committed the act of child molestation is up to a jury. The jury can infer the requisite intent of “arousing or satisfying sexual desires” from the commission of the act. However, proof of the accused’s actual arousal is not required. Intent can be inferred from the testimony of the victim or from the actions of the accused.

No penetration is required for child molestation. All that is required is the touching of the child’s body along with the requisite intent. It does not matter whether the child was clothed or unclothed in determining whether the act was immoral or indecent.

The indictment does not have to allege the specific details of the child molestation. It can use general language of the statute.

The punishment for child molestation is a mandatory of 5 years to 20 years in prison. If it a second conviction for child molestation then it can be life in prison or a mandatory 10 years up to 30 years in prison.

If someone is making an allegation of child molestation against you in Fulton County or the City of Atlanta, it is imperative that you do not talk to the police, do not talk to the person who is accusing you of child molestation and call us. Time is of the essence to properly investigate the allegations.

I would be happy to meet with you any time for a free consultation to discuss your case, your rights and your defenses to these allegations. Our office is in Fulton County.

Call me at 404-581-0999 and let’s schedule a time to meet and discuss your case.

It is your life, your criminal record and you deserve the best representation possible.

The Crucial Role of Hiring a Lawyer If You’ve Been Arrested in Atlanta

Facing arrest can be a harrowing experience, particularly in a bustling city like Atlanta, where legal procedures can be complex and consequences severe. In such situations, hiring a criminal defense lawyer is not just advisable; it’s imperative. Here’s why:


  1. **Legal Expertise**: Attorneys specializing in criminal defense possess extensive knowledge of the law, including local ordinances and courtroom procedures specific to Atlanta. They understand the nuances of the legal system, enabling them to build a robust defense strategy tailored to your case.


  1. **Protection of Rights**: When arrested, individuals are entitled to certain rights, such as the right to remain silent and the right to legal representation. A skilled lawyer ensures that your rights are upheld throughout the legal process, safeguarding you from potential abuses of power or procedural errors.


  1. **Strategic Counsel**: Lawyers analyze the details of your case, identifying strengths, weaknesses, and potential legal options. They provide strategic counsel on how to navigate the complexities of the legal system, including whether to plead guilty, negotiate a plea bargain, or proceed to trial.


  1. **Mitigation of Penalties**: In the event of conviction, attorneys work tirelessly to mitigate penalties and minimize the long-term consequences of criminal charges. This may involve negotiating reduced charges, advocating for alternative sentencing options, or pursuing avenues for rehabilitation and community service.


  1. **Evidence Examination**: Lawyers have the expertise to scrutinize evidence presented by the prosecution, identifying inconsistencies, inaccuracies, or violations of due process. They may uncover mitigating factors or exculpatory evidence that could strengthen your defense or lead to the dismissal of charges.


  1. **Emotional Support**: Being arrested can be emotionally taxing, causing stress, anxiety, and uncertainty about the future. A compassionate lawyer not only provides legal guidance but also offers emotional support, reassuring you and your loved ones during this challenging time.


  1. **Familiarity with Court System**: Local attorneys in Atlanta have established relationships with judges, prosecutors, and court personnel. This familiarity with the local court system can be advantageous, as it facilitates smoother communication, negotiation, and advocacy on behalf of their clients.


  1. **Preservation of Reputation**: A criminal record can have far-reaching implications, affecting employment opportunities, housing options, and personal relationships. By vigorously defending your case, lawyers strive to protect your reputation and minimize the stigma associated with criminal charges.


  1. **Cost-Effective in the Long Run**: While hiring a lawyer may incur upfront costs, the investment can save you money in the long run. Skilled legal representation increases the likelihood of a favorable outcome, potentially avoiding costly fines, lengthy imprisonment, or other financial repercussions associated with criminal convictions.


  1. **Peace of Mind**: Ultimately, hiring a lawyer provides peace of mind knowing that you have a knowledgeable advocate fighting for your rights and best interests. Whether navigating pre-trial negotiations, challenging evidence in court, or representing you at trial, a competent attorney can significantly impact the outcome of your case.


In conclusion, if you find yourself facing arrest in Atlanta, don’t underestimate the importance of hiring a qualified lawyer.  I have over 24 years of criminal experience. In our firm we have over 100 years of legal experience.  From protecting your rights to providing strategic counsel and emotional support, legal representation is indispensable in navigating the complexities of the criminal justice system and securing a brighter future.


Call our office for a free consultation today.

Child Hearsay in Georgia

If you are charged with child molestation, cruelty to children, or any crime, in Georgia, where a child is the alleged victim, the State will fie a Motion to Admit Child Hearsay testimony.

This is pursuant to O.C.G.A. 24-8-820. This status is the Georgia Child Hearsay Statute.

O.C.G.A. 24-8-820 reads as follows:

(a) A statement made by a child younger than 16 years of age describing any act of sexual contact or physical abuse performed with or on such child by another or with or on another in the presence of such child shall be admissible in evidence by the testimony of the person to whom made if the proponent of such statement provides notice to the adverse party prior to trial of the intention to use such out-of-court statement and such child testifies at trial, unless the adverse party forfeits or waives such child’s testimony as provide in this title, and, at the time of the testimony regarding the out-of-court statements, the person to whom the child made such statement is subject to cross-examination regarding the out-of-court statements.

All that is required is:

  1. Notice to the defendant of the State’s intention to use such statements.
  2. The child testifying at trial, unless the defendant waives it.
  3. The person to whom the statements were made is subject to cross-examination.

You will need to be prepared to challenge the credibility and the underlying facts of any witness who takes the stand against you and claims that the child made statements to them about the sexual contact or physical abuse. Do not waive the child’s presence at trial. Make the child testify.

In cases of child molestation, there is rarely physical evidence. The entire case comes down to credibility. It is the defendant’s credibility vs. the child’s and the child’s witness’s credibility. Do not forfeit the right to a thorough cross-examination of the child and their witnesses.

These child hearsay witnesses can include testimony of physicians, investigators, parents, other family members, forensic interviewers and any other person who spoke to the child about the allegations.

You must be prepared to challenge each of these statements.

Child Molestation and Cruelty to Children carry severe penalties in Georgia. Do not make statements to the police about the allegations. You must hire a qualified attorney and be prepared to vigorously fight your case at trial.

Please call us at 404-581-0999 if you are charged with any crime involving a child in Georgia.

Have you been charged with attempted murder in Georgia and do not know why?

Georgia law provides that a person commits the offense of murder when he unlawfully and with malice aforethought, either express or implied, causes the death of another human being. Express malice is that deliberate intention unlawfully to take the life of another human being which is manifested by external circumstances capable of proof. Malice shall be implied where no considerable provocation appears and where all the circumstances of the killing show an abandoned and malignant heart. Implied malice is a term which has been defined to mean conduct exhibiting a reckless disregard for human life. Specifically, the Supreme Court of Georgia has held that extremely negligent conduct, which creates what a reasonable man would realize to be not only an unjustifiable but also a very high degree of risk of death or serious bodily injury to another or to others – though unaccompanied by any intent to kill or do serious bodily injury – and which actually causes the death of another, may constitute murder. Reckless disregard for human life may be the equivalent of a specific intent to kill. Evidence that the defendant acted in reckless disregard for human life is, for purposes of demonstrating his guilt of the crime of malice murder, as equally probative as evidence that he acted with a specific intent to kill. So, when does the charge become attempt? A person commits the offense of criminal attempt when, with intent to commit a specific crime, he performs any act which constitutes a substantial step toward the commission of that crime. Intentionally shooting someone can be a substantial step toward the commission of the crime of murder.

For attempted murder, the court will look to your prior intentional acts of violence against the alleged victim. Similarly, if you do not have prior difficulties with the alleged victim, this lack of evidence may support a claim the act was not intentional.

In a Georgia case of Mills v. State, the Supreme Court held in 2010 the evidence supported a finding of both express and implied malice. The defendant had threatened to kill the victim in the past if he caught her cheating on him and had cut her while holding a knife to her throat. The defendant again threatened to kill the victim just hours before the shooting. Later, while high and drunk, the defendant complained that the victim had another man coming to their residence too frequently, and, to show he was serious, the defendant climbed into bed with the victim holding a loaded 9mm handgun with his finger on the trigger, pointed the gun at her, and shot her in the head while her two-year-old son was on the bed next to her. He then failed to seek medical aid and instead sought to dispose of the murder weapon. This evidence was sufficient to show from the external circumstances that the defendant caused the victim’s death with deliberate intention, thereby establishing express malice. In addition, there was no “considerable provocation” for the shooting even under the defendant’s own version of events, and a rational jury could find that the circumstances surrounding the killing showed that the defendant had an abandoned and malignant heart, thereby establishing implied malice.

Have you been charged with attempted murder in Georgia 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.

Fulton County Fraud in Obtaining Public Assistance, Food Stamps or Medicaid – O.C.G.A. § 49-4-15

In Georgia, it is a crime to make a false statement, fail to disclose information, impersonate another, or engage in other fraudulent activities in obtaining public assistance such as food stamps and Medicaid.

This crime can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony depending on the total amount of the value of the public assistance. If the amount of food stamps or public assistance is less than $1,500, then it will be charged as a misdemeanor. In Georgia, the maximum penalty for misdemeanors is 12 months in custody and a $1000 fine. If the value of public assistance exceeds $1500, it will be treated as a felony. Under Georgia law, individuals convicted of felony fraud in obtaining food stamps or Medicaid face a one to five-year imprisonment.

The statute lays out several different examples of fraudulent activity that can fall under this statute:

(1) Knowingly using, altering, or transferring food stamp coupons to purchase food stamp coupons in any manner not authorized by law;

(2) Knowingly possessing food stamp coupons or authorizations to purchase food stamp coupons when he or she is not authorized by law to possess them;

(3) Knowingly possessing or redeeming food stamp coupons or benefits when he or she is not authorized by law to possess or redeem them; or

(4) Knowingly using food stamp coupons or benefits in any manner or for purposes not authorized by law.

Apart from being susceptible to arrest under this statute, the legislation mandates that the individual is also obligated to reimburse the state.

If you have been charged with Food Stamp Fraud in Fulton County, your first court date will be known as your First Appearance Hearing. This hearing will occur shortly after your arrest and will apprise you of your charges and evaluate the case for bond. Following this hearing, the case will be accused or indicted by the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office and assigned a Judge. The address to the Fulton County Courthouse is 136 Pryor St SW, Atlanta, GA 30303.

If you or a loved one has been charged with Fraud in Obtaining Public Assistance, Food Stamps, or Medicaid in Fulton County or in Georgia, call the criminal defense lawyers at Law office of W. Scott Smith for a FREE CONSULTATION at 404-581-0999.

Necrophilia in Fulton County

Necrophilia is a serious crime in Georgia.

O.C.G.A. § 16-6-7: A person commits the offense of necrophilia when he performs any sexual act with a dead human body involving the sex organs of the one and the mouth, anus, penis or vagina of the other.

If you are arrested for necrophilia in Fulton County, you will be taken to first appearance the following day after your arrest. You will be the Fulton County Jail at 901 Rice Street.

The Fulton County District Attorney will indict you and you will need an attorney to zealously defend you.

A person convicted of necrophilia in Fulton County is punishable by imprisonment for not less than 1 nor more than 10 years.

I would be happy to meet with you any time for a free consultation to discuss your case, your rights and your defenses to these allegations.

Call me at 404-581-0999 and let’s schedule a time to meet and discuss your case.

It is your life, your criminal record and you deserve the best representation possible.

My loved one has been arrested for a felony in Fulton County, what happens now?

Everyone arrested for a felony within Fulton County will be taken to the Fulton County Jail or Rice Street to be booked in. After someone is booked, they will be scheduled for First Appearance, typically the next day. The purpose of First Appearance is to inform you of the charges and set a bond. First Appearance is heard by a Magistrate Court judge.

There are four factors that the judge will consider when setting or denying a bond. The factors are that the accused 1) is not a risk of fleeing the jurisdiction or failing to appear in court, 2) doesn’t pose a significant danger to any person or the community, 3) isn’t a risk of committing a new felony, and 4) is not a threat to intimidate witnesses or otherwise obstruct justice. The judge will also take the person’s criminal history, any history of failing to appear in court, and the nature of the allegations into account when considering bond. Bond may be denied based on the type of charge. There are certain crimes – e.g. murder, armed robbery, sex crimes, etc. – that can only be heard by a Superior Court judge.

If bond was denied and your loved one is still incarcerated, they are entitled to a preliminary or probable cause hearing. This is when the State has to bring witnesses to prove the allegations by a probable cause standard or that there is a reasonable belief that the accused committed the alleged act. It is very important to have an experienced advocate to cross-examine and challenge the State’s witnesses and evidence.

If your loved one has been arrested for a felony in Fulton County, please give us a call at 404-581-0999 for a free consultation.

Sexual Battery in Fulton County

If you are arrested for Sexual Battery in Fulton County, please do not make any statements to the police. You will be brought over to court the following morning after your arrest and a Fulton Magistrate Court judge will consider bond.

A person commits the offense of sexual battery when he intentionally makes physical contact with the intimate parts of the body of another person without the consent of that person.

How does the law define intimate parts? It is defined as the primary genital area, anus, groin, inner thighs, or buttocks of a male or female and the breasts of a female.

The intent to do the act is a question of fact for the jury to decide.

Whether there is a conflict in the evidence of whether the victim voluntarily submitted to the contact, it is for a jury to decide that conflict in testimony.

Sexual battery does not require any sexual contact. It only requires the non-consensual, intentional physical contact with the victims’ intimate body parts.

Prior to 2021, an individual younger than 16 years old was legally incapable of consenting to sexual contact. In the case of Watson v. State, the Supreme Court construed the statute to require actual proof of the victim’s lack of consent, regardless of the victim’s age.

Sexual battery is punished as a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature. However, if the victim is under 16 years of age, it is punishable as a felony.

The rule of lenity does not apply between sexual battery and child molestation because child molestation requires additional proof of the defendant seeking to arouse his own sexual desires, which is not required for sexual battery. Furthermore, sexual battery requires proof of physical contact and the victims lack of consent, which are not required for the offense of child molestation.

If you are arrested for Sexual Battery in Fulton County, please give us a call at 404-581-0999.

Why the Peach State Lawyers Should Represent You

The Law Office of W. Scott Smith, PC is a firm of devoted criminal defense attorneys with decades of combined experience whose professionalism, skill, and knowledge make them the perfect firm to zealously advocate for you. This team is not just made up of great attorneys and staff, but great people, too.

Sherdia is our courteous, organized, and hardworking paralegal. She is reliable and efficient, and is truly the powerhouse behind the entire operation. She works diligently to make sure that clients are well taken care of, and is an effective liaison between clients and attorneys when you need quick assistance. She is a joy to know and work with, and a true blessing in the office.

King is our billing manager. He is mindful and empathetic to client billing needs. He will work with you to make sure that your payment plan works for your lifestyle and ensure that you receive the highest caliber of quality (and affordability) in your representation by the Peach State firm.

Beth is our calendar clerk and law student intern. Her organization and focus ensures that at your Court dates, your attorney is present and prepared to give you the best defense and advice. On the very date of this posting (12/15/23), she graduated from law school and it won’t be long before she is in a courtroom fighting for you. Congratulations, Beth.
Marybeth is one of our experienced associate attorneys. She spent several years zealously advocating for indigent folks in the Fulton County Public Defender’s Office, and since joining our firm, has continued to extend the same grace and compassion to her clients that inspired us to bring her aboard in the first place. She works tirelessly for her clients, and if she represents you, you can rest assured that you will receive knowledgeable and empathetic counsel.

Mary is another one of our distinguished associates. She is loveably referred to as a “bulldog” for her passionate and zealous presence in the Courtroom. She has a reputation for being tireless and hard working, and willing to do whatever it takes to represent her clients. Although she may be a bulldog in the Courtroom, she is cherished by her clients who see her as their devoted champion, skilled advocate, and friend.

Erin is our last (but certainly not least) associate attorney. Although she may be a young attorney, her skill, tact, and knowledge of the law puts her in a league all her own. She walks into a courtroom and can outshine attorneys with decades more experience because of her professionalism, courtesy, insight, and courage to fight for her clients. Her clients know her as a counselor who is dependable, hard working, and compassionate. She is an extraordinary attorney, and an even better friend.

Mike and Scott are the partners of Peach State Law. They are passionate and distinguished attorneys with the skill and knowledge to back up their commendable reputations. They advocate for clients charged with the most heinous of crimes, and when they do, they make it look easy. Their finesse in commanding a Courtroom is a talent eclipsed only by their devotion to their associates and staff. They are the best mentors this attorney could have asked for.

And why should you believe me? Because I had the opportunity, the privilege, even, to get to know each and every one of them as an associate attorney myself. I have grown to know and learn from each of them in kind, and they have made me a better attorney and a better person. There is no firm more devoted, hardworking, or knowledgeable in Georgia. This firm is made up of a team that values, above all else, their clients and doing the hard and courageous job of defending the Constitution. Their commitment to you will be unwavering, their diligence and devotion to your defense will be their number one priority. You simply could not ask for more from a law firm, and this attorney could not have asked for more from this family. When you are evaluating your options for legal representation, believe me when I say that these are the good people you want behind you, counseling you, and guiding you. Take it from someone who knows.