Aggravated Child Molestation in Cobb County

Aggravated Child Molestation is a serious crime in Cobb County. In fact, it is the worst crime that one can be accused of committing. It is imperative that you retain a qualified attorney immediately if you are being accused of aggravated child molestation in Cobb County. Many allegations of aggravated child molestation are false. Even if you know the allegation of aggravated child molestation against you is made up, you still must take it very seriously and aggressively defend yourself. All it takes is the word of the child, if believed, to convict you.

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

A person commits the offense of aggravated child molestation when such person commits an offense of child molestation which physically injures the child or involves an act of sodomy.

If the alleged victim was physically injured then it is not necessary for the state to prove sodomy.

It must be shown that the alleged victim was under 16 at the time of the act in order to be charged with aggravated child molestation.

Penetration or force is not a requirement of aggravated child molestation. The victim’s testimony that it was painful is sufficient to prove physical injury and no medical evidence is required to corroborate.

If you are convicted of aggravated child molestation in Cobb County, then the sentence will either be life imprisonment or a split sentence of a mandatory minimum of 25 years imprisonment and probation for life. The defendant will also have to be placed on the sex offender registry for life.

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

Do not wait until the  Cobb County District Attorney actually returns an indictment against you before seeking an attorney. Aggravated Child Molestation cases can be proven solely on the victim’s own testimony. Therefore, it is vital that you immediately retain an attorney and get to work in defending yourself of these 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.

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

Drug Trafficking Arrest at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

The repercussions of a drug trafficking arrest at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport often extend far beyond the possibility of prison time and probation. While the legal system imposes penalties for drug-related offenses, individuals also face collateral consequences that can significantly impact their lives. These collateral consequences, ranging from barriers to employment and housing to social stigma and mental health challenges, highlight the complex and enduring effects of drug trafficking arrest at Hartsfield-Jackson’s Atlanta International Airport.

One of the most significant collateral consequences of a drug trafficking arrest at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is the challenge of securing employment. Many employers conduct background checks, and a drug trafficking arrest at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport will serve as a red flag, leading to discrimination in hiring processes. Even if individuals have served their time or completed rehabilitation programs, the stigma associated with a drug trafficking arrest at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport can linger, hindering their ability to find gainful employment and support themselves and their families.

For individuals with a drug trafficking arrest at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport record, securing stable housing can be a daunting task. Landlords may be hesitant to rent to individuals with criminal records, fearing potential liabilities or disruptions to the community. As a result, those with drug trafficking arrest at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport histories may face housing discrimination, limited housing options, or even homelessness, exacerbating the cycle of poverty and instability.

The financial toll of a drug trafficking arrest at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport extends beyond legal fees and fines. Individuals may struggle to obtain loans, financial aid, or housing assistance programs due to their criminal record. Moreover, the loss of income resulting from employment barriers can further strain financial resources, making it challenging to rebuild one’s life after a drug-related arrest.

The stigma surrounding drug trafficking arrest at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airports can lead to social ostracization and isolation. Friends, family members, and community members may distance themselves from individuals with criminal records, perpetuating feelings of shame, loneliness, and alienation. This social stigma can impede reintegration into society and hinder access to support networks essential for rehabilitation and recovery.

The emotional toll of a drug trafficking arrest at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and its aftermath can contribute to mental health challenges such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Coping with the stigma, shame, and uncertainty associated with a criminal record can exacerbate existing mental health conditions or lead to the development of new ones. Without adequate support and resources, individuals may struggle to address these mental health challenges effectively.

 

Barriers to Education and Professional Licenses:

In addition to employment barriers, individuals with drug trafficking arrest at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport records may encounter obstacles in pursuing education and obtaining professional licenses. Many educational institutions and licensing boards conduct background checks, and a criminal record can jeopardize admission or licensure. These barriers limit opportunities for personal and professional growth, perpetuating cycles of disadvantage and hindering efforts to break free from the repercussions of a drug-related arrest.

The collateral consequences of a drug trafficking arrest at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport are profound and enduring, affecting various aspects of individuals’ lives long after the legal process has concluded. From barriers to employment and housing to social stigma and mental health challenges, these consequences underscore the need for comprehensive reform and support systems to address the root causes of substance abuse and mitigate the far-reaching impacts of the criminal justice system.

If you have been arrested for drug trafficking, including marijuana trafficking, cocaine trafficking and heroin trafficking please contact our law office to review your legal options.  Our law office telephone number is 404-581-0999.  Ask for a free consultation on a drug trafficking arrest at the airport.

Theft by Deception in Dekalb County

Theft by deception is a charge that is defined in O.C.G.A. 16-8-3. Theft by deception occurs when a person “obtains property by any deceitful means or artful practice with the intention of depriving the owner of the property”. The statute goes on to explain that a person deceives if he intentionally:

  • Creates or confirms another’s impression of an existing fact or past event which is false and which the accused knows or believes to be false
  • Fails to correct a false impression of an existing fact or past event which he has previously created or confirmed
  • Prevents another from acquiring information pertinent to the disposition of the property involved
  • Sells or otherwise transfers or encumbers property intentionally failing to disclose a substantial and valid known lien, adverse claim, or other legal impediment to the enjoyment of the property, whether such impediment is or is not a matter of official record
  • Promises performance of services which he does not intend to perform or knows will not be performed. Evidence of failure to perform standing alone shall not be sufficient to authorize a conviction under this statute.

The potential punishment following a conviction for theft by deception depends on the value of the property that was the subject of the theft. If the value of the property was more than $24,999.99, the possible punishment is 2 to 20 years in prison. If the value of the property is $5,000.00 to $24,999.99, the possible punishment is 1 to 10 years in prison. If the value of the property was $1,500.01 to $5,000.00, the possible punishment is 1 to 5 years in prison. If a person is convicted of a third offense of theft by deception, an individual is automatically convicted of a felony and may face 1 to 5 years in custody.

As you can see, the potential punishment for theft by deception is serious. However, there are defenses!  For example, if the state cannot prove that there was intent to deceive another person, an individual cannot be convicted of theft by deception. If you are charged with theft by deception in Dekalb County, it is very important that you are represented by a lawyer experienced in handling cases like these. The lawyers at W. Scott Smith work tirelessly to zealously defend their clients. Call our office today at 404-581-0999 for a free consultation.

Failure to Maintain Lane: A Cop’s Most Used Weapon in DUI’s

In the State of Georgia, police officers can use the offense of “failure to maintain lane” as a tool to initiate a traffic stop and potentially investigate a driver for suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI). This offense occurs when a driver fails to stay within their lane while driving on the road.

When a police officer observes a vehicle crossing lane lines, or exhibiting other signs of erratic driving that may indicate impairment, they can use this as reasonable suspicion to pull the driver over. O.C.G.A. § 40-6-48 states that “a vehicle shall be driven as nearly as practicable entirely within a single lane.” It prohibits drivers from leaving their lane until they have determined that a lane change can be made safely. NOTE: weaving within your lane is NOT a failure to maintain lane- the vehicle must cross or touch lane lines. Once the vehicle is stopped, the officer may then proceed with further investigation, which could include administering field sobriety tests or breathalyzer tests to determine if the driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

It’s important to note that while failure to maintain lane can be a legitimate reason for a traffic stop, officers must still follow proper procedures and have reasonable suspicion of DUI to detain and arrest a driver. This means they must observe additional signs of impairment beyond just the lane deviation. It is usually accompanied by “bloodshot eyes”, or “odor of alcohol.” If you get pulled over for a DUI, call us immediately.

 

Theft by Deception in Gwinnett County

Theft by deception is a charge that is defined in O.C.G.A. 16-8-3. Theft by deception occurs when a person “obtains property by any deceitful means or artful practice with the intention of depriving the owner of the property”. The statute goes on to explain that a person deceives if he intentionally:

  • Creates or confirms another’s impression of an existing fact or past event which is false and which the accused knows or believes to be false
  • Fails to correct a false impression of an existing fact or past event which he has previously created or confirmed
  • Prevents another from acquiring information pertinent to the disposition of the property involved
  • Sells or otherwise transfers or encumbers property intentionally failing to disclose a substantial and valid known lien, adverse claim, or other legal impediment to the enjoyment of the property, whether such impediment is or is not a matter of official record
  • Promises performance of services which he does not intend to perform or knows will not be performed. Evidence of failure to perform standing alone shall not be sufficient to authorize a conviction under this statute.

The potential punishment following a conviction for theft by deception depends on the value of the property that was the subject of the theft. If the value of the property was more than $24,999.99, the possible punishment is 2 to 20 years in prison. If the value of the property is $5,000.00 to $24,999.99, the possible punishment is 1 to 10 years in prison. If the value of the property was $1,500.01 to $5,000.00, the possible punishment is 1 to 5 years in prison. If a person is convicted of a third offense of theft by deception, an individual is automatically convicted of a felony and may face 1 to 5 years in custody.

As you can see, the potential punishment for theft by deception is serious. However, there are defenses!  For example, if the state cannot prove that there was intent to deceive another person, an individual cannot be convicted of theft by deception. If you are charged with theft by deception in Gwinnett County, it is very important that you are represented by a lawyer experienced in handling cases like these. The lawyers at W. Scott Smith work tirelessly to zealously defend their clients. Call our office today at 404-581-0999 for a free consultation.

License Consequences for DUI Convictions in the Municipal Court of Smyrna

By: Attorney Erin Dohnalek

In Georgia, an individual may be charged with DUI under the following circumstances:

  • If he/she was in actual physical control of a moving vehicle while he/she was under the influence of alcohol to an extent that it was less safe for them to drive.
  • If he/she was in actual physical control of a moving vehicle while he/she was under the influence of any drug to an extent that it was less safe for them to drive.
  • If he/she was in actual physical control of a moving vehicle while he/she was under the influence of a combination of any two or more controlled substances, which does include alcohol, to an extent that it was less safe for them to drive.
  • If he/she was in actual physical control of a moving vehicle while his/her alcohol concentration was .08 grams or more, or at any time within three hours after such driving ended.
  • If he/she was in actual physical control of a moving vehicle while there was any amount of marijuana or a controlled substance, as defined by O.C.G.A § 16-13-21, present in his/her blood or urine.

If an accused is convicted of a DUI in the Municipal Court of Smyrna, pursuant to O.C.G.A § 40-6-391, his/her license will be suspended. This is a mandatory suspension required by the Department of Driver’s Services. The length of the suspension is decided by how many prior DUI convictions he/she has had in the last five years. Those suspensions are as follows:

  • If the accused has not had a prior DUI conviction in the last five years:
    • The suspension will be for a period of 120 days.
    • During that suspension, the accused will be eligible for a limited permit to drive if he/she is a resident of Georgia, and he/she has not had a prior DUI conviction in the last five years.
    • After the 120-day license suspension, the accused will be eligible to get their permanent license back if he/she has completed a Risk Reduction Course, otherwise known as DUI school, and paid a $210 reinstatement fee.
  • If this is the second DUI conviction in the last five years for the accused:
    • The suspension will be for a period of 18 months.
    • For the first 4 months of the suspension, there will be a hard suspension with no eligibility for a limited permit. This means for the first 4 months, he/she will not be able to drive.
    • After the first 4 months, he/she may be issued a limited permit if he/she installs an ignition interlock in their vehicle.
    • After the full 18 months, the accused will be able to reinstate their permanent license if he/she has completed a substance abuse evaluation, and recommended treatment, and has shown proof of that completion to the Department of Driver’s Services.
  • The most serious license suspension happens to drivers who have been convicted of a third DUI in the last five years.
    • If that occurs, the driver will be considered a Habitual Violator.
    • This will require a 5-year license suspension, and there is no eligibility for a limited permit.
    • Only after two years can an accused be eligible for a probationary license to drive.
    • It is very important that the accused not drive if he/she is a Habitual Violator, as he/she could be arrested for a felony, if caught driving, that carries at least one year in jail.

Contact Us

Due to the severity of the license suspension consequences of a DUI conviction, it is of vital importance to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney about your case. At the Law Offices of W. Scott Smith, our lawyers are trained to know every aspect of defending a DUI, we understand the defenses to the charge, we take pride in advocating for our clients’ constitutional rights, and we detail all options for our clients when defending their case. If you or a loved one has been charged with DUI in the city limits of Smyrna, Georgia, and you are worried about the license consequences associated with a conviction, please call our office today at 404-581-0999 for a free consultation.

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.

What Does It Mean If I Have Been Charged With “DUI Less Safe”?

It is commonly known that driving with a BAC above 0.08 is considered driving under the influence in Georgia. But, the police may still charge you with DUI if your BAC is below 0.08 if they feel that you are less safe to drive than you would have been if you had not consumed alcohol.

O.C.G.A. § 40-6-391 (a)(1) states that “a person shall not drive or be in actual physical control of any moving vehicle while under the influence of alcohol to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive”. This simply means that you may still be charged, and convicted of, DUI even if your BAC registers at a level below 0.08.

If you have been charged with DUI less safe, it is important that you hire an experienced DUI attorney to fight to protect your driver’s license and to prevent the long-term consequences that come with a DUI conviction. The lawyers at W. Scott Smith are experienced with the nuances associated with a DUI case and will work to protect you and resolve your case with the best possible outcome. Call our office at 404-581-0999 for a free consultation.

Henry County Sexual Battery Attorney

Georgia law makes it illegal to intentionally make physical contact with the intimate parts of the body of another without their consent under O.C.G.A. 16-6-22.1(b). It defines intimate parts as the genital area, but also inner thighs, buttocks, and breasts of a female.  Skin to skin contact is not required, and physical contact through clothing is sufficient.

Sexual Battery is typically a high and aggravated misdemeanor. High and aggravated misdemeanors have harsher sentencing than standard misdemeanors, including a fine of up to $5,000. If sentenced to custodial time on a high and aggravated misdemeanor, it is typical to not be eligible to earn good time credit or be eligible for earlier release. If convicted of sexual battery against a child under 16, it is a felony offense carrying punishment of one to five years imprisonment. When convicted of sexual battery against someone over 16 years old, the State of Georgia considers it a felony offense carrying one to five years imprisonment. Similarly, when convicted of Sexual battery for the second time, Georgia will treat it as a felony offense. Both misdemeanors and felonies appear on criminal histories.

There are defenses to Sexual Battery in Georgia. First of all, a defense would be if the incident did not occur.  Additionally, having the other party’s consent is a valid defense. The law requires actual proof of the victim’s lack of consent in order to be convicted of sexual battery.

If you or a loved one has been charged with Sexual Battery in Henry County or anywhere in Georgia, call the Law Office of W. Scott Smith for a FREE CONSULTATION at 404-581-0999.

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.