Self Defense In Georgia: Immunity Hearing in Cobb County

If you are charged with a crime in Cobb County and believe you acted in self-defense, you are entitled to an immunity hearing. We will need to file an immunity motion and request a hearing in Cobb County Superior Court.

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 we can interview them. Write down everything you remember about the case and why you believed you had to use force.

The Cobb County Superior Court judge 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.

You have the burden of proof at the immunity hearing in proving that you were justified in using force by a preponderance of the evidence.

If the Cobb County Superior Court 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 Cobb County 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.

Can I claim self-defense?

In Georgia, pursuant to O.C.G.A § 16-3-21, a person is justified in using force to defend themselves or others when a person reasonably believes that such force is necessary to defend themselves or a third person against another person’s imminent use of unlawful force. This means that a person in Georgia may be justified in an action that would otherwise be a crime if they can make out a case to the court that they were defending themselves or another person.

If you believe that you were justified in using force and find yourself charged with a serious felony like aggravated assault, manslaughter, or murder, your attorney will petition the court for an immunity hearing, asking the court to find you immune from prosecution. At this hearing the defendant carried the burden to show the court, by a preponderance of the evidence, that they were justified in their actions because they reasonably believed that they were at risk of receiving a serious or life threatening injury if they did not act.

In order to make this showing to the court the defendant mut show several things:

  • The defendant was not the initial aggressor. If you were the initial aggressor in an argument, meaning that you started a fight or an altercation, you are not permitted to claim self-defense.
  • The defendant was not engaged in mutual combat with the victim. If you and the victim agreed (by words or actions) to engage in a fight, you are not permitted to claim self-defense. However, if you remove yourself from the fight, and communicate this to the other person, and then the other person comes after you, you may now be entitled to claim self-defense.
  • The force used by the defendant was not unreasonable. The amount of force used to defend yourself must be reasonable based upon the amount of force used against you. For example, if someone says “I’m going to slap you” it is not reasonable to shoot them.

If you can show the judge that you were in fact justified in defending yourself, the case will be dropped and you will be immune from prosecution. It is very important that you have a lawyer representing you who can help you make out your case to the court. At the Law Offices of W. Scott Smith, we have handled immunity motions like this is Fulton, Cobb, Dekalb, Gwinnett, Clayton, Newton, Forsyth, and many other counties. Call us today at 404-581-0999 for a free consultation.

Self Defense In Georgia: Immunity Hearing in Fulton County

If you are charged with a crime in Fulton County and believe you acted in self-defense, you are entitled to an immunity hearing. We will need to file an immunity motion and request a hearing in Fulton County Superior Court.

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 we can interview them. Write down everything you remember about the case and why you believed you had to use force.

The Fulton County Superior Court judge 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.

You have the burden of proof at the immunity hearing in proving that you were justified in using force by a preponderance of the evidence.

If the Fulton County Superior Court 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 Fulton County 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.

Self Defense In Georgia: Immunity Hearing

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.

Immunity Motions in Domestic Violence Cases- Fulton County

If a person is charged in the State of Georgia with Domestic Violence, that person has the right to claim self-defense. Not only can the person claim self-defense at trial, but the person also has the right to file what is called an immunity motion under O.C.G.A. § 16-3-24.2.

This is a legal motion made pre-trial, whereby a person can assert that their self-defense claim is so strong that the Court cannot allow the prosecutor to continue with the case. Once the motion is filed, the Court must hear and rule on the motion prior to trial.

In an immunity motion the burden is on the defense to establish, by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not), that they should win on the self-defense theory. Once the defense has raised the self-defense claim, the State then has the burden of disproving the claim of self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt. The judge will hear testimony, consider evidence, and make a ruling. Two outcomes can occur:

  1. If the Court finds that the defense presented sufficient evidence at the pretrial hearing and persuaded the Court that they were acting in self-defense — the Court will grant the motion and dismiss the case.
  2. If the Court finds that the defense did not present sufficient evidence at the pretrial hearing and did not persuade the Court that they were acting in self-defense — the Court will deny the motion and the case will proceed to trial.

The advantage to filing this type of motion is that it can protect a person who is charged with domestic violence from the risk of uncertainty of going to trial. If the motion is not successful, the person charged, still has every right to fight the charges at trial. These motions can be very beneficial, in the right case, for the person charged with domestic violence.

If you or someone you know has been arrested for a domestic violence charge, having a lawyer fight your case can result in a better outcome. Contact the Law Office of Scott Smith today for a free consultation at 404-581-0999.

Georgia Immunity Motions in Domestic Violence Cases

If a person is charged in the State of Georgia with Domestic Violence, that person has the right to claim self-defense. Not only can the person claim self-defense at trial, but the person also has the right to file what is called an immunity motion under O.C.G.A. § 16-3-24.2.

This is a legal motion made pre-trial, whereby a person can assert that their self-defense claim is so strong that the Court cannot allow the prosecutor to continue with the case. Once the motion is filed, the Court must hear and rule on the motion prior to trial.

In an immunity motion the burden is on the defense to establish, by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not), that they should win on the self-defense theory. Once the defense has raised the self-defense claim, the State then has the burden of disproving the claim of self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt. The judge will hear testimony, consider evidence, and make a ruling. Two outcomes can occur:

  1. If the Court finds that the defense presented sufficient evidence at the pretrial hearing and persuaded the Court that they were acting in self-defense — the Court will grant the motion and dismiss the case.
  2. If the Court finds that the defense did not present sufficient evidence at the pretrial hearing and did not persuade the Court that they were acting in self-defense — the Court will deny the motion and the case will proceed to trial.

The advantage to filing this type of motion is that it can protect a person who is charged with domestic violence from the risk of uncertainty of going to trial. If the motion is not successful, the person charged, still has every right to fight the charges at trial. These motions can be very beneficial, in the right case, for the person charged with domestic violence.

If you or someone you know has been arrested for a domestic violence charge, having a lawyer fight your case can result in a better outcome. Contact the Law Office of Scott Smith today for a free consultation at 404-581-0999.

Self Defense in Georgia: Are You Immune from Criminal Prosecution?

The police put you handcuffs for shooting another person. You are on your way to the county jail. You know you acted in self-defense and want a jury trial. But before your jury trial, you are entitled to a hearing to see if you are immune from criminal prosecution. 

O.C.G.A. 16-3-24.2 authorizes a pre-trial hearing to decide if a defendant is immune from criminal prosecution. You must first file an immunity motion requesting a hearing. To avoid trial, a defendant has the burden of proof that he is entitled to immunity. The standard of proof is by a preponderance of evidence.

If the trial judge finds that you have met the burden of proof regarding self-defense, then your indictment is dismissed, and the State cannot continue to prosecute you.

If the defendant cannot meet its burden regarding self-defense at an immunity hearing, he can still argue self-defense at trial. You get two shots at winning your case. First, argue self-defense at an immunity hearing. If you lose, argue self-defense to a jury at trial.

At the immunity hearing, the defendant would call witnesses, present evidence and persuade the judge that he was acting in self-defense. The judge must employ O.C.G.A. 16-3-21(a) to make the finding. This section requires the judge to make a finding of justification based on evidence of the defendant’s reasonable belief that the use of deadly force against the other person was necessary to prevent the defendant from dying or being seriously injured.

If the judge makes such a finding, then the case is over.

If you believe you are being charged with a crime but that you had to act in self-defense to avoid death or serious injury, then call our office and lets discuss whether an immunity motion is proper in your case.

We can meet you at any time at either our Atlanta or Marietta office. Please call us at 404-581-0999 or email me at mike@peachstatelawyer.com