Differences Between a Felony and a Serious Felony

Georgia law defines a felony as a crime punishable by the death penalty, life in prison, or imprisonment for more than one year. Even after serving time, your civil and political rights will be taken away.

Georgia makes a distinction between felony and serious felony crimes. Serious felony crimes, also referred to as serious violent felony crimes, are accompanied by separate penalties.

Our Suwanee criminal defense lawyers would like to provide an overview of what offenses are classified as serious violent felonies and the punishments if you are convicted of any of the serious felony offenses.

What is a Serious Violent Felony?

Georgia Code §17-10-6.1 defines a “serious violent felony” as applying to the following offenses:

  • Murder or felony murder
  • Armed robbery
  • Kidnapping
  • Rape
  • Aggravated child molestation
  • Aggravated sodomy
  • Aggravated sexual battery

Punishment for a Serious Violent Felony

A serious violent felony offender will face life in prison for most offenses, with the death penalty reserved for murder, aircraft hijacking, and treason. Since May 1, 2000, anyone who receives the death sentence will be executed by lethal injection.

However, there are certain crimes that may be punished as a split sentence, including:

  • Kidnapping involving a victim who is younger than 14 years old
  • Rape
  • Aggravated child molestation;
  • Aggravated sodomy
  • Aggravated sexual battery

A split sentence involves incarceration for 25 years, followed by probation for life. In a split sentence, no portion of the mandatory prison sentence is allowed to be suspended, stayed, probated, deferred, or withheld.

How Can a Criminal Defense Lawyer Help?

Police officers are quick to arrest a suspect, and a prosecutor may just as quickly charge you without having all the facts straight.

At Banks, Stubbs & McFarland, our criminal defense lawyers will sit down with you and take the time to understand the circumstances surrounding your charge. If you are facing multiple charges, our attorneys can potentially get the charges against you consolidated or even have some of them dropped.

While the court will offer to provide an attorney at no charge to you, using a public defender may not be in your best interest due to the workload and burdens placed on their offices. With your freedom at stake, you will want to hire experienced legal counsel.

Contact our Suwanee Criminal Defense Lawyers Today

If you are in the midst of criminal proceedings, you need a legal advocate who is not afraid to point out discrepancies in the state’s case. Our Suwanee criminal defense lawyers have decades of experience defending serious felony charges and are ready to help. Contact us today online or by phone to schedule your free consultation.