In Georgia, unlike other states, each misdemeanor is punishable in the same way:
- A fine no more than one thousand dollars, or
- Imprisonment in a county jail or correctional institution for no more than twelve months; both; or
- Confinement under the Board of Corrections jurisdiction in a county or state correctional institution or
- other institution as directed by the Department of Corrections for more than six months but no more than twelve months.
Depending on the judge, the sentence can include a fine or jail time but usually not both. Probation may also be misdemeanor punishment in Georgia. The court has the ability to allow a person convicted of a misdemeanor to serve their sentence on probation.
Criminal Offenses generally fall under one of several categories. Whether the person is charged with a felony or misdemeanor depends on the circumstance and severity of the offense:
Traffic offenses- DUI/DWI charges will be raised depending on how many times a person has been convicted in the past of DUI/DWI. Many traffic offenses can result in license suspension. See the Traffic offense tab for additional information
Property Crimes- Misdemeanors include theft and shoplifting of less than $500.00. Above $500.00 or if there is burglary, arson, forgery, or robbery it can be charged as felony.
Sex Crimes- Misdemeanor sex crimes include sexual battery, indecent exposure, and pandering.
Violent Crimes- Acts of violence on another person by one or a combination of either verbally, mentally, or physically attacking. Battery, assault and stalking can be charged as misdemeanors depending on severity. Felonies include manslaughter, murder, and aggravated assault.
Drug Crimes- Possession of illegal drugs is a misdemeanor. The difference between misdemeanor and a felony charge depends on the weight of the drugs and other factors.
Public Order and obstruction- Misdemeanors include public drunkenness, unlawful assembly, and disorderly conduct. Felonies include treason, violation of an oath of office, and violent obstruction towards a police officer.
Domestic Violence- Misdemeanor offenses are treated differently when family is involved. Depending on the situation it can be felony. Domestic violence charges have federal penalties as well such as not being able to own a firearm. Furthermore, once the charges are filed generally they cannot be dropped by the alleged victim.
Fraud- These include charges such as 4th degree forgery, deposit account fraud under $500.00, giving a false name, or making a false report. In certain circumstance these charges can increase to felony charges.
Guns- carrying a weapon without a license or having a weapon in an unauthorized location can be charged as misdemeanors. If there are subsequent chares of the same offense, you can be charged with a felony.