Being prosecuted for a crime is hard enough on a person as any Douglasville, Ga. lawyer will tell you. The thought of losing your liberty and paying fines and fees to hire a Douglasville lawyer is unsettling. Imagine having to do it twice for the same offense?
In Georgia, the guarantee against double jeopardy for the same offense has several aspects. First, there is it the protection against multiple or successive prosecutions for crimes arising from the same conduct. This is a procedural protection which prevents the defendant from being unduly harrassed by successive prosecutions. Two protections are given here: 1) O. CGA 16-1-7 (b) mandates that different crimes arising from the same conduct and known to the prosecution must be tried in a single prosecution. OCGA 16-1-8 (a), b, sets out when a second prosecution is barred. Basically, this section states that defendants should not twice be put in danger of being convicted of the same offense for which he has initially been tried. In United States V. Halper, the Court held that a civil sanction could rise to the level of punishment for purposes of double jeopardy if the sanction involved was so severe as to be punitive in effect. The Supreme Court has since disavowed Halper, holding that punishment for purposes of double jeopardy must take the form of criminal sanctions and a civil penalty, regardless of the severity, may not constitute criminal punishment if its purpose is clearly civil in nature. Second, OCGA 16-1-7(a), in conjunction with OCGA 16-1-6, limits the convictions and punishments that may be imposed for crimes arising from the same criminal conduct. The double jeopardy clause bars any subsequent prosecution in which the government to establish an essential element of an offense charged in that prosecution, will prove conduct that constitutes an offense for which the Defendant has already been prosecuted. In Sallie V. State, 216 Georgia appeals 502, (1995), The defendant was indicted in liberty County for two counts of false imprisonment arising out of the event originating in Bacon County. The Defendant had been convicted in Bacon County for murder, burglary, aggravated assault, and two counts of kidnapping with bodily injury. The appellate court reversed the denial of the defendant's plea of former jeopardy since as a matter of law the false imprisonment charge of this case is a lesser included offense of kidnapping with bodily injury. The court pointed out that when he entered liberty County it was a continuation of the kidnapping and not a separate offense of false imprisonment. If a person is charged with conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine in one county having already pled guilty to possessing methamphetamine in another county and all the overt acts that are being used to charge the Defendant ocurred outside the county, that is double jeopardy.
If you are facing a charge that you believe you have already been convicted of, contact a Douglasville lawyer immeriately.