There are a lot of things that you should do when you are looking choose an attorney for your case. First, it is very important that you have a lawyer. If you got fingerprinted, you need a lawyer.
What you want to do is meet with them in their office, you want to make sure they have an office. That they have a place in the area where your case starts. You want to make sure they have a good reputation in town, with their clients. You want to make sure they care about your case because it is going to take a while to resolve and you want to know that they’ve got it handled the entire way throughout your case.
I always suggest that people meet with three lawyers. It takes a lot of time, and it’s scary. You may want to pick someone right away. But you want to pick a person who works with you and that you are comfortable with. when you choose an attorney, it’s like picking a doctor. You wouldn’t but your heart in the hands of someone who has never held one before.
There are a lot of things you need to look at in every single case before any decision is made. That decision should always be yours, not the lawyer’s.
What should I do if I am accused of a crime? If a police officer or a detective wants to talk to you, calls your house or comes by your house and wants to talk to you about anything you should always say I’d like to speak to a lawyer first. Oftentimes, the police officer or the person that you’re speaking will make it sound like it’s going to go worse for you if you ask for a lawyer. Well the issue is if you go in unprotected, this is a police officer who is trained to interrogate you. You are unprotected if you go without a lawyer and while it may seem that the police officer is being nice to you and want’s to clear your name or protect you he’s allowed to lie to you. And he’s also allowed to mislead you in order to get this information from you. You may not have any information at all but the police officer can take what you say to their own uses So please, anytime that you are accused of anything, any kind of crime I always say that if it involves fingerprints then you need a lawyer. And oftentimes people think well, I’ll just go and tell them I’m innocent but there’s been plenty of people arrested at the end of that interview because they get their words turned around. So it’s very important if a police officer or someone wants to talk to you about a case, please call a lawyer first.
You have a right not to incriminate yourself. A lot of people have heard about it under the Fifth Amendment. But what’s really important about that is what that means is even when you feel like you have nothing to hide, the police officer who’s trying to talk to you may have a different opinion, and they may be trying to get you to talk so that they can make their case. You have the right, always, to remain silent. You have the right not to answer any questions.
A lot of people have a misconception that if they just cooperate with the police, then everything will be okay. We have found that the opposite is the case. The more you talk to law enforcement, the more likely you are to get charged and to get prosecuted. That’s why it’s important, if a police officer wants to speak with you, you tell them you want to speak to a lawyer, and then you actually call a lawyer and have one let you know if it’s okay, at that point, to speak. But have someone protecting your interests, because the police officer, when questioning you, does not have your best interests at heart.
“If your son or daughter has been arrested or the police want to talk to them, we ask that you get them an attorney right away. You as a parent can waive their rights to certain things and inadvertently hurt them. So, if someone calls to talk to your child or have you bring your child in, you need to call a lawyer first. Don’t agree to any meetings.
If your child has been arrested, it’s really important that they have a lawyer. Why is that? Because they are so young, this is their permanent record. You need someone who’s protecting that permanent record for them. There are several instances where children are charged with very serious crimes as children. So, that’s why it’s always important to consult an attorney as soon as your child gets arrested or even before, if the police are wanting to talk to them, so that we can protect their rights.
Diversion is typically a prosecutor-designed program in a court for someone who has not been in trouble before. They have it available – typically – for domestic violence, in drug cases, some theft cases, and some other types of cases where justice permits that the case is handled in a different way – in a pretrial manner – rather than the regular court system.
So, what does diversion consist of? It’s very different for jurisdiction, and it’s actually very different for each court and each prosecutor. Oftentimes, there’s a community service component. There’s also going to be some supervision of the person – maybe some checking in and some visits for the diversion officer, in order to successfully complete the program. And they would have a checklist of things that you need to get done during the diversion. You need to stay out of trouble while you’re in diversion.
But there’s a huge benefit – there’s a huge upside – to diversion because if you complete all of that, diversion will have your case dismissed and normally, your record restricted, to protect your record. So, diversion is something you definitely want to ask an attorney if your case is eligible for diversion.
Domestic violence is a crime against a person in your family. It doesn’t even have to be your immediate family, but the closer, familial relationship can get you a charge for domestic violence. The really good part is the law does currently still understand that sometimes things can get heated, especially in families, and there are some allowances –we call them “diversion programs” here in Georgia – that allow a first-time offender for domestic violence to essentially get their record restricted and the case dismissed, as long as they follow the diversion program. So, diversion is definitely an option if you’re charged with domestic violence. Diversion is definitely something you want to look for or ask for when you are charged with a domestic violence offense.
Aggravated assault is one of the most common charges that we come across as a serious felony. It is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. What’s interesting about aggravated assault, it’s also kind of one of the easiest things to occur. If you have a weapon and you point it at someone, that’s considered aggravated assault in Georgia. Aggravated battery is essentially any broken or disfigurement on the person who you were in an assault with. If you assault a person and they get a scar; break a finger; lose an eye – anything like that, you can be charged with aggravated battery, which is a 20-year prison term.
The interesting part is you could be charged with the original conduct of getting in a fight with them, but then charged with the extra charge of aggravated battery because of the injuries that occurred as a result of their assault. In Georgia, you can have what’s called a “self-defense immunity hearing” prior to your trial, where the judge actually hears what happened. And the judge may decide that you don’t need to be charged with aggravated assault at all and let you go. So, having an attorney that can litigate those hearings and present those hearings to the court are very important.
A felony charge case involve a lot of different kind of crimes here in Georgia and in Cobb County a felony case can take anywhere from six months to two years to resolve typically depending on the severity of the case and who it’s assigned to both prosecutor and judge. So the investigation often will take anywhere from four to nine months before you’re formally charged in what’s called an indictment. After that indictment, you’ll have something called an arraignment and that’s sort of the starter pistol for your felony case. That’s how it all gets started in court. After that, you’ll appear for many what’s called calendar calls they’re like a big roll call where they bring everybody together in an effort to try to get the cases resolved.
What that means is they try to bring you in to plead guilty. When you fight your case and you go to trial a trial can take anywhere from two days to a week to two weeks, again, depending on the severity of the case and the amount of witnesses in the case. You should always be prepared to fight your case at trial because your outcome oftentimes will be better as a result of you asserting your innocence.
If you have been wrongfully accused of a crime, you absolutely need to hire a trial lawyer – a criminal defense trial lawyer. And why is that? Everyone at the courthouse is not gonna magically figure out that you’re innocent. Everyone has to be shown that, from the police officer that arrested you, to the prosecutor, to the judge, and sometimes even to the jury. They need to be shown that you are innocent.
That’s not an easy task, but it’s absolutely important, and it’s important that you continue to fight and not be discouraged about the system and what can happen. I believe that the system can figure out if you’re innocent. I believe that it can do that. But it can only do that if you force that wedge into that cog. It can only do that when you are fighting your case.
Here is a question that we often get from people: Should I talk to the police even if I have nothing to hide? The straight-up answer is, “No, you shouldn’t.” And here’s the reason why: you have the right to not incriminate yourself. You have the right to remain silent. But more importantly, you have constitutional rights for people not to search your person – body – and also, not to compel you to talk. So, should you submit to the questioning? People tell me, “Well, I didn’t have anything to hide.” Your words can be twisted. Things can be found that you had no idea about. They can ask you about things that they never told you they were gonna ask you about. So, you open yourself up to many different things.
So, you should never, ever, ever voluntarily go down to the station and talk to the police without a lawyer. That person is NOT looking out for your interests. It doesn’t make you look guilty. It doesn’t make you look anything other than someone who is intelligently exercising their constitutional rights that they are permitted to do. Even if you have nothing to hide, if the police come calling, Should I talk to the police? The answer is always, “No, thank you. I’d rather not.” Then you need to call a lawyer.
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As part of criminal justice reform, incentives were offered for accountability courts to be set up in many of Georgia’s counties. Cobb County is an excellent example of the use of accountability courts. We have a misdemeanor DUI court. But we also have three felony courts, and that’s how it actually started. The first one was drug court. It works extremely well for people who are addicted to drugs and have committed felonies as a result. We also have a mental health accountability court. Even better, it makes sure that people who may have had a brush with the law but have a serious mental illness can get structure and support, and not be incarcerated for their mental illness. The third felony accountability court is Veteran’s Court, which also addresses drug addiction and mental health issues, but specifically geared toward the unique experience of veterans.
Accountability courts are always an alternative way to handle a sentence. It’s better than prison – it works better than prison, it costs less than prison, and we have found through efforts of support of people who were charged, that they can have great outcomes. So, accountability courts allow a different way for cases to be handled. It takes the stress off the criminal justice system, but also usually is an excellent service for the person who is charged.
Vehicular homicide, in both degrees here in Georgia, is always serious because somebody passed away. There’s a death that the government is dealing with. Vehicular homicide in the first degree is the most serious, punishable by 15 years in prison. And how that occurs is when somebody dies, and the resulting party either was DUI, fleeing an officer, overtaking a school bus, reckless driving, or even a hit and run. So, it’s not a good idea if you have an accident, ever, to leave the scene, ’cause if somebody later dies, you can be charged with vehicular homicide in the first degree.
Now, vehicular homicide in the second degree is essentially everything else – every other moving violation. You turn left in front of a motorcyclist. You rear-end someone, and someone dies as a result of a traffic collision. You can be charged with vehicular homicide.
In almost all deaths that are sudden or unusual, result in a police investigation. So, what can happen to you if somebody dies and you’re being charged – there’s a few different kinds of charges. There is murder, voluntary manslaughter, and involuntary manslaughter. The difference in murder is we think of it in the normal way – somebody planned out and committed a murder. That is a mandatory life sentence without parole for 30 years. Sometimes there’s something called “felony murder,” which is where a person has committed a felony and someone dies from that felony.Voluntary manslaughter is usually where a death results after provocation, or through some justifiable manner. Involuntary manslaughter is even a lesser scale than that, and that’s typically when someone is doing a lawful act, but acted in an unlawful manner, and that’s involuntary manslaughter. Then there’s oftentimes, sometimes, reckless conduct that results in a misdemeanor voluntary manslaughter – sort of an accident that involves a death. Always know that if a death is involved, the police are gonna probably be involved. It may be important for everyone concerned to have an attorney in that circumstance.
Sex Crimes Questions
When you are charged with prostitution or pimping, pandering or human – even human sex trafficking, those all can be charged, even when there’s consenting adults involved. That’s why it’s super-important, because there’s mandatory minimums for some of these charges. There’s also sex offender registry for these charges, and they’re almost always considered something of a high and aggravated nature – more serious. And that’s the important thing to understand – the Internet’s involved in a lot of these cases, and these sex crimes result in what seemingly might be innocent, consensual behavior, but can turn into a very serious charge very quickly. If you are charged with that, don’t be ashamed because of how the charge is made. You need to talk to an experienced attorney who can navigate what these charges mean in Georgia and how they are prosecuted, because that’s very important.
There’s one that’s both national and there’s one here in the state of Georgia and there’s one in every state. Essentially, it is a list of people who have been convicted of a sexual offense. If you’re on the, you have certain places that you can and can’t live or locations you aren’t allowed to go to, which involves schools, school bus stops, playgrounds, swimming pools, etc. It can severely curtail where you can live and work. It’s a pretty onerous burden for anyone.
Any sex offense here in Georgia that you’re convicted of that’s not a misdemeanor pretty much involves this sex offender registry and oftentimes once you’re on it, you can never get off even if you move to another state. So it’s very important that you make sure you fight a case so that you do not end up on the sex offender registry. And it’s also public so people can look it up on the internet an there have been instances where people have been their houses have vandalized just because they appear on that registry. And it doesn’t matter if you’ve already done time or completed your sentence you still appear on the registry and people can still punish you for it.
Sometimes a completed sentence can mean that you are eligible for removal from the sex offender registry, but it requires a petition and oftentimes a court hearing. This is something Frye Law Group is experienced in and can help with.
Kim Keheley Frye is a compassionate and aggressive trial attorney. Her true passion is protecting people who are facing criminal prosecution. If you or a loved one have been accused of a crime, contact us today.
Child porn essentially is photographs on your phone, on your computer, or any kind of media that you have that depicts a child under the age of 18 nude or partially clothed in a sexually suggestive manner. And what has happened what we’ve seen happen is people may download from torrent or other large file sharing services lots of pictures and there may be some pictures on there that actually have a little marker in them that alerts the government that you downloaded them. And then if you share those files you have then distributed those files to someone else. This is a very serious crime both federally and here in the state of Georgia.
There is a mandatory prison sentence if you are convicted of this and just possessing it is enough for the state to come after you. So if someone wants to ask you about whether you have something on your computer or wants to seize your computer you need to tell them you need to speak to a lawyer and that they need to have a warrant to get any of your personal property. And of course, the best practice is not to have that on their computer but as we all know we don’t often know what files we have on our computer. Everyone’s gotten a computer virus before that they didn’t know was there.
DUI checkpoints are actually legal here in Georgia, but not in all states. In Georgia, there are certain requirements for them though. They have to be well marked so that you can tell it’s a checkpoint. There has to be a minimal amount of stopping of the traffic – so if it’s stopping traffic too much then it’s not legal. There has to be a supervisor present on scene but they cannot be doing the actual DUI investigations.
One of the things to remember when you pull up to a checkpoint you have the same rights that you have at any time that you’re actually stopped in a car. You don’t have to cooperate with any field tests whatsoever. You don’t have to blow in anything and you only have to present your driver’s license and insurance if asked. You don’t have to answer any questions. So that’s something that’s important to remember if you ever do come up on a roadblock or checkpoint.
The first thing you do when you’re stopped for a DUI in Georgia is try to remain calm. It’s always scary when you get stopped by a police officer for anything. And when they walk up to the car and the first thing they’re gonna do is ask you questions. Have your driver’s license and if you have your insurance card have that ready to go. At that point, you don’t have to answer any other questions or do any exercises for the officer.
If I’m stopped for a DUI in Georgia, why shouldn’t I have to answer any other questions?
Oftentimes I’m asked well; “won’t I get arrested if I don’t cooperate with the officer?” The truth is you may get arrested anyways whether you cooperate or not but you don’t have to cooperate and give the officer possibly more evidence against yourself.
So when he asks you to do any field sobriety tests or anything just to check and see if you’re okay to drive say “no, thank you, I’d rather not. Am I under arrest?”
Georgia is an implied consent state. Implied consent means a person has consented to a blood-alcohol test by driving on Georgia’s roads. A driver may refuse to take the test, but you may face a suspended license. You only have 30 days from the date of your arrest to contest the suspension of your license. Do not delay getting an experienced DUI lawyer to handle your case.
If you’re charged with a DUI in Georgia, contact Kim Frye. To read more about charges for DUI a Georgia, visit our DUI Defense page.
DUI consequences in Georgia can be rather harsh and there’s a lot of collateral consequences. After a conviction for DUI you could receive a license suspension, you can’t travel to Canada for 10 years, you can’t rent a car. You may have to have an ignition interlock device installed in your car. You’re going to have trouble keeping a job where you drive a company car or getting a job where you have a company car. You may lose your car insurance. In any event, your car insurance is going way up. This is going to be on your record permanently if you get convicted with DUI for the rest of your life.
So how do you avoid all of those collateral DUI consequences? The only way to avoid having a DUI stay off your record in Georgia is to fight your case and win. You fight your case and win then your record will be restricted. And there are lots of different ways to fight your case. And that’s what we do here we look for ways to fight your case.
If you’re arrested for your DUI, obviously you need a lawyer immediately, within thirty days of your arrest – is the first thing that you do. The second thing you can do to give yourself peace of mind is to start working on community service at a 501(c)(3). If you do that, you can start building the hours, because a third DUI requires a minimum of 240 hours of community service. The other thing that every judge is going to want to see in your case as a drug and alcohol evaluation. So, go to a drug and alcohol evaluator to be evaluated to see if treatment is necessary. Every single court is going to want to see that.
Drug Crimes Questions
Drug possession comes in a couple of different forms. You can just literally possess the drug on your person; in your car; in your home. That’s one level of a drug offense, and it’s usually considered the lowest level. The next level is an intent to distribute; distributing or manufacturing. That takes it to a whole nother level – higher mandatory minimums, higher fines – things like that. How that changes is it could be literally you sharing –someone sharing – their controlled substances with somebody else. You share cocaine. That is distributing, technically.
The other thing – there are factors that help the police officers charge you with intent to distribute. You may have a tiny, tiny bit of marijuana, but you may have other factors –someone may have other factors there. A weight– a scales; money; baggies. Things of that nature help the police officers, or signal to the police officers, that someone may not be using the drugs for their personal use.
Drug trafficking actually comes about by possessing a certain amount of weight of a controlled substance. With marijuana, it’s ten pounds. What’s interesting is how the government comes to the conclusion of it being ten pounds of marijuana, and that’s something that we deal with in our business, trying to figure that out and negotiate that. So, trafficking is always a minimum amount of weight. So, that would be about an ounce of cocaine, typically four grams of morphine or heroin, or ten pounds of marijuana, or one ounce of meth.
Those are kind of the base level weights, and there’s a big discrepancy there between marijuana; between heroin; between cocaine; between meth. One of the interesting things that we do is we’ve done a lot of extra training on the science of how the government measures those things. So, that is a way to defend your case. If the government faultily weighed the controlled substance, that helps you in your case.
If you are in need of defense for drug trafficking, contact our office.
Is possession of a controlled substance a felony? “Controlled substance” sometimes will mean cocaine, meth, heroin – those are the things that you would naturally think of. Those are a controlled substance. Marijuana is also a controlled substance. Marijuana – the green, leafy variety – in less than an ounce is a misdemeanor. However, anything over an ounce, here still in Georgia, is a felony. What’s even more interesting is the law treats marijuana wax, THC wax, or dabs, or things of that nature differently than it treats green marijuana. It also treats plants that you’re growing differently than it treats the dried marijuana.
So, pretty much anything over one ounce of the green leafy material – any kind of marijuana – is also a controlled substance. And yes, they are felonies here in Georgia, and there are some alternative sentencing arrangements that you can make sometimes in cases, but it is a serious case. Also, prescription medications – they are always controlled substances in most cases, and without a proper prescription, possessing them, like Xanax or Valium or OxyContin, would be a felony.
Many people ask if it’s possible to get charged for a DUI for marijuana in Georgia. The truth is that consequences for a marijuana DUI are actually worse than they are for an alcohol DUI. If you get convicted for being under the influence of marijuana when you are driving a car, there is a six month hard license suspension with no ability to drive whatsoever. That is worse than an alcohol DUI. Proving impairment at the time of diving that’s one of the most difficult things for the state to prove. It’s important that you not submit to any testing whatsoever. That makes it more difficult for the state to prove that you were impaired by marijuana at the time of driving a car.
What constitutes as “Driving under the Influence?”
Georgia’s prohibition of DUI is not restricted to just alcohol. The presence of marijuana or illegal drugs in your system in any amount constitutes driving under the influence. Since it is actually illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana in Georgia, and can will take or attempt to take blood and urine from you in order to prove that. If a driver has a restricted prescription drug in their system, they may face a DUI conviction. If a driver has a prescription and is impaired due to the medication, they still can be convicted of a DUI.
What to Do if I’m pulled over for a DUI for Marijuana
It’s hard to know what to do when pulled over. Georgia is an implied consent state which means a person has consented to a blood-alcohol test by driving on Georgia’s roads. A driver may refuse to take the test, but you may face a suspended license and/or a search warrant for your blood. You can still refuse to have your blood taken even if they take a search warrant. The officer may threaten to charge you with obstruction, but it is still your right.
Kim Frye is an experienced and aggressive DUI lawyer with extensive courtroom experience. Prior to entering the private practice of law, she worked with the district attorney’s office. Her experience as a prosecutor helps her to detect when the police have acted improperly.
To learn more about driving under the influence and a DUI for marijuana or other substances, visit our DUI Defense page.