Throughout the country, state and federal laws recognize a vast range of criminal activity. In Georgia, the courts break down criminal activity into three major categories:

  • Infractions
  • Misdemeanors
  • Felonies

Infractions are minor offenses that do not involve arrests, like traffic violations, littering, jaywalking, and more. However, crimes categorized as misdemeanors and felonies do commonly involve arrest.

In part 1 of our 2-part series on different types of arrest, we’re looking at what is involved with misdemeanor and felony arrests.

Misdemeanor Arrest

A misdemeanor arrest takes place when the police catch someone in the act of committing minor, non-felony offenses. In most states, including Georgia, officers can only proceed with arrest if the crime occurs in the officer’s presence or if the officer has probable cause to believe the culprit has committed a crime. The officer does not require a warrant to carry out the arrest, and punishment cannot exceed either $1,000 in fines or one year in jail. (In certain instances, a person can receive fines and jail time.)

What is Probable Cause?

The term “probable cause” allows officers to carry out a misdemeanor arrest even if they do not physically witness the crime.

For instance, an officer may not see a bag of marijuana on a person. However, if they can smell it on the person in question, the officer has probable cause to assume they are in possession of the drug and can proceed with an arrest.

Another example is if an officer arrives at the scene of a car wreck and spots an intoxicated person exiting the driver’s seat. The officer has probable cause to assume they were driving under the influence and can carry out an arrest.

Examples of a Misdemeanor

Georgia recognizes many offenses as misdemeanors, including:

  • Aggressive or reckless driving
  • Battery
  • Driving under the influence
  • Drunk and disorderly conduct
  • Fleeing arrest
  • Indecent exposure
  • Possession of marijuana (less than 1 ounce)
  • Theft or shoplifting property valued at less than $500

Felony Arrest

Officers can carry out a felony arrest with or without a warrant, depending on the circumstances of the crime. Felony arrest is involved if the offense is more severe than a misdemeanor. People can receive felony charges on a state or federal level depending on which law they break or where the crime occurs. For instance, a crime on federal property will involve the federal court, while a crime on private property will likely involve the state court.

In Georgia, a felony crime is punishable by either death, life imprisonment, or imprisonment that will exceed one year. They are severe or harmful, and most are punishable through 1-20 years in prison.

Examples of a State Felony

Georgia recognizes many offenses as felonies, including:

  • Aggravated assault
  • Aggravated battery
  • Arson
  • Fraud
  • Kidnapping
  • Manslaughter
  • Murder
  • Rape
  • Robbery

Examples of a Federal Felony

The US Federal Government recognizes many offenses as felonies, including:

  • Counterfeiting
  • Drug trafficking
  • Human trafficking
  • Money laundering
  • Piracy
  • Sexual crimes against children
  • Treason
  • Violent crimes
  • White collar crimes

Although you can experience different types of arrests in Georgia, Bushway Law Firm is prepared to fight for you.

Gregory Bushway is a former prosecutor who provides dedicated criminal defense to his clients. Whether you have been arrested on a misdemeanor or felony charge, Gregory and his team will provide exceptional counsel at every step. Schedule a consultation with our team today: 478-621-4995

Related Blogs:

What to Know About a Drug Possessions Charge in Georgia

Understanding Criminal Law Terms & Their Meanings