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North Georgia Violent Crime Attorney

Providing Zealous Criminal Defense in Georgia for Over 20 Years

The McLeod Law Firm, P.C. has been dedicated to defending those charged with serious criminal offenses including violent crimes throughout North Georgia for over 20 years.  We perpetually aspire to provide the highest standards of legal representation to clients accused of the most serious criminal offenses including violent crimes.  Violent crimes typically carry the most severe penalties and harshest sentences of any criminal offense.   We  have  handled virtually every type of violent crime imaginable, such as armed robbery, arson, assault, battery, carjacking, child abuse, hate crimes, gun crimes, homicide, kidnapping, manslaughter, mayhem, murder, robbery, terrorism charges and vehicular manslaughter.

Our well-regarded criminal defense law firm has been aggressively defending the rights of clients charged with violent crimes throughout North Georgia for over two decades. Anyone charged with a violent felony in Georgia faces a potential state prison sentence of 25 years to life or the death penalty, depending upon the specific facts and circumstances of your case.

Our criminal defense attorney, David McLeod, will use his experience to evaluate the weight of the evidence against you and provide candid advice about your legal options.  Mr. McLeod will explore all viable defenses, including self-defense or defense of a third party, mistaken identity and lack of intent to cause harm or commit a crime.  He  will carefully analyze every item of evidence, including forensic evidence and witness or victim statements.   We will also carefully scrutinize every aspect of your arrest and searches executed in your case to identify grounds for suppression of evidence and a dismissal of pending charges.

Georgia Violent Criminal Offenses

Violent crimes involve acts that physically harm another person by physical force, weapons, or threats of violence. Murder, rape, assault, battery, robbery, terrorist threats, and the use of a weapon or motor vehicle to commit a crime are all illegal acts of violence that generally result in long prison sentences.

In 2009, there were approximately 1,318,398 violent crimes committed nationwide with aggravated assault the most commonly reported violent crime.  Murder comprised about 1.2 percent of all violent crimes reported that year. Guns were used in 67.1 percent of murders, 42.6 percent of robberies and about 21 percent of aggravated assaults.  If the above paragraph does not help SEO, please remove.

Like any criminal offense, the state or prosecution has the burden of proving each element of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt. The following is a list of the more familiar types of violent crimes, their elements, and the penalties associated with them.


Murder is the most serious criminal offenses.  It has different degrees depending upon the intent of the accused, the status of the victim, the circumstances of the crime and prior planning.  Georgia differentiates murder as Felony Murder and Malice Murder.

Felony Murder

This criminal offense involves the intent to commit a felony offense that results in death to another person.  An example is a robbery at a residence in which someone dies as a proximate result of the underlying crime i.e. the robbery.

Malice Murder

This charge is similar to second-degree murder.  The accused acts with malice, which is the intent to cause serious bodily harm to another, or acts with reckless indifference to the rights or safety of another person.

The penalties for murder are life in prison, with or without the possibility of parole, or death.


Voluntary manslaughter is an unlawful killing without malice where the accused is provoked to a degree that would have caused a reasonable person to have acted suddenly or violently under similar circumstances.

The penalty for voluntary manslaughter is 1-20 years incarceration.

Felony involuntary manslaughter may occur when a person’s actions result in death while the accused is committing an unlawful act that is not a felony.

The penalty is 1-10 years in prison.

Misdemeanor involuntary manslaughter is committed when the defendant kills another person while committing a lawful act in an unlawful way, such as lawfully defending yourself but using excessive force.

Felony Vehicular Homicide

Any person who causes the death of another by violating certain traffic laws can be convicted of this crime.

A motorist can be found guilty if the following acts are demonstrated:

  • Reckless driving;
  • Driving intoxicated or under the influence of drugs;
  • Attempting to flee from a police officer;
  • Unlawfully contacting or overtaking a school bus;
  • Failure to stop after a fatal collision.


These acts are considered felonies, and the defendant can face 3-15 years in prison.

Misdemeanor Vehicular Homicide

An example of this offense is a motorist who runs a stop sign and causes a fatal accident.

A misdemeanor conviction can result in a prison sentence of up to one year and a fine up to $1,000.

Aggravated Assault

An assault in Georgia is aggravated if the following occurs:

  • The accused had the intent to rob, rape, or commit murder;
  • A deadly weapon was used;
  • Or, the accused fired at someone from a moving vehicle.


A conviction carries a sentence of 1-20, 3-20, or 5-20, depending upon the circumstances of the offense.

Gun Crimes

Armed Robbery

The elements of this crime include the following:

  • Intent to commit theft;
  • By use of an offensive weapon, which can include a replica or anything resembling such a weapon.

A person convicted of armed robbery faces the death penalty, life imprisonment or incarceration from 10-20 years, depending upon the circumstances.

Along with use of a gun in committing a crime, which can enhance a jail sentence, Georgia criminalizes the following acts:

  • Possession of a concealed weapon, assault weapon, or loaded weapon
  • Possession of a firearm by a convicted felon
  • Unlawful sales of firearms
  • Unlawful discharge of a firearm

Defenses to Georgia Violent Crimes

Defenses to violent crimes include demonstrating that the accused lacks the capacity to commit the crime through intoxication, drug use, insanity or diminished capacity.  Psychiatric testimony may be used to show “diminished capacity” to commit the crime or that the accused had mental health issues and was incapable of forming the intent to commit the crime.

Further, a defendant can be innocent if he lacked criminal intent, such as backing out of a driveway and accidentally striking and killing a pedestrian.

A lesser degree of a crime may be established by showing that the accused was provoked, acted in the heat of the moment or suffered provocation that would have caused a reasonable person to have acted in the same manner.

Self-defense may become a viable defense if the following facts are established:

  • The accused was attacked first;
  • He or she was unable to flee or use other means of resolving the situation
  • The force used was proportionate to the force with which the accused was threatened;
  • The defendant stopped once the threat was over. 

For instance, using a gun after being punched in the face would be excessive force and would no longer be self-defense.

In addition, a false confession obtained by means of coercion, deception or threats, if uncovered by an experienced defense attorney, may be thrown out by the court.

Violent crimes are serious offenses that can result in long prison sentences or even the death penalty in some cases. If you or a loved one has been accused of a violent crime, do not hesitate to consult with an attorney at the McLeod Law Firm, P.C. in Gainesville, Georgia to ensure the professional representation you need.  The defense strategies highlighted here are just a few examples of successful techniques  we may utilize in seeking a dismissal or reduction of your pending violent criminal charges.  If you have been charged with a violent crime, call the McLeod Law Firm, P.C. in Gainesville, Georgia and speak to David McLeod to explore your legal options and protect your rights.

The McLeod Law Firm, P.C. provides criminal defense legal representation based on experience and commitment to its clients across North Georgia including Gainesville, Cumming, Jefferson, Hall County, Forsyth County, Dawson County and Dawsonville. We continually update our practice to incorporate the most appropriate communication, technological, and legal advances in an effort to better serve our clients. We are located in historical downtown Gainesville, Georgia. 




McLeod Law Firm, PC

Gainesville Office

200 West Academy Street NW,
Gainesville, Georgia 30501

Phone: (770) 536-0202

Fax: (800) 881-4025

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