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Facing a murder charge is by far the most serious criminal charge you can face. It is not just life altering; it is life ending. A murder charge can lead to a long-term sentence that can span the rest of a defendant’s life. Because of the severity of a murder charge, you need to work closely with a Georgia licensed criminal defense lawyer who specializes in litigating homicide cases.

Rest assured the State of Georgia will deploy a team of the most skilled prosecutors to win a murder case against you. The other side of the legal aisle will carefully review all of the evidence provided by law enforcement agencies, as well as depose witnesses to build as strong as case as possible against you. Because of the “reasonable doubt” burden of proof in a criminal case, you have a shot of walking away a free man or woman if you hire a highly skilled criminal defense attorney.

What is Homicide in Georgia?

Many defendants facing murder charges refer to the images of a murder trial as portrayed in television drama shows such as Law and Order. Televisions shows do not accurately define what murder is in general, and the shows certainly do not reflect the ramifications of a murder charge in Georgia. In addition to Hollywood’s take on homicide, reporters, news anchors, and a few legal analysts misrepresent the definition of murder, as well as the long-lasting implications of a homicide conviction.

Georgia law defines what constitutes murder in the state:

“A person commits the offense of murder when he unlawfully and with malice aforethought, express or implied, causes the death of another human being.” O.C.G.A. §16-5-1(a).

The keyword here is malice, which is another way of saying someone charged with murder committed the crime with an intention of harming another person. This is also referred to as premeditated murder.

Felony homicide in Georgia is quite another thing:

“A person commits the offense of murder when, in the commission of a felony, he or she causes the death of another human being irrespective of malice.” O.C.G.A. §16-5-1(c).

The definition of felony homicide in Georgia is perhaps the most inaccurately analyzed criminal law statute.

Anyone that is involved in the commission of a felony crime meets one other following criterion:

  • Directly commits a felony crime

  • Assists in the committing of a felony crime

  • Advises and/or encourages another person to commit a felony crime

  • Motivates another person who is legally incapacitated to commit a felony crime.


It is the prosecution’s duty to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that one criterion is met to convict a defendant of a felony homicide charge.

One of the biggest gray areas on homicide laws in Georgia is defining what constitutes murder and what constitutes manslaughter. An experienced Georgia criminal defense attorney will try to at least plead down a homicide charge to a manslaughter offense.

How Georgia Defines Manslaughter

Georgia criminal law separates manslaughter into two categories: voluntary and involuntary. The state defines voluntary manslaughter by the following statute:

“A person commits the offense of voluntary manslaughter when he or she causes the death of another human being under circumstances which would otherwise be murder and if he acts solely as a result of a sudden, violent, and irresistible passion resulting from serious provocation sufficient to excite such passion in a reasonable person; however, if there should have been an interval between the provocation and the killing sufficient for the voice of reason and humanity to be heard, of which the jury in all cases shall be the judge, the killing shall be attributed to deliberate revenge and be punished as murder. O.C.G.A. §16-5-2.”


Georgia criminal law defines involuntary manslaughter by the following statute:

“By the commission of an unlawful act other than a felony or by the commission of a lawful act in an unlawful manner likely to cause death or great bodily harm.”  O.C.G.A. §16-5-3.

Strategies Used to Defend Felony Murder Charges in Georgia

The accomplished criminal defense attorneys at Garland Law Group thoroughly review a homicide case, before implementing an effective legal strategy that either reduces the charges or exonerates our clients.

Let’s look at a few common defense strategies used in murder trials

Not a Felony

Sometimes, a law enforcement agency mischaracterizes a felony homicide case. We quickly take steps to remove the felony label


Lack of Evidence

As one of the most common defenses, proving lack of evidence is a highly successful strategy that plants enough doubt into juries for then to issue not guilty verdicts.

Homicide not Related to the Felony

This defense means if a murder happened before or after the committing of a felony, then the murder charge should not be called a felony.


This strategy is becoming a difficult one to use because of constant changes in Georgia criminal statutes. An experienced criminal defense lawyer who primarily handles homicide cases will able to determine if self-defense was the reasonable cause of a homicide.

Credible Witness Testimony

Eyewitness accounts that back up the claims made by defendants in a murder case goes a long way towards planting the all-important seed of doubt into the minds of jury members.

Consult with One of Our Criminal Defense Lawyers

Facing a homicide charge is not something for an inexperienced criminal defense attorney to handle. At Garland Law Group, our team of highly rated attorneys do everything possible to lift the homicide charges made against our clients.

Speak with one of our criminal defense lawyers today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your homicide case. We also offer a convenient online form that we respond to in a timely manner.

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