by Vernon H. Smith on January 20, 2016

So, you have been arrested. Whether you did what they are accusing you of, didn’t do what they are accusing you of, or fall somewhere in-between, you must follow these very important steps to make sure an arrest does not equal a conviction.

ONE – Keep Calm

You have only been arrested not convicted. An arrest simply means that the police have enough evidence to charge you. This is a very low standard of proof. Proof beyond a reasonable doubt, the standard they have to meet at trial, is a lot more difficult to prove. Many times, you will be given a reasonable bond, and can get out of jail quickly. If not, then rest assured that an attorney can set up a bond hearing for a judge to decide if you should have a bond while waiting on a trial.

TWO – Be Quiet

This cannot be stressed enough. Do not talk about your case. If you are in jail, do not talk about your case. If you are out of jail do not talk about your case. Nothing good can come from discussing your case with anyone other than your attorney. Why? Well, for starters, if you are in jail there are others in jail looking for anything they can to help their cases, including lying and telling prosecutors that someone in jail with them just confessed to a crime. If they know details about your case it makes their story sound legitimate. If, on the other hand, they cannot provide the prosecutor with details about what happened they are less likely to be believed.

If you are out of jail, you are just one angry confrontation away from your supposed friend or significant other calling the police to talk about what you told them. Again, if they cannot provide details, it is less likely they will be believed.

THREE – Look at social media

Even though you are well informed and are being quiet about your case, that does not mean others are. Often people take to social media such as Facebook to discuss details about what may have happened. These statements can be extremely useful, especially if the stories contradict the facts of what actually happened.

FOUR- Make a List of Potential Witnesses

These include people working in stores around where the event happened, people you may have spoken with around that time, or anyone else you can think of who may know something about what happened. Time moves fast and people forget details. It is important to get all the information and witnesses you can as soon as you can.

FIVE- Hire an Attorney

Seriously, a hiring a good criminal defense attorney at the beginning of your case can pay big dividends later. Your attorney can help you to prepare your case and defend yourself. The prosecution has an army of investigators police and attorneys working to put you away. You simply have to get someone who knows the system and more importantly, how to fight back against the system.

Good people are arrested every day.  Many through no fault of their own.  If you have been recently arrested, follow the five steps above to start your journey toward clearing your name and record.


New Gun Laws In Georgia and Their Effects

by Vernon H. Smith on November 5, 2014

Georgia’s Safe Carry Protections Act went into effect on Tuesday, July 1, creating a variety of mixed reactions from around the country. The bill, which passed both houses overwhelmingly and was signed into law by Governor Nathan Deal, expands the places where gun owners with licenses to carry may exercise their Second Amendment rights, including churches, schools, bars, and even some governmental buildings, including airports.

criminal defense attorny weapon at airport

It also expands the state’s “stand your ground” law so that it applies to those who have been previously convicted of felonies. In addition, the new law prevents a police officer from demanding without cause a person with a gun to produce his or her license to carry it.

This Bill may well be good news for those unfortunate enough to accidentally leave a pistol in their luggage while attempting to board a plane. In the past, this would trigger state criminal charges at Atlanta’s Hartsfield Jackson Airport, often resulting in arrest, incarceration, heavy fines, and a forfeiture of the weapon seized. The new law likely changes this policy. Now, in theory, the policy will be changed if you possess a valid gun permit. Now, while you may be forced to remove your weapon from the airport, you would not be subject to arrest under state law.

Deal exulted, calling it “a great day to reaffirm our liberties,” adding, “The Second Amendment should never be an afterthought. It should be at the front of our minds.”

Bear in mind, that many national chains were swift to react to the bill, including Target, Starbucks, and Chipotle. Each has requested gun owners to leave their firearms outside before coming in to shop, drink coffee, or eat dinner. On Wednesday, Target’s interim CEO John Mulligan wrote to his team members on the Company’s blog:

The leadership team has been weighing a complex issue, and I want to be sure everyone understands our thoughts and ultimate decision.

As you’ve likely seen in the media, there has been a debate about whether guests in communities that permit “open carry” should be allowed to bring firearms into Target stores. Our approach has always been to follow local laws, and of course, we will continue to do so.

But starting today we will also respectfully request that guests not bring firearms to Target — even in communities where it is permitted by law.

It is important to note that, at least in Target’s case, this is nothing more than a request. There were no directives issued for those that choose to not respect the wishes of the national chain.