The Top Criminal Defenses in Georgia

By - Isaiah
23.02.24 08:45 PM

Know Your Rights - A Quick Guide to Key Defenses 

Georgia law provides several key defenses that are commonly used in criminal cases throughout the state. Understanding these core defenses can help those facing charges to evaluate potential options to pursue. 

Self Defense

Self defense is often invoked in assault and homicide cases where the defendant claims they acted to protect themselves from harm. Georgia follows the "stand your ground" doctrine, allowing for self defense even if retreat was possible. However, the level of force used must be proportionate to the threat.


If a defendant has a solid alibi proving they could not have committed the alleged crime due to being elsewhere at the time, it provides a complete defense. Alibi evidence such as receipts, witnesses or surveillance footage can cast serious doubt on the prosecution's case. 


In rare cases, a defendant may enter a plea of insanity, arguing they did not appreciate the nature or quality of their acts due to a severe mental defect. This is a difficult defense to prove under Georgia's strict standards.


The entrapment defense argues that law enforcement induced or manipulated the defendant into committing a crime they were not already predisposed to do. Merely providing an opportunity is not entrapment, and the defense is rarely successful.

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Mistake of Fact

A mistake of fact defense argues that the defendant was mistaken about a crucial fact related to the alleged crime, and lacked the necessary intent as a result. For example, taking another's property believing it was their own. 


In limited situations, necessity can justify otherwise criminal conduct. This defense may apply if the defendant committed a minor crime like trespassing to avoid a greater harm, such as to escape serious injury. 

Lack of Mens Rea

For certain crimes, prosecutors must prove the defendant had a specific mental state or criminal intent. If the defense can cast doubt on whether this mental element was present, it provides a legal path for acquittal.

Statute of Limitations  

Georgia law sets time limits for prosecuting various crimes. The statute of limitations defense argues that too much time has passed since the alleged offense for charges to be brought in a fair or timely manner.