Understanding High and Aggravated Misdemeanor in Gwinnett County

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Dealing with a case of high and aggravated misdemeanor in Gwinnett County? Philip Kim Law, P.C., has the knowledge to advocate for your interests. Reach out today!


Author: Philip Kim, Founder, Philip Kim Law, P.C.

Defense lawyer Philip Kim has committed his career to standing up for the accused, and protecting the rights and reputations of his valued clients. If you face criminal charges in Georgia, we can provide you with the skilled, effective defense representation you need.

Published on November 28, 2023.


High and Aggravated Misdemeanor

Have you or a loved one been charged with high and aggravated misdemeanor offenses in Gwinnett County, Georgia?

A misdemeanor can be upgraded to a high and aggravated misdemeanor under some circumstances, for instance, in cases where a person is convicted of the same offense multiple times within a certain period. An example is a third driving under the influence (DUI) offense in Georgia. Though a first and a second DUI offense are misdemeanors, you will be charged with a high and aggravated misdemeanor if you commit a third DUI offense.

It is worth noting that being charged with a high and aggravated misdemeanor does not automatically guarantee conviction of a misdemeanor. Some defenses may be available to you. Nonetheless, it may be a good idea to understand the penalties if convicted for such offenses.

Consider hiring an experienced criminal defense lawyer if you have been charged with a high and aggravated misdemeanor. At Philip Kim Law, P.C., our experienced attorneys can help you navigate the Georgia criminal justice system to defend your rights in a criminal case.

Types of Offenses in Gwinnett County, Georgia

Generally, criminal offenses are classified into two types in Georgia- misdemeanor and felony.


Such crimes are considered more severe than a misdemeanor. In Georgia, felonies are crimes punishable by hefty fines, death, imprisonment for life, or more than 12 months imprisonment. Some examples of felonies are murder, felony DUI, rape, aggravated assault, and aggravated stalking in Georgia.


Misdemeanors generally refer to crimes that are not felonies. O.C.G.A. §17-10-3 lays down the punishment for misdemeanors. If convicted of a misdemeanor, you may be punished by up to a 12-month jail term in the county or other jail or correctional institution or by a maximum fine of $1,000 or both.

Examples of misdemeanor offenses include public intoxication, DUI, shoplifting, theft of property worth less than $500, and criminal trespass.

The judge has the discretion to also order ancillary penalties, including:

  • Educational classes

  • Substance abuse counseling

  • Suspension of your driver’s license

  • Community service

  • Restitution

Probation orders for a misdemeanor allow the offenders to serve complete or a part of their sentence in the community instead of being behind bars. In such cases, the convicted individual would be given probation terms, which may include reporting to a probation officer or the court, not violating the law, and going to school or work.

Judges can consider an accused person’s criminal history to determine their sentence. They can impose a lengthy sentence based on past criminal convictions of the accused. So, it is crucial you take any criminal charge, including misdemeanors, seriously.

Georgia Law on High and Aggravated Misdemeanors

Though misdemeanors are considered less severe crimes than a felony, Georgia law classifies some offenses as high and aggravated misdemeanors. Some of the crimes classified as misdemeanors of a high and aggravated nature include the following:

  • Eluding or fleeing from a police officer
  • Pimping
  • Battery against a pregnant woman
  • Aggressive driving

Penalties for High and Aggravated Misdemeanors in Gwinnett County

It is essential you know the penalties for a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature in Georgia. O.C.G.A. §17-10-4 enlists the punishment applicable to a conviction for high and aggravated misdemeanors.

A person convicted of such misdemeanors will receive a punishment of a fine which must not exceed $5,000. You may also be sentenced to confinement in the county correctional institution or county jail for up to 12 months. It is also possible to receive a fine and have the 12-month jail term sentence imposed simultaneously.

The sentencing court may also order probation and drug and alcohol counseling, depending on the circumstances of the case.

Dealing with a high and aggravated misdemeanor case in Gwinnett County should not be taken lightly. Experienced attorneys at Philip Kim Law, P.C. can help you. They have the knowledge to advocate for your rights.

Impact of Penalties

Penalties for misdemeanors of a high and aggravated nature can have an enormous impact on your life if convicted of the crime. Your ability to work, get future employment, or go to school may also be seriously impacted. You may also bear consequences in terms of your ability to secure government assistance, federal student loans, and other forms of financial aid.

Such impact results from the dent that a misdemeanor conviction puts on your criminal record. In Georgia, misdemeanor convictions stay on your record permanently. So, every detail of your conviction is made a matter of public record which anyone, including potential employers, can access.

Expunging a Criminal Record

You can only limit access to these records after a conviction by petitioning to restrict/expunge the records. But note that limiting access to your criminal record does not deprive law enforcement officials from accessing them.

The procedure for limiting access to your records varies based on your arrest date and the authority responsible for handling your case. If you were arrested before July 1, 2013, you should approach the arresting agency for your request. If your arrest occurred on or after July 1, 2013, reach out directly to the prosecuting attorney’s office. The prosecuting attorney can be an Attorney General, a district attorney, or a solicitor-general.

Consider hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you build a strong defense, represent you throughout the trial, and possibly prevent a conviction.

Philip Kim Law, P.C. Can Help You With Your Misdemeanor Trial

The most severe misdemeanor offenses are the ones considered to be of a high and aggravated nature. It may be a good idea to not plead guilty to a charge of high and aggravated misdemeanors. By not pleading guilty, Philip Kim Law, P.C. can present arguments in your defense to protect your rights.

If you have been charged with a high and aggravated misdemeanor such as a DUI in Georgia for the third time, consider speaking with us. We have extensive knowledge of DUI laws (and other criminal laws) to advocate for your interests. We are willing to help you in your criminal case by building robust defense strategies to secure a favorable outcome in your trial. Reach out to us and schedule a free consultation today!

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Philip Kim Law, P.C.
368 West Pike Street, Suite 203
Lawrenceville, GA 30046
(678) 203-6968
Fax: (678) 273-3501
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