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Joseph L. Phelps, III
Personal Injury and Wrongful Death
Mr. Phelps has litigated numerous personal injury claims on behalf of injured
victims. These cases include automobile collisions, premises liability and other similar
cases where individual or corporate negligence results in serious injury or death. Joe
focuses on preparing each case with the expectation of presenting that case to a jury.
Whether it be promptly returning telephone calls or meeting with you in your own home
for your convenience, Mr. Phelps strongly believes in providing personalized service to
each of his clients.
Mr. Phelps represents victims who have been injured or killed in accidents caused
by the negligent operation of large trucks. Negligence committed by drivers for large
trucking companies, such as unsafe driving or the carrying of oversized loads, results in
thousands of deaths and severe injuries each year. Joe's litigation expertise and tenacious
advocacy allows him to maximize the compensation his clients receive for the negligence
of these trucking companies and their drivers.
Commercial Litigation and Business Disputes
Mr. Phelps handles cases involving complex issues of contractual liability, breach
of fiduciary duty, business torts and other similar disputes arising out of business
operations and transactions. Cases are approached and litigated with the objective of
obtaining favorable results in an efficient manner, with an emphasis on maximizing value
for the client while protecting the client's trade secrets and proprietary business interests.
Business Transactional and Advisory Services
Mr. Phelps handles numerous issues that arise with respect to the formation,
operation, sale/purchase and dissolution of business entities. Joe's practice includes
drafting documents and contracts required by incorporations and formation of
partnerships and limited liability companies. Mr. Phelps prepares partnership and
shareholder agreements and other similar contracts required to protect the interests of
partners and shareholders. Joe also advises businesses and business owners regarding
disputes that often arise in the context of running a business.
Mr. Phelps handles appeals of civil and criminal cases to the Court of Appeals of Georgia and the Supreme Court of Georgia. Joe is experienced in preparing written briefs and presenting oral arguments to higher tribunals regarding errors of law and erroneous findings at the trial court level. Each case Mr. Phelps tries is approached with an eye towards preserving all legal errors for ultimate review by a higher court, if necessary.
Domestic Relations/Family Law
Mr. Phelps assists clients with domestic disputes involving divorce, complex asset
division, child support, prenuptial agreements, legitimation, paternity, child custody, and
the modification of prior awards and court orders. Joe has handled hundreds of cases in
this area and is committed to helping clients through this difficult and often emotional
Real Estate Litigation
Mr. Phelps has significant experience in real estate-related litigation, including
matters involving commercial and residential leases; the resolution of nuisance and
trespass claims; real estate sales contract claims; and the filing or dismissals of lis
pendens, tax liens, materialmen's liens and other encumbrances upon real property.
Estate Planning & Administration
Mr. Phelps provides clients with the following estate services:
Basic Estate Planning: Drafting wills, trusts and durable and healthcare powers
- Estate Administration: Advising personal representatives on all aspects of
probate procedures and administration of decedent estates.
Mr. Phelps is among the most accomplished, experienced criminal defense
attorneys in Southeast Georgia. In 2009, Joe defended a man accused of Murder and
Conspiracy to Commit Murder in Wayne County Superior Court. After an 8 day trial, the
jury acquitted the man of both charges. Mr. Phelps has also defended several other clients
charged with drug crimes and Burglary and obtained not guilty verdicts and mistrials for
his clients. Joe has displayed a commitment to vigorously defending all accused of serious
Mr. Phelps' criminal practice includes the following areas:
- Federal: Joe has significant experience and education related to the defense of
Federal Drug and Firearms Offenses. In 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court, in the case of
United States v. Booker, held that the Federal Sentencing Guidelines are advisory only,
not mandatory. Since that time, Mr. Phelps has followed the decisions of the Federal
Courts in which the Courts grant a downward departure from the Guidelines. In 2009, Joe
defended a man accused of Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute
Methamphetamine. At sentencing, the Government asked the Court to sentence the man
to 46 months in prison, based on the Guidelines. Mr. Phelps presented evidence of
numerous mitigating factors that justified the Court to depart from the guidelines and
obtained a prison sentence of only 26 months for his client.
- Violent Crime: Murder, Manslaughter, Armed Robbery, Aggravated Assault,
Aggravated Battery, etc.
- Drug Offenses
- Fraud, Theft or Property Offenses
- Sex Offenses
- DUI and other Traffic Offenses: From his experience as a defense attorney and
as a Municipal Court Judge, Mr. Phelps knows all the "ins and outs" of DUI and traffic