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In Atlanta, Georgia State Senate Minority Leader Eric Johnson is introducing a bill designating the practice of law without a license as a felony – with sentences of up to five years. The offence now is punishable by a maximum $1,000 fine and up to a year in jail. Johnson said he believes DAs would be more willing to prosecute disbarred attorneys who still practice if there were far harsher sanctions. He said he began drafting the bill at the urging of Chatham Superior Court Chief Judge Perry Brannen Jr., who criticized the lighter sentences. “What concerns me is the unauthorized practice of law is a misdemeanor and unauthorized practice of medicine is a felony,” Brannen said. ” Maybe in the past we’ve been a little soft on it by making it a misdemeanor.”

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