Being caught in possession of a controlled substance does not make you an addict. But it can feel like that is what you are accused of, after you’ve been arrested for drug possession and people find out what happened. The stigma attached to a drug possession charge is often the most stressful thing about such a life event. Unfortunately, the stigma is now the least of your worries. You’ve got a serious legal problem to deal with.
Drug possession charges can result in years behind bars and potentially a lifetime of carrying the “convicted felon” label. This means it can affect your job, your education, your housing, your personal relationships, and even your marriage. Though such charges are often taken lightly, they are quite serious and should be treated accordingly.
In Georgia the courts take drug offenders very seriously. What you considered to be a small amount of drugs could result in a seriously severe sentence if the judge is inclined to believe that you need it.
Georgia Drug Possession Laws
Georgia law classifies drug possession penalties by the type of drug you are found in possession of. These drugs are categorized by “schedules” as listed below:
These drugs are considered the most highly addictive with no legitimate medical use. They include heroin, LSD, ecstasy, and GHB.
Also highly addictive, Schedule II drugs include methamphetamine, cocaine, crack cocaine, morphine, opium, and methadone.
Drugs in this category include steroids like testosterone and ketamine.
Schedule IV, V, and VI
These are substances that are sometimes prescribed by physicians for a variety of issues. When taken outside of the orders of a doctor, they are considered illegal.
Georgia Drug Possession Penalties
Penalties for Georgia drug possession are classified as listed below depending on the substance and your criminal history:
|Type of Drug||Offense||Penalty|
|Marijuana, <1 oz.||Misdemeanor||Up to $1,000 and 1 year in jail|
|Marijuana , >1oz.||Felony||1-10 years in prison and fines|
|Schedules I & II, first offense||Felony||2-15 years in prison and fines|
|Schedules I & II, second + offense||Felony||5-30 years in prison and fines|
|Schedules 3, 4, & 5, first offense||Felony||1-5 years in prison and fines|
|Schedules 3, 4, & 5, second + offense||Felony||1-10 years in prison and fines|
Legal Defense Options and Issues
If this is your first drug offense and it is a relatively minor case, the judge may agree to a conditional discharge. This is the term used to describe a program where you abide by certain terms and conditions (like probation). Once you have satisfied these conditions, the charges against you are dropped.
Suspension of Driving Privileges
All drug possession charges also result in the mandatory suspension of your driver’s license. If this is your first offense, the license will be suspended for a minimum of 6 months. A second offense results in a 1 year suspension, and a third or subsequent offense results in a minimum 2 year suspension.
How an Attorney Can Help
A criminal defense lawyer’s primary job is to ensure your constitutional rights are protected throughout the criminal justice process and to work towards the most positive results possible in your case. From questioning how the evidence was obtained in a police search to invalidating witness testimony, your defense lawyer is your advocate in the court system.
All available options to fight the case and avoid a criminal conviction, and the driver’s license loss should be evaluated by an experienced defense attorney. You only have one chance to challenge the states evidence against you. If you plead guilty, it’s over.
While working out a plea deal often makes sense, it should be done with the knowledge that all legal defense alternatives have been evaluated and explored.
Contact us for a free legal case evaluation with a defense attorney in Georgia.