Drug charges are serious in Georgia. You could be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony drug offense, and even though Georgia law is slowly evolving with regards to punishment, you can still face serious jail time. You should talk to us about any possible defenses you might have.
Possession of less than an ounce of marijuana (O.C.G.A. § 16-13-2(b)) is a misdemeanor. Possession of more than an ounce is a felony.
Possession of marijuana with intent to sell or distribute (O.C.G.A. § 16-13-30(j)) is a felony. You will be charged with this if the police find any evidence to suggest this intent: scales, money, or maybe the quantity of marijuana is less than one ounce but it is found in separate baggies, etc.
Trafficking marijuana is a felony. You will be charged with this if you possess more than 10 pounds of marijuana, or knowingly sell, manufacture, grow, deliver, or bring it into Georgia from another state.
Drugs and narcotics that are illegal or only legal to possess with a lawful perscription are controlled substances. Georgia law classifies them into 5 schedules. Schedule I drugs (heroin, LSD, mushrooms, ecstasy, etc.) are those that are condidered to be the most dangerous and having no medicinal value. Schedule II drugs (cocaine, Hydrocodone, opium, and Codeine, etc.) are those that are restricted to medical purposes and require a perscription. Schedule III (steroids), Schedule IV (Xanax and Valium), and Schedule V drugs are those that must be lawfully perscribed and have varying potential for abuse.
What Can Happen?
Jail time is always possible with drug charges. Probation with conditions is generally more typical in marijuana cases. Trafficking marijuana is the only marijuana offense with a mandatory sentence. Possession of controlled substances have the most potential for very sever sentences. Georgia law is evolving, however, with regard to non-violent drug offenses.
If you qualify as a first offender you may be able to resolve your case under Georgia’s drug first offender law, O.C.G.A. § 16-13-2.
Many jurisdictions also have pre-trial intervention or pre-trial diversion programs for first time drug offenders, even for felony charges. These programs are designed to be an alternative to prosecution and a way to keep your criminal record clean. You should talk to us to determine if you qualify for one of these programs.
Many jurisdictions have drug court programs. These are rehabilitative and treatment based alternative sentencing programs. Georgia law is evolving to expand the use of these programs. You might qualify if you are non-violent and have a problem with addiction to drugs. These programs are overseen by a judge and can last for more than a year. They require you to follow very specific rules, avoid drugs and alcohol and submit to random screens, be employed or in school, and pay enrollment fees.
IF YOU OR YOUR CHILD IS ARRESTED for a drug offense and now trying to find your way through the criminal process, fill out the form or call Cohen and Hirsch Criminal Defense now at (678) 561-0411 for a free consultation.