Much like its neighbor Florida, the state of Georgia has little tolerance for drug possession. In a state with overcrowded prisons and a significant problem with drug crime, a good attorney may be able to help offer you a solid and effective defense if you have been arrested for drug possession.
If you are presently being charged for possession, your penalties depend on a number of factors including the type of drug, the amount and what you intended to do with it; for example, if you were caught with less than an ounce of marijuana on your person and intended to smoke it yourself, the penalties would be much lighter than if you were caught with heroin or cocaine.
In the United States, drugs are categorized into schedules with Schedule I substances being the most serious. Schedule I substances would include: heroin, peyote, LSD, GHB, ecstasy and hallucinogenic mushrooms. Whereas Schedule II substances would include: cocaine, crack-cocaine, opium, methadone, oxycodone and methamphetamines. These lists are not exhaustive and even many prescription drugs are considered controlled substances. Even possessing someone else’s prescription or selling your own prescription medication is in violation of Georgia law and is a criminal offense.
In Georgia, you don’t have to have the drugs in your pocket or in your hand to be found guilty. The state of Georgia defines possession as either “actual" or “possessive," meaning you could be charged with possession if they are in your home or in your vehicle, as long as it can be proved that they were in your control.
Where other states have practically decriminalized marijuana possession, in Georgia, possession of more than one ounce of marijuana is a felony offense and can land you in prison for anywhere ranging from 1 to 10 years. Possession of less than an ounce of marijuana is a misdemeanor with potential penalties involving up to $1,000 in fines and one year in prison. Being in possession of a Schedule 1 or 2 drugs is a felony offense and sentencing can range from 2 to 15 years on a first offense, longer for second or subsequent offenses.
What’s more, if you are convicted of possession in Georgia, your driver’s license will be suspended for a mandatory six months on your first offense. On a second offense, you will lose your driving privileges for one full year and longer for third or more offenses.
Regardless if this is your first offense, or your third, an Lawrenceville criminal defense attorney will give you the greatest opportunity for beating your charges. If this is your first offense, you may be eligible for a conditional discharge, which allows you to admit to possession without a conviction or guilty plea going on your record. You would then be placed on probation and as long as you follow the terms of your probation, your original charges could be dropped.