Of all the drug offenses, felony drug possession charges are the most common. Georgia’s drug laws, even as to possession, are complex. We will try to give you examples here on our page, but nothing can substitute for talking with us about your specific situation. Basically, Georgia determines the punishment for possession on two factors: “scheduling”, which means what type of drugs, and amounts of those drugs.
Currently, Georgia has 5 basic schedules. The very basic types of drugs in these schedules are set out below.
Schedule 1: These drugs are considered the most highly addictive with no legitimate medical use. They include heroin, LSD, ecstasy, and GHB (commonly known at the “Date Rape Drug”).
Schedule 2: Also highly addictive, Schedule II drugs include methamphetamine, cocaine, crack cocaine, morphine, opiates, and methadone.
Schedule 3: Drugs in this category include steroids like testosterone and ketamine (and more performance enhancing drugs).
Schedules 4-5: Are typically real medications you could get from a doctor. These typically encompass prescription type drugs.
To determine what potential punishment you COULD receive, here is a breakdown:
First, unless otherwise indicated, a fine of up to $100,000 can be imposed and you will lose your driver’s license (6 months on a first offense 1 year on a second or subsequent offense).
For possession of schedule 1 or 2 narcotics and schedule 2 non-narcotic: less than a gram carries a penalty of 1-3 years, for 1-4 grams 1-8 years and for 4-28 grams 1-15 years (although you could be charged with possession with intent to distribute for these too. Also this does not include morphine, heroin or opium).
For possession of schedule 3, 4 and 5 drugs, the penalty is 1-3 years for the first and second offenses and 1-5 years for the 3rd or subsequent offense.
For more than 1 ounce of Marijuana the sentence is 1-10 years.
For a “counterfeit drug” Synthetic Marijuana for example, 1-2 years (even though the same amount of real marijuana would be a misdemeanor)
Just because you have felony drug possession charges doesn’t mean you’re automatically convicted, and there are ways to defend you that an experienced lawyer will always look at the complex world of how you are charged and what is available to attack the State’s case.
First, the drugs found weren’t mine! This is the most common problem. Unfortunately it is SHOCKINGLY easy in Georgia to convict you of a drug crime. If the drugs are found in a place where more than one person has access, you can be charged with “constructive possession”. If no one “takes credit” for the drugs, the police won’t do any investigation, they will just arrest everyone and let the courts sort it out. This is where we can help. There are ways to defeat this charge even if the true owner of the drugs refuses to take ownership of them at trial.
Second, me or my vehicle or home was illegally searched. This is also common. You have rights under the Georgia and Federal Constitutions. We will investigate both the facts and the law and make the police show that they followed the rules. As we know most of the Drug task forces in the areas in which we practice, we are very familiar on tactics they use to secure convictions.
I had a prescription but the drugs were loose. Obviously the police could care less about this defense. If this is so, or the drugs you were found with weren’t illegal at all, this will be a defense we can exploit.
All is not lost. There are numerous programs available to people convicted of drug offenses. Not everyone who uses drugs is addicted to them, but for those who are, the Drug Court program can help not only free you from addiction but can reduce the penalty of incarceration. The program is long and difficult but has a great success rate.
If you’re not an addict or eligible for drug court you may have a specialized first offender program called conditional discharge. Under this program (which is SOLELY at the judge’s discretion) you WON’T be a convicted felon and you won’t lose your license.
This type of crime is very complex. If you have a drug possession crime in Cobb County or anywhere in Northern Georgia, call us, we can help, call us at 678-331-3131 and let’s talk.