Georgia Drug Crimes
Georgia has some of the strictest drug laws in the country. In many states where marijuana possession has been decriminalised, legalized for medical use, or even legalized for recreational use, Georgia still treats marijuana possession as a misdemeanor. A criminal drug possession conviction may land you in jail. The conviction will stay on your criminal record, and may even affect future job opportunities. You should contact an experienced Georgia drug crimes lawyer if you want to keep your record clean, and keep your freedom.
Different Types of Drugs
Criminal charges and penalties will depend on the type of drug inovlved. All drugs are not treated equally. The United States, through the Controlled Substances Act, and the state of Georgia have separated different substances into different schedules and classifications, and marijuana is included.
Schedule I drugs are considered to have a high potential for abuse, currently has no acepted medical use in treatemnt, and there is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug even under medical supervision. This includes opiates such as heroin, LSD, ecstasy, GHB or peyote.
Schedule II drugs have a high potential for abuse, but have a currently accepted medical use in treatment. This includes cocaine, morphine, OxyContin, Percocet, Vicodin, Adderall, Demerol, Fentanyl, and codeine.
Schedule III and IV drugs have a potential for abuse, but lower than that for Schedule I and II substances, and have a current medical use. These include Valium, Xanax, Ativan, barbiturates, and sleep medications like Ambien or Lunesta. However, Rohypnol, which is a Schedule IV drug, is treated differently, with harsher penalties than other Schedule IV drugs.
Schedule V drugs have an accepted medical use, and a low potential for abuse, but are still considered controlled substances.
Marijuana is treated differently, but possession of even small amounts is still considered a misdemeanor. The penalties depend not only on the amount, but where the individual was found with pot. Less than an ounce is a misdemeanor, but more than an ounce can be treated as a felony. However, any amount of hash is treated as a felony. Possession of more than 10 pounds is a felony possession with intent to distribute charge. Marijuana sale, delivery or cultivation are also separate offenses.
Possession of controlled dangerous substances is a felony crime. You can be charged with possession even if drugs are not found on your body, if they are deemed to be in an area of your control. For example, a driver with drugs in the glove compartment can be considered in possession of the drugs. Penalties will depend on the type of drug involved, and what schedule it falls under. However, possession of even a small amount of a Schedule I or II drugs can result in up to 15 years in prison.
Even if someone is found with no drugs on them, but is in possesson of drug paraphenalia, they can be charged with a crime. This includes materials used to inhale or inject dugs, like a pipe or syringe. It could also include material to grow marijuana, cultivate drugs, or material for packaging drugs.
Drug Trafficking/ Possession With the Intent to Distribute
Depending on the amount of drugs involved, a person may be charged with possession with the intent to distribute. This usually involves an amount greater than what the police would consider to be for the person's personal use, or if the drugs are divided up and packaged in smaller amounts as if for sale. Posession with the intent to distribute is a more serious offense, and penalties increase based on the greater quantity of drugs found.
Trafficking involves knowingly selling, manufacturing, delivery or bringing into the state an amount of 28 grams or more of cocaine; 4 grams or more of opiate drugs; 10 pounds or more of marijuana; 200 grams or more of methaqualone; 28 grams of amphetamine or methamphetamine; or amphetamine manufacutre. Penalties for trafficking include a minimum of 5 years imprisonment, and up to $1 million in fines.
If caught while driving under the influence of drugs, the driver may not only face possession charges, but may be charged with a drug DUI. Alcohol DUIs are per se in violation if the driver has a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher, but with drug DUIs, the police may arrest the driver and test for drugs through blood or urine tests. It is against the law to be under the influence of any drug if it makes it less safe fore the driver.
Prescription Drug Fraud
Prescription drug fraud is a growing problem in this country, and Georgia is no different. Powerful pain drugs can quickly become addicting, and patients may run out of legal access to the medications. Prescription drug fraud can involve someone forging prescription, altering their or another's valid prescription to get a higher quantity, or more refills, go doctor shopping to get more drugs, or additional prescriptions,
Drug Crime Defense
There are many valid defenses to drug crime charges. The defenses available will depend on the individual case, but may include problems with how the police handled the search and seizure of drugs, how the drugs were tested and handled afterwards, problems with showing the defendant was in possession or control of the drugs.
An experienced Georgia drug crime lawyer will investigate their client's individual case, analyze possible defenses, review all the available records, and develop a defense strategy to have the charges reduced or dismissed.
Treatment, Conditional Discharge, and Diversion Programs
For some people charged with a drug crime, they may be eligible for programs that result in their charges getting dismissed, after successful completion of a court approved program. This could be a diversion program for young offenders, first-time offenders, or someone who goes through a drug treatment program. If eligible, and the defendant abides by the rules of their probation, the charges may be dropped. A drug crimes defense lawyer can advocate for their client to be granted eligibility to these programs.
Your Georgia Drug Crime Lawyers
At Kuttner & Associates, our highest priority is to get your case dismissed before the prosecutor has even drawn up the indictment. By resolving the matter early and in your favor, we can eliminate the pain and stress of a criminal indictment in court. We are former drug crime prosecutors and know the right approach to winning every individual case, all the way through trial. Don't risk your freedom. Call Kuttner & Associates today for a free consultation, at 404-333-5009.