Georgia Drug Laws


Georgia’s drug laws are notoriously tough, carrying harsh penalties for drug offenders. Penalties may include jail time, fines, community service, forfeiture of property, probation and suspended driver’s license. The severity of the punishment for drug offenders varies depending on criminal history, the schedule classification of the drug in question, and the quantity of drugs involved. Even the possession of drug paraphernalia can mean penalties of up to a year in prison. If you may be facing drug-related charges in Georgia, do not hesitate to seek legal counsel from an experienced drug lawyer. Without an expert attorney, you will be facing very harsh consequences.


It is a common misconception that the drug needs to be physically on your person in order for you to be charged with possession. In reality, drugs that are found in your home, car, or other property you are the registered owner of, you can still be charged with possession. This also applies to drug paraphernalia, recognized by Georgia law as anything used to make, conceal, or use drugs. If you are charged with drug possession, your drug defense attorney in Cumming may be able to argue in favor of drug rehabilitation instead of prison time.


Intent to distribute is a charge often based on the amount of drugs found in your possession. If it is determined that the quantity exceeds what would be a reasonable amount for personal consumption, law enforcement may believe that you intend to sell and distribute drugs. In addition to quantity, items related to the distribution of drugs like scales and plastic bags may also contribute toward the higher charge. Intent to distribute is a felony offense that carries serious penalties and can cause a number of personal difficulties moving forward.


Drug trafficking is an offense taken very seriously by the federal government; no court in the United States can hand down penalties less severe than the mandatory minimums set by the federal government. An individual suspected of participating in the production, transportation, distribution, or sale of illegal narcotics faces hefty fines and lengthy prison or probation sentences. The harshness of the sentence may increase if the defendant is arrested near a playground or school or if they are suspected of transporting drugs across state lines. The classification of the drugs involved can also impact how severe the penalties are.


A drug manufacturing charge can refer to the production of any kind of drugs, both those produced synthetically and those that can be naturally cultivated by an individual. For example, cocaine and heroin are both derived from plants (coca and poppy, respectively), but require additional processing by humans to be viable as narcotics, while methamphetamine is fully manufactured. Growing marijuana can also lead to a manufacturing charge. Drug manufacturing carries a minimum prison sentence of one year, as well as fines, probation, and community service. There is not a distinction made in a manufacturing charge whether the drug was manufactured for person use or for distribution.


Distribution is another charge subject to mandatory minimums set by the federal government. If you have transported or engaged in the sale of illegal substances, you will face a minimum of one year in jail time, plus fines, community service, and probation. The severity of the penalties can vary depending on the type of drug distributed and any prior criminal history.


In accordance with federal guidelines, the state of Georgia classifies drugs and narcotics in five categories. These categories are based on the medical merits of the drug as well as its addictive qualities. Schedule I substances (such as heroin) are highly addictive without medical merit and are considered “illegal and dangerous.” Meanwhile, Schedule II and III substances are considered “prescribable and dangerous” and include substances prescribed for pain management like morphine or codeine. Schedule IV and V are “prescribable and low danger” substances that are often used for medical purposes and carry a low risk of addiction. Most prescription drugs are classified under one of the schedules in order to prevent misuse; law enforcement will want to confirm that any prescription drugs in your possession were, in fact, prescribed to you. Possession of a controlled substance may lead to charges for drug possession, intent to distribute, or prescription fraud.

Punishment for drug-related offenses can be as severe as life imprisonment. In addition to the fines, probation, and jail time associated with drug offenses, the majority of these offenses are felonies that will have a permanent impact on your life. As a felon, you can lose voting and firearm privileges, be barred from certain types of employment, and more. If you are facing drug-related charges in Georgia, seek the legal counsel of an experienced attorney immediately.