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Drug-related offenses are taken very seriously in the State of Georgia. Drug possession laws can cover both the controlled substances themselves and drug-related paraphernalia. Because of the seriousness of these crimes, offenses can often result in jail time. Do not face drug charges in Georgia without the representation of an experienced Cumming drug crimes attorney. You will need a skilled lawyer well-versed in Georgia’s drug possession laws in order to achieve the results you are looking for.
What Is Drug Possession In Georgia?
You do not have to be currently in physical possession of drugs in order to be guilty of drug possession in Georgia. Possession can be “active” or “constructive.” In legal terms, constructive means that you have control of something, even if it isn’t on your person at the time. If drugs are found in your glove compartment, for example, it is the same in the eyes of the law as if they were found in your pocket.
The penalties for drug possession are often based on the “seriousness” (in the eyes of the law) of the substance in question. In Georgia, drugs are classified into schedules in accordance with federal classifications. Schedule I drugs include heroin, peyote, GHB, ecstasy (MDMA), LSD and hallucinogenic mushrooms. Schedule II includes cocaine, methadone, morphine, methamphetamines and oxycodone. Drugs classified under Schedule III include steroids such as testosterone and ketamine. Schedule IV includes drugs like Phenobarbital, clonazepam, and diazepam, while Schedule V covers drugs with low levels of codeine, ethylmorphine and opium. Most prescription drugs are included under these laws in order to help control illegal use and overuse. Some drugs may be classified under different schedules depending on the chemical composition. Flunitrazepan, more commonly known as rohypnol or “the date rape drug,” is officially a Schedule IV substance, but due to the likelihood of its use in sexual assault or a more serious crime, offenders convicted of flunitrazepan possession are more likely to receive sentences in line with Schedule I or II drugs.
Penalties of Drug Possession
In the state of Georgia, drug possession is a felony with the exception of possession of less than one ounce of marijuana. Though this is considered a misdemeanor under Georgia law, it can still come with penalties of up to $1,000 in fines and one year in jail. More than one ounce of marijuana causes the penalty to rise to 1-10 years in prison. A first offense charge for Schedule I or II drugs carries a potential sentence of 2-15 years in prison, while second and subsequent offenses could be 5-30 years. Possession of Schedule III, IV or V drugs could result in 1-5 years for a first offense or 1-10 years for subsequent offenses. All possession sentences may also include fines.
In addition to fines and jail time, the state of Georgia will also suspend your driver’s license if you are convicted of drug possession. There is a mandatory 6-month suspension for a first offense that then increases to one year for a second offense and at least two years for subsequent offenses. If this is your first drug-related charge, you may be offered a “conditional discharge” by the judge. A conditional discharge allows you to admit to possession without a conviction or guilty plea going on your criminal record. Instead, you will have the opportunity to complete a probationary term. If you complete it successfully, the original charges will be dropped. Violating the terms of your probation during the conditional discharge means you can be brought back to trial on the original charge.
Possession of Drug Paraphernalia Charges
As mentioned above, you can also be charged for possession of drug-related objects. The state of Georgia has a broad definition of drug paraphernalia; anything that can be used to make, conceal, or use drugs can result in charges from law enforcement. This includes obvious objects like a bong or a pipe with marijuana residue as well as everyday objects that have been used to handle or use drugs, such as a postage scale used to weigh drugs or a soda can converted into a pipe. Possession of drug paraphernalia is considered a misdemeanor, but it almost always goes hand in hand with drug possession. The paraphernalia is generally discovered in the course of law enforcement’s search for illegal substances. Still, possession of drug paraphernalia carries its own punishment of up to $1,000 in fines and up to 1 year in prison.
Drug-related offenses in Cumming, Georgia can result in hefty fines, community service, and up to 30 years in prison, plus a felony charge on your permanent criminal record. These are serious offenses, and you need a drug crimes attorney in Cumming with extensive experience in order to face them.
Reach out to a member of our team today at (678) 257-4507. We offer free consultations and can help you to understand the charges against you and what you can do about them.
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