DRUG LAWS GEORGIA

The Definitive Guide

Drug Laws Georgia – The Definitive Guide answers all those troublesome questions about what’s legal, what’s not and the potential penalties. The drug laws in Georgia can be harsh and you don’t want to be in the dark when it comes to something that could affect your freedom for years to come.

This is a free, public resource developed by Conoscienti & Ledbetter, drug lawyers in Atlanta GA. Attorney Joseph A. Conoscienti possesses over 30 years of proven experience defending clients against drug charges in Georgia.

Drug Laws Georgia

The State of Georgia divides drug charges into five categories: purchase, possession, manufacture, distribution and sale.

  • Anyone caught with illegal substances may be charged with Drug Possession.
  • Intent to Distribute charges apply if a person possesses in excess of a certain quantity of a drug or there are other indications of distribution activities.
  • Drug Trafficking charges are based upon the sale, manufacture, delivery or possession of prohibited quantities of specified drugs.  Penalties are graduated based upon the quantity and type of drug involved.
  • The production draws a specific charge of Drug Distribution.

Controlled Substance charges focus on drugs and narcotics categorized by the government as addictive; possession of one of these substances without the proper prescription leads to the controlled substance charge. For help understanding the nuances of these charges, we recommend speaking with our law firm, for free. The law firm of Conoscienti & Ledbetter also provide detailed information on aggravated assault laws in Georgia

Georgia uses a scheduling system to identify the severity of drugs.

  • Schedule I represents drugs with no accepted medical use but a high potential for abuse.
  • Schedule II includes drugs with accepted medical uses (most often for pain management) under severe restriction which still possess a high potential for abuse and psychological or physical dependence.
  • Schedule III covers drugs with accepted medical uses with a lower chance of abuse and low to moderate potential for dependence.
  • Schedule IV marks another layer of drugs with accepted medical uses and a lower chance of abuse with limited potential for dependence.
  • Schedule V captures the rest of the drugs accepted for medical use but with the lowest potential for abuse and dependence.

For those facing drug charges, one of their first calls should include an atlanta drug attorney. Given the emphasis put on drug crimes, representation by a respected law firm can be essential to protect a charged individuals. From confirming evidence collection follows legal rules to keeping up with motions which might limit their client’s rights, the attorney’s work is best done from the earliest stages.

VIOLATION OF THE GEORGIA CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES ACT

The Georgia Controlled Substances Act (GCSA) details the specifications and penalties for drug charges in the State of Georgia. With few exceptions most controlled substance charges are classified as felonies.  Penalties for all felonies under the act start with at least a year of incarceration.

An attorney’s knowledge of the GCSA provides one benefit, but another involves their knowledge of the judges and the stance of the particular jurisdiction and the local interpretation of the GCSA. While the law sets the penalties permitted, each jurisdiction develops a track record based on the judges. The attorney’s experience with each judge allows them to craft their defense to the specific judge including coaching their clients on what should and should not be said while in court.

Defenses to VGCSA

VGCSA stands for Violation of Georgia Controlled Substances Act. The term refers to charges based on the Georgia Controlled Substances Act. While this term indicates a violation, specific charges should detail the exact nature of the controlled substance violation.

A Violation of the Georgia Controlled Substances Act can be defended in several ways. Being innocent provides an obvious option especially if a prescription can be produced, but evidence may prompt other defense tactics. Evaluation of search procedures may provide evidence of an illegal search. Sharing space with another person lends credibility to it being another person’s controlled substance.

An attorney develops the defense strategy based on the available evidence.

Joseph Conoscienti has always been a fighter. In the United States Air Force, Mr. Conoscienti achieved the rank of Sergeant. It’s with the same grit and determination that he takes into the courtroom defending clients against drug laws in Georgia.

OFFICIAL CODE OF GEORGIA 16-13-30

OCGA 16-13-30 references the section of the Georgia code of laws detailing the specifics related to marijuana. This section comes from the Georgia Controlled Substances Act. The topics covered range from possession with intent to distribute to sale and distribution to manufacturing. Under this portion of the legal code, penalties include jail time and fines and can include mandatory minimums.

Penalties under OCGA 16-13-30 depend upon the amount of marijuana possessed.

  • Misdemeanor Possession involves less than 1 oz of marijuana and carries a penalty of 1 year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
  • Felony Possession involves more than 1 oz but less than 10 lbs and carries a penalty of 1-10 years in jail.

Sale or trafficking charges begin when a person has 10 lbs or more in their possession and are all felonies.

  • Sale or trafficking of 10 to 2,000 lbs carries a penalty of 5 years in jail and a mandatory fine of $100,000.
  • Sale or trafficking 2,000 to 10,000 lbs carries penalties of 7 years in jail and a mandatory fine of $250,000.
  • Sale or trafficking of 10,000 lbs or more carries a penalty of 15 years in jail and a mandatory fine of $1,000,000.

 

Georgia Drug Penalties

Georgia penalties related to drug charges vary. Jail and prison time along with fines cover the most visible penalties. Georgia Driver’s licenses suspensions and taking the property are allowed. Additional penalties include community service and probation.

For substances listed on the drug Schedules, all charges are felonies and include minimum penalties for both initial conviction and subsequent convictions.

  • For Schedule I or narcotic Schedule II drugs, the penalty goes from 2 to 15 years in prison for a first conviction and additional convictions increase up to 30 years in prison.
  • For non-narcotic Schedule II drugs, the initial conviction penalty again goes from 2 to 15 years in prison with subsequent convictions punishable with 5 to 30 years in prison.
  • Schedule III, IV, or V drugs carry minimum prison terms of 1 to 5 years for the first conviction and 1 to 10 year for subsequent convictions.

Georgia marijuana possession carries different penalties based on quantity. For those found to have less than 1 oz of marijuana, the charge is a misdemeanor and the penalty combines 1 year in prison with a $1,000 fine. Possession of more than 1 oz but less than 10 lbs remains a possession charge but moves up to a felony punishable with a mandatory 1 year and up to 10 years in prison as well as fines up to $5,000.

We know attitudes are changing regarding marijuana in Georgia. In October, the City of Atlanta voted to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana in the city and Dekalb County commissioners announced in January that they will be doing the same thing.

Statewide, there is also momentum towards cutting back the penalties associated with marijuana possession in Georgia. State Senator Curt Thompson of Norcross has introduced a bill through the Georgia State Senate to legalize marijuana similar to what has been done in Colorado.

Joseph Conoscienti has always been a fighter. In the United States Air Force, Mr. Conoscienti achieved the rank of Sergeant. It’s with the same grit and determination that he takes into the courtroom defending clients against drug laws in Georgia.

Georgia Possession with Intent to Distribute

The Georgia legal system charges individuals with Intent to Distribute in certain circumstances. The quantity in possession alone may be sufficient for this charge, but other common factors include evidence of large amounts of cash present, scales or other measuring devices, individually bagged or separated portions of the substance, and other circumstantial evidence which indicates the drugs are not being possessed for personal use.

The combination of drugs and other items seized determines whether the greater charge is given.

Possession with Intent to Distribute carries stiff penalties. For those convicted of Schedule I or II drugs, the penalty starts at 5 years and can be as much as 30 years in prison for an initial offense and future offenses bump those penalties up to 10-40 years in prison. For Schedule III, IV, and V, the penalty is 1 to 10 years in prison.

OFFICIAL CODE OF GEORGIA 16-13-31

GEORGIA DRUG TRAFFICKING

Whereas possession involves a quantity of drug or controlled substance appropriate to individual use, a person with greater quantities or caught with other indications of sale and distribution face charges of Drug Trafficking. Individuals charged with Drug Trafficking often face both this charge and a possession charge for the drugs or substances.

If convicted, the penalties for Drug Trafficking include significant fines and prison terms.

While prosecutors typically add charges of Drug Trafficking to other charges like possession and sales or distribution charges, the Drug Trafficking penalty increases prison time significantly.

Marijuana, Opium, and Morphine Trafficking draw the lowest mandatory prison sentences at 5 years.

Methamphetamines, Amphetamines, and Cocaine both start mandatory prison sentences at 10 years at a Georgia Correctional Facility. While these minimum values bear consideration, the courts can and do assign greater values of up to 40 years per charge in some cases.  Georgia uses a ‘Schedule’ system for determining the penalties associated with a drug trafficking crime, whereas other states like Illinois use a ‘Class’ system where a similar crime of drug trafficking could be labeled a Class X Felony. Although many states have similar laws regarding drug trafficking, there are some nuances that a lawyer within the state where the crime allegedly occurred will be able to explain.

Drug Trafficking carries additional risk for those charged with using minors in their distribution efforts. The term “youthful accomplices” actually refers to an additional charge which can be brought against someone charged with Drug Trafficking.

This charge addresses individuals found to hire or engage a person under the age of 17 in the distribution or some other form of assistance with trafficking. This separate charge counts as an additional felony offense and carries a penalty of 5 to 20 years in prison.

Conoscienti & Ledbetter, LLC

Attorneys at Law

(404) 373-5800
315 W Ponce de Leon Ave.
Suite 400
Decatur, GA 30030