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In Georgia, a conviction for even a relatively minor drug offense can result in serious penalties, including jail time, large fines and probation. If you’ve been arrested for a drug crime, the experienced defense lawyers at Nicholson Phillips in Marietta can help. We’ve represented people throughout North Georgia since 1990, providing excellent service and personal attention to each client. For the diligent guidance you need when facing serious criminal charges, you can rely on our respected team of attorneys.
Drug possession crimes
Possessing even a small amount of illegal substances in Georgia comes with some hefty consequences, not to mention the social stigma you must deal with as a convicted drug offender. You may face a sentence of two to 15 years in prison for first-offense possession of narcotics including:
Possession of non-prescribed steroids is a felony punishable by one to five years of incarceration. A conviction for possession of a controlled medication, such as Klonopin or Rohypnol, without a prescription may result in one to 10 years in prison.
Marijuana is illegal to possess for recreational use in Georgia. Possession of less than 1 ounce is a misdemeanor punishable by a $1,000 fine and jail time, and more than an ounce may result in one to 10 years in prison.
What is distribution?
Drug distribution involves selling or transporting illegal substances, and Georgia maintains harsh penalties for those convicted of this crime. These penalties include mandatory minimum sentences that judges must follow by law, which limits your ability to seek lessened penalties — such as probation rather than a lengthy jail sentence. State law calls for at least one year of incarceration for drug distribution convictions. It will be up to the judge in your case to consider the amount of the substance in your possession at the time of your arrest, your criminal record and if you were near a school zone when determining your sentence. With the life-altering consequences involved, it’s critical to speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer right away after your arrest.
What qualifies as drug trafficking?
Drug trafficking may involve a number of actions, including developing, transporting, selling and distributing illegal substances. Convictions typically result in severe penalties, including prison terms that are longer than those ordered for violent criminals. It’s also possible that you’ll be charged with both distribution and trafficking, making the consequences even worse. Speaking with a skilled attorney immediately after an arrest for drug trafficking can greatly help your case.
Felony and misdemeanor drug charges
If you’re arrested for a drug crime, you may face misdemeanor or felony charges. In general, felonies are more serious than misdemeanors, although convictions for either classification of crime may come with significant penalties. Misdemeanor drug charges typically involve crimes like possession of marijuana or the possession or sale of drug paraphernalia, and you may face fines up to $1,000 and a year in jail. Felony charges are associated with crimes like drug distribution, sale, trafficking and cultivation. Even first-time offenses may result in several years of incarceration and extremely large fines.
In Georgia, there are some options for first-time offenders to avoid some of the more severe penalties by attending treatment programs. Our attorneys are particularly skilled at advocating for diversion opportunities like drug treatment and community service for individuals facing misdemeanor drug charges for the first time. Those facing first-time felony charges may be able to undergo treatment programs in exchange for reduced or eliminated time in prison. These options are up to the court’s discretion, and it takes a knowledgeable lawyer to effectively argue for them.