Most charges for violations of the Georgia Controlled Substances Act involve small amounts of drugs. If you are a first time offender charged with possession of marijuana or other drug crimes, the odds of your serving prison time for a small amount of a controlled substance are not substantial.
There are other consequences of a conviction for possession of drugs, such as the loss of a driver’s license and being ineligible for college financial aid, which are more than minor inconveniences. We represent many college students enrolled at the University of West Georgia who have a HOPE scholarship. If a student is convicted of committing certain felony offenses involving marijuana, controlled substances, or dangerous drugs, he or she will be ineligible for a HOPE Scholarship payment from the date of conviction to the completion of the following school term, in accordance with the Georgia Drug-Free Postsecondary Education Act of 1990.
We always explore the possibility of suppressing the evidence because it was unlawfully seized as the result of an illegal search. When the evidence in a drug case is suppressed (i.e., ruled inadmissible by the judge), the case is almost always dismissed. After all, the evidence is the case. Click on the following link to learn more about search and seizure law.
Penalties for Drug Crimes
Possession of a Schedule I or II drug (e.g., cocaine or methamphetamine)
- The first offense carries possible punishment of one to fifteen years and a fine.
- A second or subsequent conviction (e.g., possession of cocaine, possession of methamphetamine) for an offense committed prior to July 1, 2012, means your sentence will be from five to thirty years. This provision is not applicable to drug offenses committed on or after July 2, 2012.
Possession with intent to distribute a Schedule I or Schedule II controlled substance
- A first offense carries five to thirty years.
- A second offense carries ten to forty years or life imprisonment
Possession of cocaine and possession of methamphetamine are charges that should be taken seriously – particularly if the accused is a repeat offender or has been selling either of these street drugs. Methamphetamine, in particular, is increasingly unpopular with law enforcement personnel, the general public, and – most importantly – trial court judges.
Possession of Schedule III, IV, and V drugs (e.g., Xanax or Valium)
- A first offense committed on or after July 1, 2012, carries punishment of one to three years.
- A third or subsequent offense carries a sentence of one to five years, and possession with intent to distribute carries one to ten years.
- Possession of marijuana in an amount in excess of an ounce is a felony and can be punished by one to ten years in prison.
Trafficking in cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana, and other drugs
- Possession of 28 grams (approximately one ounce) of cocaine or methamphetamine is a trafficking offense and carries a minimum sentence of ten years and a fine of $200,000.00.
- Possession of more than ten pounds of marijuana is also considered trafficking and carries a minimum sentence of five years. For greater amounts the minimum prison time can be as high as 25 years with a fine of up to one million dollars. In addition, large cases can frequently end up as Federal cases.
- NOTE: New drug laws are scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2013, and July 1, 2014. We will provide updated information when those laws go into effect.
There are a number of other drugs we frequently encounter. Our clients are often charged with possession of hydrocodone, possession of oxycontin, or possession of ecstasy (MDMA). In many cases we explore a treatment option, if that is in the client’s best interests. There is more than one way to “minimize the damage” of a drug charge, and we do what is best for the individual client.
Remember there are collateral consequences that come with drug convictions such as the loss of a driver’s license, ineligibility for student financial aid, and forfeiture of money and property, such as automobiles.
Drug Crimes Cases
State v. M.M., Superior Court of Polk County
This young man was charged with criminal attempt to manufacture methamphetamines.… Read more about this drug-related case.
State v. M.S., Georgia Court of Appeals
This gentleman was staying at a local hotel when police answered a call from an employee who complained that the registered guest was using drugs…. Read more about this drug offenses case.
State v. E.C., Superior Court of Carroll County
Our female client was accused of trafficking in marijuana after police discovered 250 pounds had been stashed in a freezer… Read more about this drug charges defense case.