Atlanta Drug Possession Attorney
About Drug Possession Crimes
Possession of illegal drugs is a very serious matter. For example, possession
of just one gram of marijuana, even if you have never been arrested before
this incident, exposes you to a sentence of up to 12 months of time, payment
of a fine up to $1,000.00, and the creation of a permanent criminal record.
(To illustrate just how small one gram of marijuana is, a package of Sweet
'N Low artificial sweetener weighs one gram).
Further, even if you are caught with this one gram of marijuana while you
had nothing to do with driving a car (such as while you were attending
a rock concert at Phillips Arena in Atlanta, or walking on the sidewalk
with your friends in Atlanta's Buckhead community), your Georgia driver's
license or your privilege to drive in Georgia will be suspended for six months.
This is a hard suspension, and goes without any limited permit to allow
you to go to and from school or to drive to and from work. If such loss
of your driver's license causes you to lose your job because of your
conviction for even just one gram of marijuana, the Georgia Department
of Driver Services' response is "tough luck."
Possession of other drugs such as cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, ecstasy
and other unlawful substances is a felony and punishable by imprisonment
for more than twelve months. A conviction of a felony exposes the defendant
to harsher terms of imprisonment, higher fines,
asset forfeiture, and severe collateral consequences, such as not being permitted to possess
and/or use a firearm; not being eligible to obtain many positions of employment
or admission into colleges and post-graduate programs; not being eligible
to be licensed as a lawyer, doctor, teacher, accountant, etc., and not
being eligible to vote. The impact of one foolish indiscretion can follow
you for the rest of your life.
Drug Possession Charges and Your Rights
Possession of drugs prosecutions often involve search and seizure issues
under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article
I, Section 1, Paragraph XIII of the 1983 Georgia Constitution. Every person
in our country has the constitutional right to be free from unlawful searches
and unlawful seizures of his person, home, automobile, business, etc.
The discovery of drugs often follows an ostensible traffic stop of a motorist
(often for "speeding" and/or for "failure to maintain a
lane") and a subsequent search of his vehicle. A court issued search
warrant is not always needed to substantiate the search of a person's vehicle.
That is, a warrantless search of your car for drugs can be based on the
officer claiming that you - the driver of the car - supposedly consented
to the search. Also, the officer could claim that he accumulated evidence
after he pulled you over that provided him with probable cause to believe
that drugs were on your person and/or then secreted in your car, thereby
permitting the officer to search your car. Note that as to marijuana,
the Georgia appellate courts have held that the odor of burnt marijuana
- in and of itself - is enough evidence to constitutionally permit an
officer to force the driver and the passengers out of the car, frisk the
occupants of the car for weapons and drugs, and search the entire vehicle
for drugs: all without a court issued search warrant.
Our legal team at The Law Offices of Howard J. Weintraub, P.C. is extremely
knowledgeable in the laws of search and seizure and will ensure that your
constitutional rights have not been violated through law enforcement's
discovery of drugs on your person, in your car, in your home, etc. With
our legal support and protection of your rights, you will enjoy a much
stronger likelihood of having your
drug crime charges reduced or dismissed entirely.