Atlanta Drug Possession Attorney
Georgia Drug Possession Laws
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.
If you are facing charges for drug possession in Georgia, don't hesitate to contact our firm to start discussing your case.
Georgia 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.
Possession with Intent to Distribute
Georgia drug possession laws prohibit anyone to possess either controlled or uncontrolled substances, with the intent to distribute. If charged with this crime, the laws heavily penalize anyone who is convicted, faces felony-level consequences. These penalties may include substantial fines and lengthy imprisonment terms.
What Consequences Could I Face?
The consequences you could face will largely depend on the substance that was in your possession. Georgia categorizes different sets of drugs by a "schedule" system, from 1 to 5. Schedule I drugs may include heroin, LSD, or ecstasy, while Schedule 5 drugs could include anything contains a small amount of codeine or opium.
The penalties may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Schedule I and II drugs:
- 1st offense: Between 5 to 30 years' imprisonment
- 2 or more offenses: Between 10 to 40 years imprisonment; life sentence is possible
- Schedule III, IV, and V:
- Between 1 to 10 years' imprisonment
The law will also consider how much evidence that is discovered in order to determine the severity of charges. If items such as measuring scales or plastic bags are found, these may be seen as tools to enable the transport or sale of drugs. These items could be scrutinized heavily or used to support prosecuting arguments during trial, jury deliberations, and sentencing. That is why it is important to speak with an Atlanta drug possession attorney right away to determine whether or not these evidence is enough to uphold the charges.
Protect Your Reputation—Call Us!
Our legal team at Weintraub & Alper Legal 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.
Facing charges for a drug crime under Georgia drug possession laws? Get the defense you deserve by contacting us today.