Drug convictions relating to drug possession charges can impact on both the freedom of the convicted person and their livelihood. For this reason it is vital that anybody facing drug charges should elicit help from an experienced and reputable criminal defense attorney.
The fact is that the courts nationwide offer little leniency in controlled substances offences, and both fines and jail time can be substantial for convicted offenders.
A Roswell GA drug crimes attorney from the Don Turner legal team explains how drug possession charges could affect you or someone close to you.
Common Drug Possession Charges
Drug charges in general are crimes related not only to possession, but also to the manufacture, cultivation (for instance of marijuana) and distribution of controlled substances.
Possessing and distributing prescription drugs is also illegal. Additionally, drug charges often relate to being under the influence, or driving under the influence of controlled substances (which include both alcohol and drugs of all types.)
In Georgia the most common controlled substances offences are:
- Possession, including possession with intent to distribute or sell
- Drug trafficking
- Prescription fraud
While possession is a stand-alone offence, those charged with trafficking and/or prescription fraud (where people try to get legal drugs illegally) are sometimes charged with possession as well. When the charge is trafficking, the more drugs found in a person's possession, the more likely the prosecution is to get a conviction.
Drug possession charges vary in severity, depending on a host of factors, from the type of drug (see below) and quantity found on the person charged, to where the person was when arrested. For instance anyone found with drugs on them, near a school would likely be in more trouble than someone found somewhere away from vulnerable people. Anyone found near a school or with large quantities of drugs, might be accused of attempting to sell drugs, and charged with possession with intent to sell. Of course the latter drug possession charges carry higher penalties.
Drug trafficking is a similar offence to possession of drugs with intent to sell, but it is more serious because it is generally done on a much larger scale and involves importing, selling and smuggling controlled substances across state or international borders.
Penalties for Drug Possession Convictions
The penalties relating to drug possession charges (and those relating to possession with intent to distribute) are related directly to the category of drug (or type) involved. There are five different schedules of drug that are recognized in Georgia:
- Schedule I that includes cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, mescaline, LSD and marijuana are considered to have the greatest potential for abuse and no accepted medicinal use, and so carry the highest possible penalties.
- Schedule II that includes morphine and opium and have a high potential for abuse, even they have some acceptable medicinal use. These generally lead to severe physical and psychic dependence.
- Schedule III that includes anabolic steroids that lead to physical and/or psychological dependence.
- Schedule IV that includes diazepam and other drugs with acceptable medicinal use, but can lead to dependence if abused.
- Schedule V that includes medication that contains codeine and certain specified narcotic drugs, some of which are available over the counter.
If caught with any of the Schedule I drugs you could be charged with felony – unless it's less than an ounce of marijuana, in which case you'd be charged with a “misdemeanor.” Nevertheless, if caught with a large amount of marijuana, and convicted, you could end up in jail for as long as ten years.
In reality, felony offences can result in jail time, big fines, probation, community service and possibly drug rehab. So if you are arrested and charged with felony because you've been caught with controlled substances in your possession, you need legal assistance.
Why You Need a Roswell GA Drug Crimes Attorney When Facing Drug Possession Charges
Drug crimes attorneys operating in Georgia often find that the criminal justice system doesn't allow defendants the advocacy they deserve. If you don't know your rights, you can't assert them. For instance, if the police don't follow the correct procedure during drug searches and arrests, there's a good chance that the defendant's (your) rights were violated. This and other quite common errors can result in the prosecution having to drop charges. But you do need an experienced attorney to help you protect your rights.
If you've been arrested on a drug possession charge contact a Roswell GA drug crimes attorney from the Don Turner legal team as soon as you possibly can.