The State of Georgia has decided that certain drugs should be illegal. Georgia governs the possession, distribution, and trafficking of illicit drugs under the Georgia Controlled Substances Act. In doing so, they have enacted various levels of crimes concerning drugs. The crimes escalate based on type of drug as well as how much of the drug is involved, and in some instances the circumstances surrounding those drugs.
What are the Different Drug Offenses?
The most simple of drug offenses is simple possession. Possession of any illegal drug is a crime and all possession charges are felonies except for possession of less than one ounce of marijuana.
In general, a possession charge carries a penalty of between one year and three years in the state prison system. That sentence can, however, be probated or suspended by a judge. The sentencing range on these charges may also increase if you have previous possession convictions.
Sale of Drugs
Georgia has also criminalized the sale of illegal drugs. The sale of any drug is a felony and the range of punishment depends on the amount of drugs sold and what schedule the drug is.
One important thing to be aware of in Georgia is that the sale of a misdemeanor amount of marijuana is a felony. That's right, the sale of one gram of marijuana in Georgia is a felony and you could face up to 10 years in the state prison.
Whether in Coweta, Carroll, Heard, Meriwether, or Troup County prosecutions for the sale of drugs is less common than for other drug crimes.
Sale cases are most common in two scenarios:
- The first scenario is where prosecutors use the Sale of Marijuana charge to prosecute folks for felonies where the sheer amount of marijuana was only a misdemeanor amount, but for some reason they want to prosecute the defendant for a felony.
- Additionally, the overwhelmingly majority of these "sale" cases are made when law enforcement uses confidential informants (CIs) to purchase drugs. These CIs typically use law enforcement funds to purchase the drugs and the CI generally receive something in return. In return, it is common that the law enforcement agency authorizing the undercover purchase of drugs will recommend bond or a more lenient sentence for the CI.
Possession with Intent to Distribute
A slightly different crime than the sale of drugs is possessing drugs while intending to distribute them. This crime does not require there actually be a sale of any illicit drugs, instead, the prosecutors must prove two things:
- That you possessed illegal drugs; and
- that you were planning on selling or distributing those drugs.
If you are charged with possessing with intent regarding a schedule I or schedule II drug, then the range of punishment is five years to thirty years. If you are, however, convicted a second for a second time, then the range of punishment bumps up to ten years to forty years.
If you are charged with possessing a schedule III, IV, or V drug then the range of punishment is one year to ten years. The range of punishment for these types of drugs do not increase upon multiple convictions.
Trafficking is considered the most serious of all the drug crimes. This is reflected by the punishment for trafficking charges which vary based on the type of drug. Trafficking is much different than possession with intent to distribute.
For trafficking, the District Attorney does not have to prove that you were intending to sale or distribute the drugs. Instead, they must only prove that you possessed a certain amount of the illegal drug.
The sentencing range for these charges depends on the quantity of drug and required quantity varies depending on the drug. A trafficking conviction also requires a substantial fine on the part of the defendant. This fine is oftentimes six-figures, but can even reach one-million dollars.
Check out our Drug Trafficking Defense Page to learn more about specific drug trafficking charges and the punishment associated with those charges.