Possession of a Controlled Substance may be the most popular of all felony charges that funnel through our local superior courts.
Many crimes are complicated and require state prosecutors to prove a multitude of elements in order to obtain a conviction. Possession of a controlled substance, however, generally only requires prosecutors to prove two elements.
What Do Prosecutors Have to Prove In Drug Possession Cases?
There are two basic elements that prosecutors must show to garner a conviction.
1. The substance that you are accused of possessing was in fact a controlled substance.
Prosecutors have a standard method for determining if something is a controlled substance. The typical process is that law enforcement officers send the suspected drugs off to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to be tested by Forensic Chemists.
Those chemists then conduct tests on the substances to determine what exactly it is. Then they prepare a report and send the report to the prosecutors.
Thankfully, prosecutors in the Coweta Judicial Circuit typically wait on these test results to come back before formally drafting criminal charges against the suspect.
Additionally, there are legal mechanisms that allow for suspects to have the alleged drugs independently tested by an expert that is not employed by the State of Georgia.
2. Prosecutors Must Prove That You Were In Possession of the Drugs
There are two types of possession recognized by the law in Georgia: Constructive Possession and Actual Possession. Prosecutors can proceed under either theory in their prosecution.
Actual possession means that someone knowingly has direct physical control over an item. Perhaps something in your hand or in your pocket, or even stashed somewhere else on your person.
Constructive Possession means that someone has control of an item but doesn't have actual possession. For instance, something in a safe could be constructively possessed by the safe owner. Prosecutors will certainly argue that contraband in a locked room or a bedroom are constructively possessed by the owner of the room.
How Much Time Can I Get for Drug Possession?
This answer depends on a couple of factors. First is what drug are we talking about. There are multiple levels of drugs here in Georgia. They are included in different "Schedules."
How Much Time for Possession of Schedule I or a Schedule II?
Any conviction for possession of a schedule I or II drug is a felony in Georgia. The length of the potential sentence depends on the weight of the drugs. If the weight, including in mixture, is less than one gram, then the range of punishment is 1-3 years. The same range applies to less than one milliliter of liquid substance, or if the substance is placed onto a secondary medium with a combined weight of less than one gram
If the weight, including any mixture, is at least one gram, but less than four grams, the range is 1-8 years. The same sentence applies to a substance that is at least one milliliter, but less than four milliliters of a liquid substance or if the substance is placed onto a secondary medium with a combined weight of at least one gram but less than four grams.
If the weight is at least four grams, but less than 28 grams or at least four milliliters, but less than 28 milliliters of liquid substance, or if the substance is placed onto a secondary medium with a combined weight of at least one gram, or if the substance is placed onto a secondary medium with a combined weight of at least four grams but less than 28 grams then the sentencing range is 1-15 years.
Third Conviction for Possession of Scheule I or II Drug
I convicted for the third time of possession of a Schedule I or II, then the applicable sentencing range doubles.
How Much Time for Possession of Schedule III, IV, or V?
If convicted of possession of a scheduled III, IV, or V it is a felony conviction. The range of punishment is 1-3 years unless it is a third conviction. Upon a third conviction, the crime is punishable by 1-5 years.
If you or a loved one are facing drug possession charges then Contact Us today and schedule a consultation so that we can help you through this trying time.