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Penalties for Drug Crimes in Georgia

Georgia and the federal government go to great lengths to deter and punish drug offenders. Almost all Georgia drug charges are regarded as felony offenses, with the exception of possessing less than an ounce of marijuana which can be lowered to a misdemeanor. Typical drug charges include possession, trafficking, and intent to distribute.

Penalties for drug crime convictions depend largely on the type of drug you are accused of having. Throughout the U.S. controlled substances are broken into categories, or schedules, based on the drug’s potential for abuse and any medicinal applications.

Controlled substances are categorized as follows:

  • Schedule I—hallucinogenic drugs such as LSD, heroin, ecstasy, mushrooms, and peyote
  • Schedule II—methamphetamines, raw opium, oxycodone, morphine, and cocaine
  • Schedule III—steroids including ketamine and testosterone
  • Schedule IV—diazepam, phenobarbital, and Clonazepam
  • Schedule V—substances containing low levels of opium, ethyl morphine, and codeine

Possession Penalties

You can be charged with drug possession even if drugs are not on your person, but the substances can be found in your car or somewhere in your home. You only need to have “control” over the drugs, as in easy and ready access.

Penalties for a drug possession conviction can include:

  • Marijuana, <1 ounce—up to $1,000 in fines and 1 year in prison
  • Marijuana, >1 ounce—up to 10 years jail time and fines
  • Schedule I & II—2 to 15 years in prison and fines
  • Schedule I & II, subsequent convictions—5 to 30 years in prison and fines
  • Schedule III, IV, & V—1 to 5 year prison sentence and fines
  • Schedule III, IV, & V—subsequent offenses—1 to 10 years in prison and fines

For a manufacturing, delivering, selling, or possessing with intent to distribute charge, the penalties can be slightly increased. Trafficking is the making and transportation of drugs. If the quantities of drugs found are considered large enough and/or there are instruments used in selling such as scales, lots of cash in small denominations, or a sizeable amount of drugs in small individual packages, the charges could include possession with intent to sell.

Trafficking & Distribution Penalties

Convictions for such charges can include:

  • Schedule I & II—5 to 30 years in prison; 10 to 40 years for subsequent convictions
  • Schedule III, IV, & V—1 to 10 year prison sentence
  • Rohypnol—5 to 30 year prison sentence; 10 to 40 years or a life sentence for subsequent convictions

Additional felonies can be added if someone under 17 years of age was hired to help in the distribution which can carry 5 to 20 years in jail and at minimum fine of $20,000.

These punishments are to be avoided at all costs, so call an Atlanta criminal defense attorney to fight your drug charges!