Drug-related crimes have been identified as the most common criminal cases in most of Georgia’s communities. These are offenses in which people of all ages and backgrounds may find themselves suddenly thrown into the criminal justice system. Unfortunately, being arrested and charged with drug crimes can lead to serious penalties and jeopardize future opportunities with a permanent criminal record upon conviction.
If you have been arrested for a drug crime or are the parent of someone who has, it is vital that you bring in a trusted criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. At Smith, Schnatmeier, Dettmering & Kilgo, LLP, our attorneys have five decades of collective criminal law experience. Our team includes former prosecutors with inside knowledge of how the other side operates in its efforts to secure convictions. Our extensive knowledge, experience, and skills as a team can be put to your advantage in fighting to help you avoid or minimize the consequences of drug charges. We provide an aggressive defense of all misdemeanor and felony drug charges.
Drug Crimes in Georgia
Drug crimes in Georgia fall under Title 16 Chapter 13 of the Georgia Statutes. Under the law, Georgia has established five “schedules” of controlled substances based on their potential for abuse, their medical value, and their level of addictiveness. They range in descending order of harmfulness from Schedule I as the most damaging down to Schedule V as the least. These controlled substances include such drugs as cocaine, marijuana, heroin, methamphetamine, LSD, fentanyl, and more as well as prescription medicines, such as Adderall, Vicodin, OxyContin, and Xanax.
Drug crimes in our state can include:
- Possession or possession with intent to distribute street drugs and controlled substances
- Manufacturing of narcotics
- Trafficking narcotics
- Illegal possession or possession with intent to distribute prescription drugs
- Fraudulently obtained prescription drugs
- Possession of drug paraphernalia
- Operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs
Your penalties for any drug crime will depend on the type of drugs found in your possession, the quantity or weight of the drugs, whether you have past drug convictions, and other factors. Most Schedule I or Schedule II drug charges in the state are considered felonies. However, one ounce or less of marijuana is charged as a misdemeanor carrying up to a year in jail and/or $1,000 in fines.
In some cases, such as for first-time nonviolent offenders, the state may offer a diversion program instead of criminal penalties. These programs may include drug treatment programs, educational and/or vocational classes, and more to rehabilitate drug users and give them the skills to lead productive lives. However, where these programs do not apply, the courts usually still impose stiff criminal penalties. These range from probated sentences to lengthy prison terms.
Drug Felony Penalties
Convictions for Schedule I or II drug offense felonies carry penalties of two to 15 years in prison. Repeat offenses in this category can be as high as 30 years in prison. Convictions for Schedule III, IV, and V drugs in first offenses can range between one and five years in prison. Subsequent convictions can range up to 10 years of incarceration.
Get the Help You Need to Protect Your Future
Our firm’s team has both prosecution and defense experience, affording us a unique insight into the criminal justice system. We understand how to best present a defense in court and the obstacles prosecutors face in proving a narcotics case.
Our thorough investigation and scrutiny of all evidence in a drug case fully prepare us for trial. We will protect your rights while seeking the best possible outcome. Often, our drug crime attorneys can negotiate plea agreements that result in no jail time and allow you to avoid having a permanent criminal record. We urge you to discuss the specifics of your case with one of our attorneys to learn more today.