Understanding Georgia Cocaine Laws: Penalties and Legal Considerations
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Your Guide to Georgia Cocaine Laws
All U.S. states, including Georgia, have laws restricting the proliferation of cocaine due to its status as a powerful and highly-addictive stimulant drug. Georgia’s cocaine laws are designed to deter drug-related activities and ensure public safety.
Georgia cocaine laws prohibit the possession, manufacturing, distribution, and sale of cocaine. However, the penalties for some of these offenses are stricter than others. For example, crimes like possession are deemed less severe than crimes like drug trafficking.
It is advisable to understand the state’s drug trafficking laws to protect yourself. If you or your loved one is charged with trafficking cocaine or any other drug crime involving this substance, the time to hire a lawyer is now. You could face jail time, probation, fines, and other penalties if convicted. Hire a criminal attorney sooner than later to improve your chances of beating the charge.
Classification of Cocaine in Georgia
The Georgia Controlled Substances Act categorizes drugs into various schedules. These schedules are based on the drug’s potential for abuse and accepted medical uses. The most dangerous are Schedule I drugs, while Schedule V drugs are the least dangerous. In the Act, Cocaine is classified as a Schedule II drug. Schedule II substances are considered to have the following characteristics:
- A high potential for abuse
- A currently accepted medical use in the United States or an accepted medical use with severe restrictions
- Severe psychological or physical dependence when abused
Drug classification sets the groundwork for Georgia drug penalties.
Georgia Cocaine Offenses
There are two major factors in the classification of cocaine offenses in Georgia. These are the amount and purity of the cocaine involved. Based on these factors, cocaine offenses in Georgia can be classified into:
Simple Possession of Cocaine
According to Georgia’s drug possession laws, you could face drug possession charges if the police found controlled substances on your person or in a place that you control or have access to.
GA Code § 16-13-30(a) defines simple possession of cocaine and makes it illegal to purchase or possess any controlled substance. It also makes it illegal for one to have such under their control. Simple possession is a separate offense from possession with the intent to distribute.
GA Code § 16-13-30(e) provides the penalty for this offense. Simple possession of cocaine is a felony punishable by a minimum of two and a maximum of 15 years in prison. However, a second or subsequent offense attracts a minimum of 5 years and a maximum of 30.
Cocaine possession can be either actual or constructive possession. Actual possession is where you have the substance on your person, e.g., in your pocket. Meanwhile, constructive possession is where you have control over the substance, even if it is not with you physically. For example, if cocaine is stocked in a warehouse you own or have the keys to.
Manufacture, Delivery, Distribution, Dispensing, Administering, Sale, Possession with Intent to Distribute
Possession with the intent to distribute cocaine is more severe than simple possession. As such, it is grouped together with other serious offenses, such as manufacturing and selling cocaine. Under GA Code § 16-13-30(b), it is illegal to manufacture, bring into the state, distribute, and possess cocaine with the intent to distribute.
The punishment for these offenses is provided for in GA Code § 16-13-30(d), where each offense attracts imprisonment for between five to 30 years. However, if it is a second or subsequent offense, it becomes ten to forty years in prison.
The police typically decipher intent to sell based on certain factors, including the quantity of cocaine, the presence of drug paraphernalia, large sums of money, or evidence of drug sales.
GA Code § 16-13-31 provides for the crime of cocaine trafficking. Under this section, anyone who sells, manufactures, delivers, imports, or knowingly possesses 28 grams or more of cocaine or of any mixture with a purity of 10 percent or more of cocaine is guilty of a felony. The penalties depend on the quantity of cocaine in question.
- For cocaine between 28 to 200 grams, the minimum imprisonment term is ten years, along with a $200,000 fine.
- For 200 to 400 grams, the minimum sentence is 15 years in prison and a $300,000 fine.
- For anything greater than 400 grams, the minimum sentence is 25 years with a $1 million fine.
Furthermore, an offense may still be considered trafficking even if the substance has a purity of less than 10% of cocaine. That is, if the total weight of the mixture multiplied by the percentage of cocaine therein exceeds any of the quantities of cocaine specified above.
A drug crime conviction can have a myriad of negative life consequences. However, prosecutors have to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. This gives your criminal lawyer a variety of ways to defend you.
Firstly, if the cocaine was not in your actual possession, it can be difficult to prove possession. This is especially the case where your lawyer is able to present a convincing argument. Also, your lawyer can question the alleged purity and weight of the cocaine. In some cases, these figures could have been wrongly recorded. Proving so could turn the case around in your favor.
Your lawyer can also argue against the process by which the cocaine in question was recovered. Procedural errors may prove fatal to the prosecution’s case, such as unlawful arrest and seizure. A law firm with an in-depth understanding of Georgia cocaine laws and the criminal process can help with this.
Have More Questions? Consult The Waltman Firm
Georgia imposes significant penalties for all forms of cocaine-related drug crimes. At The Waltman Firm, we know the ins and outs of state and federal drug laws and have proved our knowledge in the many dismissals we obtained for our clients. We have been on both sides of the law, so we know how to defend your case against the prosecution’s.
Whether facing simple or serious criminal charges, we are here for you. We provide customized services to cater to your unique needs. Our passion is to serve you to your complete satisfaction. Contact us today and find out how we can be of help to you.