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State of Georgia Drug Penalties for Possession, Trafficking, & More

If you are facing drug charges in the state of Georgia, having a solid understanding of Georgia’s drug penalties is essential. This guide covers everything you need to know.

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What You Need to Know About Drug Laws in Georgia

Georgia’s laws about drug offenses are among the strictest in the United States. Much like the drug laws of the neighboring states, Georgia has zero tolerance for drug possession.

Drug possession is a felony punishable by law, and the penalties for this crime are severe and are accompanied by expensive fines. Even if you don’t have any drugs in your possession, you could be charged with possessing drug-related objects, and these charges shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Don’t forget that possession, as well as possession with intent to distribute, are serious charges, and some include a mandatory minimum sentence in prison. Without an experienced attorney to represent you, you may spend many years in prison for such drug crimes.

A drug possession arrest can happen to anyone, regardless of the type of drugs involved. A simple traffic stop or search warrant could lead to an arrest for possession of illegal substances. It’s important to be aware of Georgia’s drug laws and penalties so that you can take measures to protect yourself.

Factors That Determine the Type of Georgia Drug Penalties to Be Administered

If you have been charged for drug possession, the type of penalty administered by a judge depends on numerous factors.

Factors That Influence Georgia Drug Laws and Penalties

The factors influencing your penalties under Georgia drug laws are outlined below.

The Quantity of Drugs You Possessed at the Time

If you were caught with an ounce of marijuana, then the penalty for this marijuana possession offense would be lighter than if you were in possession of several hundred pounds of marijuana.

Your Intentions With the Drugs

Following the same example, if the marijuana was for personal use and you intended to smoke it yourself, the penalties are minimal. If the marijuana was meant to be sold to other persons, this is followed by more severe penalties.

The Type of Drug

The type of drug plays a significant role in the potential penalties faced by an alleged drug offender. A person caught in marijuana possession faces fewer charges and penalties than a person who is found to carry heroin or cocaine.

Controlled Substance Laws Under the Georgia Controlled Substance Act

The State of Georgia regulates the possession of controlled substances under the Georgia Controlled Substances Act. According to Georgia laws, the possession of a controlled substance can be a felony offense or a misdemeanor punishable by law, and this depends on the type and amount of controlled substance.

Drug Schedules for Georgia Possession of Controlled Substances

Georgia divides its controlled substances into five schedules, which are explained below.

Schedule I Drugs

Schedule I drugs are the type of drugs that have a high potential for abuse and have no accepted medical use whatsoever. An example of a Schedule I drug is heroin.


Schedule II Drugs

Like Schedule I drugs, these drugs also have a high potential for drug abuse but have an accepted medical use with significant restrictions. Schedule II includes drugs such as morphine and opium. The abuse of a Schedule II narcotic has the potential for serious physical dependence.


Schedule III Drugs

These types of drugs have a lesser potential for abuse compared to the above drugs. They are also accepted for medical use, and the abuse of these drugs has a low physical dependence. They include anabolic steroids.


Schedule IV Drugs

Compared to Schedule III, these types of drugs have a lower potential for abuse. Schedule IV drugs are also acceptable for medical use, and when it comes to the abuse of the drugs, they have a limited psychological or physical dependence.


Schedule V Drugs

These types of drugs have a lower potential for abuse, and they are acceptable for medical use. Schedule V drugs also have a limited physical dependence. They include medicines that have small amounts of narcotic drugs.

Georgia Drug Possession Laws and Some of the Penalties for Drug Possession

As mentioned earlier, the penalty for felony possession will significantly depend on the type and amount of the controlled substances involved. You can know the penalties that will be imposed by looking at the drug listed on the charging document of the case.

If found in possession of Schedule I or II drugs, the felony is punishable by 2 to 15 years in prison. For any second or subsequent offense, the felony is punishable by 5 to 30 years in prison. The possession of Schedule II drugs other than narcotics is punishable by 2 to 15 years in prison, and a subsequent conviction is a felony punishable by 5 to 30 years in prison.

Possession of Schedule III, IV, or V drugs is also a felony punishable by 1 to 5 years in prison. A subsequent conviction of the same offense is punishable by 1 to 10 years in prison.

Remember that the definition of these objects in Georgia law is expansive regarding drug-related objects.

In other words, the object could be a material, tool, equipment, machine, or even a device that is used to introduce a controlled substance into the body, enhance the effects, prepare or even conceal the drugs. The person convicted would be guilty of a misdemeanor. Subsequent offenses can lead to the crime being elevated to a felony, resulting in one to five years in prison and fines ranging from $1,000 to $5,000.

Georgia Drug Trafficking Penalties

Drug trafficking here in Georgia is quite different from drug possession, drug manufacturing, and drug distribution. Drug trafficking is commonly based on the allegations that a person sells, distributes, or even possesses illegal drugs in more significant amounts.

Since drug trafficking involves larger amounts of drugs, the charges behind it carry severe mandatory minimum prison sentences. The larger the number of narcotics obtained, the higher the number of years in prison.

If you are caught with cocaine of at least 28 grams and less than 200 grams, the penalty for such a felony is at least ten years of jail time. For the possession of 200 grams but less than 400 grams, the penalty is 15 years, and possession of more than 400 grams of cocaine is a sentence of at least 25 years.

When it comes to opium, heroin, and morphine, drug trafficking is committed if the person is found with four or more grams but not more than 14 grams. This offense is punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of $50,000. Quantities of 14 grams but not more than 28 grams are punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years along with a $100,000 fine, and amounts more than 28 grams are followed by a sentence of mandatory 25 years minimum imprisonment with a $500,000 fine.

For marijuana, trafficking more than 10 pounds of the drug but less than 2000 pounds demands a sentence of 5 years. An amount of 2000 pounds but not more than 10000 pounds is punishable by seven years of jail time. For 10,000 pounds and above, this demands a sentence of 15 years.

How to Beat Drug Possession Charges and Get a Minimum Sentence in the State of Georgia

Even if the listed sentences above are mandatory, there are other ways in which you can be sentenced to less than the mandatory sentences above. This can be done by a district attorney who files a motion requesting the sentencing court to reduce the years. This can only be done if the defendant can assist in identifying or convicting the culprits involved in the operation.

You can also beat the charges if the sentencing court departs from the sentencing discretely if the defendant was not the leader in the operation. This can only happen if the defendant owns no weapon and has no other recorded felonies if no persons lost their lives or were injured during the criminal conduct, and other factors.

In addition to the above strategies, a strong legal defense can help beat drug possession charges and potentially reduce the sentence. A skilled criminal defense lawyer can challenge the evidence presented by the prosecution and argue for alternative sentencing options, such as drug treatment programs or probation instead of incarceration.

Speaking with a knowledgeable attorney can significantly improve your chances of minimizing the consequences of drug possession charges in Georgia. Contact a reputable criminal defense firm in your area for more information and assistance with your case.

Talk to an Attorney

Ultimately, the best way to determine your defense options is to speak with a reputable criminal defense lawyer. When you turn to the experienced drug crimes attorneys at The Waltman Firm, you can be sure that an experienced legal team will handle your case.

Our lawyers have years of experience handling drug possession cases and are dedicated to protecting our clients’ rights. We understand the complexities of Georgia’s drug laws and can help guide you through the legal process while fighting for a favorable outcome on your behalf.

Don’t face drug possession charges alone. Contact The Waltman Firm today for a confidential consultation and learn how we can help defend your case and potentially lessen the consequences of a drug conviction in Georgia.