Being caught with drugs may result in a VGCSA Charge. To avoid jail time and fines, you might need a criminal defense lawyer from The Waltman Firm. Call now!
Offenses Under the Georgia Controlled Substances Act
The term “VGCSA” is an acronym for “Violation of the Georgia Controlled Substances Act.” VGCSA is a criminal offense that occurs when a person violates one or more of the Georgia Controlled Substances Act provisions. This may include, but is not limited to, manufacturing, distributing, dispensing, possessing, or using a controlled substance.
Depending on the specific circumstances of the drug offense case, a VGCSA can be classified as a misdemeanor or felony. If convicted of a VGCSA, an individual found guilty can face jail time or hefty fines.
In Georgia, violations of the Georgia Controlled Substances Act, or VGCSA, are among the most serious offenses. A conviction on this charge could lead to a very lengthy prison term.
When facing VGCSA charges, it is crucial to seek immediate help from an experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorney. This article is a guide on everything you need to know about VGCSA charges.
Regulatory Classification of Controlled Substances
Georgia’s Controlled Substances Act regulates the possession, use, and distribution of controlled substances. The Act classifies controlled substances into five schedules based on their potential for abuse and accepted medical usefulness.
- Schedule I drugs contain dangerous drugs such as heroin and LSD, which are high-risk for abuse and have no accepted medical use in the United States
- Schedule II includes narcotics, such as cocaine and methamphetamine, which have a high potential for abuse, and some accepted medical use.
- Schedule III contains drugs such as anabolic steroids and some barbiturates, which have a lower potential for abuse than Schedule I or II drugs but still have some potential for dependence or addiction
- Schedule IV drugs, such as Xanax and Valium, have a low potential for abuse relative to other controlled substances but can still lead to physical or psychological dependence
- Schedule V drugs have the lowest potential for abuse and include cough suppressants and antidiarrheal medications containing minor narcotics
Penalties for VGCSA
A person who violates the GA, Controlled Substance Act can face drug charges which may result in several penalties. These violations are classified as misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the schedule of the drug involved and the quantity.
Under Georgia’s drug possession laws, the possession of Schedule I or II controlled substances is a felony punishable by the harshest penalties.
- Schedule I Controlled Substances and Schedule II narcotics are punishable by imprisonment for 2 to 30 years.
- In the case of possession between 28 and 200 grams of cocaine or methamphetamine, a minimum ten-year sentence is mandatory, along with a fine of $200,000.
- Possession of a Schedule III, IV, or V substance carries a prison sentence of between one and ten years.
Intent to Distribute Drugs
Charges of intent to distribute illegal drugs are brought when there is evidence that the accused intended to sell or distribute the drugs. Where the defendant has not made incriminating statements, the surrounding circumstances often prove intent. A controlled substance is presumed to be intended for distribution if it is too large to be used for personal use. Additionally, packaging materials, large amounts of money, and communications with customers indicate that the possessor intended to sell the drugs.
A conviction for intent to distribute can result in a substantial increase in punishment. Intent to distribute schedule 1 or 2 drugs can result in 5 to 20 years in prison. The punishment ranges from 10 to 40 years or life imprisonment for subsequent offenses. Intent to distribute schedule 3, 4, or 5 drugs can result in a prison sentence of 1 to 10 years.
If you hire an aggressive criminal defense lawyer, these charges can often be reduced to mere possession or dismissed entirely. These cases often involve weak evidence that can be disproved.
Categories of Charges for Violations of the Georgia Controlled Substances Act
There are four categories of charges for the VGCSA in Georgia.
The first level is a misdemeanor charge and is punishable by up to one year in jail or a fine of up to about $1,000.
The second level is also a misdemeanor charge but is punishable by up to three years in jail or a fine of up to about $5,000.
The third level is a felony charge and is punishable by up to ten years in jail and/or a fine of up to about $20,000.
The fourth level is also a felony charge but is punishable by up to twenty years in jail and/or a fine of up to about $200,000.
VGCSA Charges Defenses
Usually, procedural defenses are more effective in drug crime cases. Any charges against you related to the drugs can be dismissed if your attorney can show that the arresting officers themselves violated the law. Common defenses include the following:
The Illegal Search and Seizure of Property
It outlines the terms under which the government can access anyone’s person or property and invade their privacy. Police officers must have probable cause or a warrant before searching an individual’s property. Without either of these, the search is illegal unless you consent to it. As a result, the prosecution’s case will be thrown out along with the evidence.
People tend to believe that entrapment is an easy defense to raise. Defendants need to show that the police officer induced them to commit the crime when raising this defense.
The defendant must also prove that they would not have committed the crime without the police officer’s pressure. Entrapment will not succeed if the prosecution successfully shows that the defendant was predisposed to commit the crime.
It is often difficult to prove this claim. An officer’s testimony has great authority in a court of law, so arguing that the evidence was planted is risky. In addition, the police officers will be defending themselves against criminal charges, so they will be extra careful not to incriminate themselves.
Drugs Are Missing/ No Evidence
For your defense attorney to succeed, the prosecution must present the drugs in court as part of the evidence against you. Throughout this process, everyone can be certain that the drugs in question are, in fact, drugs, as well as the amount alleged to have been in your possession. Charges will probably be dismissed if the drugs are missing.
The Drugs Were Not Yours
It is also possible to argue that you didn’t own the drugs at all, but that they belonged to someone else. Possession does not always imply ownership. However, this defense is risky since the prosecution can prove that you knew or controlled the drugs, which still carries a significant penalty.
Contact The Waltman Firm for VGCSA Defense
Defend yourself against drug distribution, drug possession, drug trafficking, and other drug charges under Georgia law by contacting a criminal defense lawyer from The Waltman Firm. We aim to ensure you are treated fairly by the criminal justice system while navigating the legal system.
Contact us today for legal representation to build a strong defense.