Many people think that possession of a small amount of marijuana is no longer a criminal offense. While this is true in some states, it is not true in Georgia.
Even if you purchased marijuana in a state where it is legal for recreational or medical use, possession of the drug becomes illegal as soon as you cross the border into Georgia.
Georgia's marijuana laws are among the harshest in the nation. Possession of one ounce of marijuana or less in Georgia is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Possession of more than one ounce of marijuana is a felony, subject to up to 10 years in prison or longer, depending on the quantity.
If a prosecutor offers you a deal that includes a small fine and no jail time, accepting that offer will not be a good idea if you are required to plead guilty. Pleading guilty to even a misdemeanor offense will result in a permanent criminal record that will be visible to anyone who conducts a background check on you. This can have serious, long-term consequences on your life:
- Your criminal record may be used against you when you apply for a job, buy insurance or seek a mortgage.
- If you are a college student, you would be ineligible for federal student loans.
- You may be unable to obtain a professional license.
- You may be ineligible for certain government programs.
To minimize the consequences of a marijuana arrest, it's important to seek prompt advice from an experienced criminal defense lawyer. You may be able to resolve your case without the stigma of a criminal conviction.