The penalties for drug crimes are serious in every state, whether an individual is accused of being in possession of a drug or was allegedly selling or transporting illegal substances at the time of arrest. A possession charge can also turn into a drug trafficking charge when the quantities of the drug are above a certain amount. In some instances, the accused may be charged under both state and federal laws in the indictment.
When an individual is charged with a drug crime in Georgia, a conviction will negatively impact their lives for years to come. Not only can they possibly face long sentences, but the restrictions that come with having a criminal record can prevent them from driving, being gainfully employed or otherwise re-entering society after they have served their time.
For individuals who are facing harsh or excessive charges, it is essential to have a skilled criminal defense attorney serving the Marietta community who knows when to employ effective defense strategies to reduce or even dismiss charges.
The types of drug crimes
Both federal and state laws cover a number of drug crimes that can carry severe penalties for the possession, manufacturing or trafficking of controlled substances:
- Drug possession can include simple possession or possession with intent to distribute.
- Manufacturing and delivery involve any step in the production and delivery of an illegal drug, and conviction hinges on intent to manufacture.
- Drug trafficking includes the sale, transportation and import of controlled substances, as well as possession with intent to sell. This includes the sale of paraphernalia which can be used to inhale, inject or prepare illegal drugs, such as bongs, pipes, rolling papers and syringes.
- Drug dealing refers to the sale of drugs on a smaller scale than trafficking, and both are defined by state law
In general, federal drug crimes result in longer prison terms, higher fines and mainly focus on trafficking. State laws usually criminalize possession of illegal substances.
Drug charges in Georgia
In Georgia, most drug possession charges are felonies. A first offense for drug possession will result in a six-month driver’s license suspension. Possession can be either actual or possessive, in which the drug can be on your person or inside your home or vehicle. Possession of less than an ounce of marijuana is a misdemeanor that can include $1,000 in fines and one year in prison. Possession can turn into charges of intent to sell if there is a greater volume of the drug. Prescription drugs are also considered controlled substances, and possession of someone else’s prescription can also result in possession charges.