A drug offense in Georgia is serious, as laws are strict. Penalties can involve hefty fines and a prison sentence. In most cases, first-time offenders are treated more leniently than repeat drug offenders, but penalties will depend on many factors.
How Georgia Defines Drug Possession
Georgia law says that you are in “possession” anytime you knowingly control and handle a drug. Drug possession, except for marijuana possession, is a felony offense in Georgia.
How Penalties are Determined for First Time Drug Offenders
Penalties are determined based on your criminal history, the overall weight of the drugs in your possession, and the type of drug. The court would be inclined to apply harsher penalties if you have prior criminal convictions, you had a large number of drugs in your possession, or the drugs you are in possession of are Schedule I or II drugs.
DEA drug schedules are a critical component of any drug possession charge. Every drug is placed into one of the following schedules.
- Schedule I drugs have no medical use and are considered to have a high risk of abuse. Examples are cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, crank, crack, and ecstasy.
- Schedule II drugs have a high rate of dependence and abuse but have medical use and must be prescribed by a Doctor. Examples are Opiates, Methadone, and Adderall.
- Schedule III drugs pose a lower risk of abuse and misuse than Schedule I or II drugs, have a specific medical use and must be prescribed by a Doctor. An example is a codeine with Tylenol.
- Schedule IV drugs are low-risk for abuse and dependence, but can still cause problems for someone if they become addicted. Examples include Valium, Xanax, Tramadol, and Darvon.
- Schedule V drugs have minimal amounts of narcotics in their chemical makeup. Examples are drugs like Lyrica and Robitussin AC.
- If you are convicted of Schedule I or II drug possession, you could face between 2-15 years in prison.
- If you are convicted of Schedule II, IV, or V drug possession, you could face between 1-5 years in prison.
If you have not ever been convicted of a drug possession related crime, the court may impose a probation period without a finding of guilt as long as you enroll in a drug treatment program. If you complete probation, the court will dismiss all charges, and no conviction will show on your record.
A drug possession charge could follow you for the rest of your life. It can affect your driving privileges, the schools you attend, and your employment opportunities.
Tyler Moffitt is a Family Law and Criminal Defense Attorney who practices Carrollton, LaGrange, and Columbus, GA. He graduated from John Marshall Law School, and has been practicing for several years now. Tyler Moffitt takes great honor in defending the accused. Learn more about his experience by clicking here.