Georgia Drug Possession Laws
Drug addiction is a serious social concern, with more people overdosing on narcotic prescription drugs and heroin than ever before in recent years. In order to combat addiction, Georgia has maintained very strict laws about the possession of prohibited drugs and controlled substances.
People who get caught in possession of prescription drugs that aren't prescribed to them, such as opioid painkillers, or banned substances, like methamphetamine, will typically face serious criminal consequences. The serious criminal consequences in drug felony charges in Georgia may result in time in prison depending on the classification of scheduled drugs, anywhere from 1-15 years.
First Time Offense of Possession in Georgia
According to the Georgia First Offender Act, first-time offenders can avoid getting a conviction on their record if they complete certain conditions. However, not every charge qualifies for first offender status. The first offender program is not available to those who have been charged with a felony, a serious sexual offense, or a DUI.
There will be probation, fees, program completion, and possible jail time included in the Georgia First Offender Program.
All of the program's conditions must be met, and the participant must not commit any new crimes while participating in the program for it to be sealed.
It is not automatic to get into the Georgia First Offender Program. To get into the program, you will need a criminal defense attorney in Georgia. The prosecutor will determine whether you are eligible for the program after your attorney informs the court that you are willing to participate. At the end of the day, the judge has the discretion to allow the accused to participate in the first offender program.
First Offense Felony Drug Possession in Georgia
Felony Drug charges are serious crimes in Georgia, under State and Federal Criminal Laws these felonies may result in prison sentences along with serious prison fines.
For a first offense of a felony drug charge, those accused of possession of:
Schedule I or II drugs will face between 2 and 15 years in prison. Anyone convicted of a second or subsequent possession charge could face as much as 30 years in prison.
Those charged with possession of Schedule III, IV or V drugs as a first offense could face between 1 and 5 years in prison and between 1 and 10 years in jail for any subsequent convictions.
What are the Penalties for Felony Possession Charges?
The exact consequences you will face as a result of drug possession will depend on a number of factors:
- First, the overall weight of the drugs found in your possession will have an impact on the severity of the penalties assessed in your situation. The greater the overall weight of the drugs, the higher the sentence you will face.
- Second, your previous criminal history will also have a direct impact on the proceedings. If you have multiple previous criminal convictions or guilty pleas, the court will be more likely to apply harsher penalties to your case. Repeat offenders may face the maximum possible penalty for possession, which is actually quite steep.
Law Enforcement and the Courts Will Take Possession Offenses Seriously
Unless you intend to sell the drugs or give them to someone else, drug possession is typically a victimless crime. Unlike assault or murder, which negatively affects other people, drug possession and use usually only directly harm the person using the drugs.
Given that your substance abuse does not affect other people, you might imagine that the criminal consequences are not that serious. In reality, most of the time, drug possession on its own is a felony offense. There are some exceptions for possessions of small amounts of marijuana.
Possession of any other Schedule I or Schedule II banned the substance, from LSD to heroin, will result in felony criminal charges in the state of Georgia.