Will You Go to Jail for a Possession Charge in Georgia?
The penalties you might face if convicted of possession depend largely on the type of drug in question and the amount in your possession at the time of arrest.
Although many states have begun to legalize or decriminalize the use of recreational marijuana, the state of Georgia can still be quite harsh when it comes to possession of the drug — and even more so with possession of hard drugs.
Possessing up to one ounce of marijuana in Georgia is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and fines of up to $1,000. If you are holding more than one ounce, that is a felony crime requiring incarceration for at least one and up to 10 years. The felony fine can run up to $5,000.
For drugs that are considered to be more dangerous, such as heroin, the possession penalties are more severe. Any possession charge for Schedule I drugs or Schedule II narcotics is a felony, even when only a small amount is involved. A first conviction carries a prison sentence of at least two years, with a maximum15-year term. Repeat offenders face a 30-year maximum.
These larger amounts of possession are more likely to involve additional charges, such as trafficking or manufacturing. In such cases, you could catch the attention of federal law enforcement agencies, leading to federal charges.
Your options after an arrest
Clearly, possession charges can lead to serious consequences in the most severe cases. But even possession of smaller amounts of marijuana could lead to some jail time. Ultimately, your options are to take a plea deal to lessen the penalties, or fight to get the charges dropped completely.
The latter is certainly the more complicated path. Common defense strategies include proving evidence is not admissible in court because of the way it was collected, or arguing that the drugs seized were not yours.
To learn more about the different types of drug crimes in Georgia and how they get prosecuted, contact a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney at the law office of James D. Michael, P.C.