Drug Trafficking Defense Lawyer in Decatur, Georgia Represents Clients in Felony Cases
Trusted Dekalb County firm fights charges of sale, possession and manufacture of controlled substances
Penalties for drug trafficking in Georgia are heavy, often involving several years or even decades in prison and up to $1 million in fines. The law firm of James D. Michael, P.C. in Decatur lodges vigorous defenses in cases involving the illegal possession, delivery, sale or manufacture of illicit substances. People facing serious drug charges in DeKalb County and across Georgia have relied on attorney Jim Michael, who has more than 20 years of courtroom experience.
Experienced lawyer takes on trafficking cases involving narcotics and marijuana
Drug trafficking is a felony offense that carries mandatory minimum penalties. To rise to the level of trafficking, a drug crime must involve a sizable quantity of controlled substances. Georgia Code §16-13-31 sets a different threshold quantity for each type of drug:
- Cocaine and methamphetamine — A quantity weighing at least 28 grams can trigger trafficking charges. For amounts between 28 and 200 grams, a conviction carries a mandatory 10 year prison sentence. The penalty increases to 15 years for between 200 and 400 grams and to 25 years for more than 400 grams. For cocaine, these weight-based mandatory sentences only apply when the substance is at least 10 percent pure. However, larger amounts of a less pure substance can also result in trafficking charges.
- Opioids and heroin — The trafficking statute applies for quantities of at least four grams of morphine, opium or their derivatives, including heroin. Minimum prison terms are five years for amounts between four and 14 grams, 10 years for between 14 and 28 grams and 25 years for 28 grams or more.
- Marijuana — More than 10 pounds of marijuana must be involved in order for the crime to be prosecuted as trafficking. Minimum prison terms are five years for 10 to 2,000 pounds, seven years for between 2,000 and 10,000 pounds and 15 years for 10,000 pounds or more.
Though a judge may give a reduced sentence to an offender who provides substantial assistance in a drug trafficking investigation, there is otherwise not much room for leniency, even for first-time offenders. That makes it all the more critical to have a strong advocate head up your defense as soon as possible after an arrest.
Dedicated lawyer develops thorough defenses to drug trafficking charges
An effective defense to drug trafficking charge starts with examining the circumstances in which the drugs were discovered. If they were found in your home or another place where the law recognizes a reasonable expectation of privacy, the police needed to have a warrant based on probable cause. If they did not, and you did not give them permission to search, any evidence discovered may be invalid in court. Jim Michael is experienced in filing pretrial motions to suppress evidence and statements obtained in violation of the defendant’s constitutional rights.
Even if a search and seizure was conducted legally, other defenses can be used to fight drug trafficking charges, including lack of ownership of the substance, lack of knowledge, legal intent and acting under force or duress. Jim works meticulously to develop each defense, using all available evidence to weaken the government’s case. Where appropriate, Jim skillfully negotiates with prosecutors for plea bargains that achieve sizable sentence reductions.
Contact an accomplished Georgia drug trafficking defense lawyer to schedule a consultation
James D. Michael, P.C. in Decatur focuses solely on Georgia criminal defense and is experienced in opposing charges of drug trafficking. If you are accused of a drug crime in DeKalb County or the surrounding area, call 404-857-4059 or contact Jim online.