There are basically three different classifications of drug charges in Georgia: possession of drugs, possession with intent to distribute, and drug trafficking. Each of these crimes has different subcategories depending on the type of drug and the specific intentions of the accused. In this blog post, we'll break down these three types of drug charges and the penalties that go along with them.
Possession of Drugs
The first type of drug charge is mere possession of a drug. This is where the government determines that you possess a controlled substance. One common misconception with this charge is that the drugs actually have to be on your person in order to be charged with drug possession. In reality, you can be charged for drug possession in Georgia if the drugs are in proximity to you — this is known as constructive possession.
Possession With Intent to Distribute
The second one is similar to the first, but along with proving that you possessed a drug, the government also must prove you had the intent to distribute it. Distribution may mean selling it or giving it to another person. If the government determines that you did distribute drugs, then it would fall into drug trafficking, the final category.
Drug trafficking is more commonly associated with selling or giving away drugs to other people. However, in Georgia, all the government has to prove for trafficking cases is that you possessed over a certain amount. The intent to distribute or the act of distribution doesn't necessarily need to be established. For example, according to GA Code § 16-13-31, “possession of 28 grams or more of cocaine or of any mixture with a purity of 10 percent or more of cocaine” counts as a drug trafficking crime.
What Are the Penalties for Drug Charges in Georgia?
The severity of drug charges in Georgia are mainly based on the schedule of the drug in question. Schedules are a way of categorizing the addictiveness of drugs, with Schedule I drugs having the highest potential for abuse. Some articles in the GA Code get even more specific about the type of drug and amount involved — for example, GA Code § 16-13-31.1 is all about trafficking ecstasy. Drug charges are considered felonies regardless of schedule and usually come with a mandatory minimum prison sentence and a fine.
Of the types of drug crimes, drug trafficking comes with the most severe penalties. Trafficking between 28-200 grams of cocaine comes with at least a 10 year prison sentence and a fine of $200,000. Meanwhile, the crime of possessing a substance with the intent to manufacture a Schedule I or II drug (as outlined in GA Code § 16-13-30.5) comes with a mandatory minimum sentence of one year in prison, a fine of up to $100,000, or both. When charged with these crimes, it's vital to have an experienced attorney on your side like Brett Willis.
Learn More About Drug Charges in Georgia Today — Contact Brett Willis
Law As mentioned, drug crimes are considered felonies in Georgia, and the penalties are severe. The argument of constructive possession means that you could go to jail even if drugs are in your general vicinity, and some drug trafficking crimes could have you paying up to $1 million in fines and going to jail for over two decades.
Needless to say, a drug crime conviction is life-changing. In light of these circumstances, you need a vigorous defender on your side like Brett Willis. Having handled many drug cases since 2005, you can trust his legal expertise to advocate for you to the end. If you have further questions about drug crimes in Georgia or you've been accused of a drug crime, contact us today.