In the State of Georgia, the Controlled Substances Act, also known as the CSA, enacted into law in 1970 is the Federal drug possession policy that continues to regulate the manufacture, importation, possession, use and distribution of specific drugs which are used both legally and illegally. The State of Georgia views illegal drug use in a hard light. Drug possession of even a small amount of an illegal drug or the possession of drug related paraphernalia even without the actual drug may result in you receiving the mandatory minimum sentence for Georgia drug possession. In addition to jail time and substantial fines, the Georgia Court will also label those convicted of illegal drug use as a convicted felon.
Georgia Drug Possession Conviction Penalties are Severe
In the State of Georgia the penalty or sentencing for conviction of drug possession varies on the class or schedule of the illegal drug, the amount of illegal drug you have in your possession and your intention to use or sell; The charge of “intent to sell or distribute” is dealt with severely by the Georgia Court system and directly relates to the amount of drug you are found to be in possession of. In addition, the penalty is based on whether this is your first, second or third offence for drug possession, with fines and jail time rising steeply from first to third infraction and conviction. The handling of Georgia drug possession convictions is often complex and requires the experience and skill of a Georgia drug possession attorney.
Conviction for Georgia drug possession is delivered with a mandatory minimum sentence. This means that the court in not allowed to sentence you to serve less time than the set mandatory minimum and you are not allowed to receive an early parole until after the minimum sentence in jail has been served for drug possession. The Georgia Drugs and Narcotics Agency (GDNA), provides the court with set Georgia drug possession guidelines to assist the court in determining what the mandatory minimum punishment would be. For example, sentencing for drug possession of marijuana could result in either a misdemeanor or felony charge with jail time ranging from 1-year to 10-years of jail time, even if this is a first offense.
Georgia Criminal Code and Drug Possession Sentencing
Conviction sentencing in Georgia follows the Georgia Criminal Code and is often severe. For example, in Georgia, the conviction for drug possession of marijuana can carry jail time sentencing of up to 10 years. Schedule I and II drugs such as heroin, LSD, ecstasy, cocaine, oxycodone or meth-amphetamines carry jail time sentencing of up to 30-years for a second offense. The Georgia Criminal Code describes the 5-schedules of controlled substances with these schedules listing the drugs, Schedule I through V, as they relate to the level of addiction and the degree of abuse. The majority of Georgia felony drug possession charges fall into the Schedule I and Schedule II categories, although abuse, sale and illegal distribution of all scheduled drugs can bring a conviction under Georgia law.
What Medications are Scheduled Drugs?
Many medications are listed as a Schedule I through Schedule V drug. Scheduled medications are tracked for distribution and abuse and require the physician to write a prescription in a specific manner in order for a pharmacy to fill the order. Any inconsistencies or improperly written prescriptions for Schedule medications will cause a Pharmacist to either hold the prescription, call the physician’s office for clarification, refuse to fill the prescription as ordered, or even report the suspicious prescription to the authorities. The drugs listed for each of the 5-Schedules follow:
- Schedule I includes drugs such as Heroin, LSD, MDMA and Ecstasy. These drugs have a high potential for abuse and have no proven or acceptable medical use. Schedule I drugs may be used in authorized research only.
- Schedule II drugs such as opiates, cocaine, methadone, and meperidine, have a high potential for abuse. These are narcotic drugs with currently accepted medical treatment for very specific diagnoses and treatment regimens. Schedule II-N drugs include non-narcotic drugs such as amphetamines, phenmetrazine, methylphenidate and short-acting barbiturates which all have a high potential for abuse.
- Schedule III drugs include narcotics which are combined with other non-narcotic drugs, such as codeine combined with acetaminophen or aspirin, phenacetin, and caffeine; these are controlled substances which are often abused. Schedule III-N drugs include central nervous system depressants such as glutethimide, methyprylon, and barbiturates that are not listed in other schedules. This Schedule also includes anorectant agents not included in other schedules. They are often used in medical treatment under close observation and follow-up and for specific diagnoses and treatment protocol.
- Schedule IV while similar to Schedule III medications have less of a potential for abuse in the community. These drugs include narcotics in combination with other non-narcotic drugs such as antidiarrheals, mild CNS (central nervous system) depressants, mild CNS stimulants, and tranquilizers. Other drugs such as phenobarbital, diazepam, meprobamate and chloral hydrate are also in this group.
- Schedule V medications include certain narcotics that are mixed with other agents for prescription use. Schedule V drugs include narcotic cough syrups and ephedrine, pseudoephedrine and phenylpropanolamine products. These medications are controlled substances with a lowered potential for abuse, however there is a growing trend in Georgia and around the country for abuse of narcotic cough syrups and other similar products.
Douglasville Georgia Drug Possession Attorney
Under Georgia law you need a proven expert Douglasville drug possession defense attorney to head up your case. The Court system takes a hard stand with severe penalties whether this is your first, second or third conviction. Retaining experienced legal counsel will assure you the best opportunity to reduce or remove drug possession charges, receive a conditional discharge without a conviction or guilty plea on your record, or be placed on probation instead of serving jail time. Having a felony conviction on your record will affect your job, the privilege of holding a driver’s license, your ability to receive financial aid for education, your ability to buy a home, your standing in the community, and your relationship with family and friends.
Choosing the right Georgia drug possession lawyer is critical to explore all options and protect your constitutional rights while working to avoid a criminal conviction for drug possession. You have only one opportunity before the Georgia Court system to avoid criminal charges and present a challenge to the State’s evidence against you – Call to Miller & Hightower your Douglasville drug possession defense attorneys today. A free confidential consultation visit is the first important step to take in developing a winning Georgia drug possession defense specific to your case and situation.