What are the typical penalties for drug offenses in Georgia?

On Behalf of | Aug 9, 2023 | Drug Crimes

It is against the law to possess, cultivate, manufacture or distribute numerous substances in Georgia. There are some substances that are so dangerous that medical professionals and state authorities do not recognize any medical use for them. These substances are generally classified as Schedule I drugs because they pose a high risk of abuse or addiction and have no proven medical benefit.

Schedule II substances include drugs like narcotic pain relievers that have known medical purposes but are still dangerous to the public because of the likelihood of addiction or major side effects. Schedules with higher numbers tend to have more affirmed medical uses and less risk. Yet, any drug listed on the state’s controlled substances schedule potentially carries penalties if someone gets arrested for having it in their possession, manufacturing it or attempting to transfer it to another person without a valid prescription. What kind of penalties do drug charges in Georgia typically risk?

There are a range of possible criminal consequences

The state provides specific penalties for different categories of drug offenses. The exact charges that someone will face will depend on both the schedule of the substances allegedly involved and the total weight of those substances. Lower-schedule numbers and higher weights tend to lead to more serious penalties and charges.

If the drug involved is a Schedule I or Schedule II substance, people will usually face felony charges just for possession. The penalties will range from between two and thirty years in prison. Those accused of possession of Schedule III, IV or V substances will also face felony charges, but the possible period of incarceration changes to anywhere from one to five years in state custody. The state can also sentence individuals to probation and assess sizable fines for drug charges.

How do people avoid those penalties?

The most effective means of eliminating criminal consequences for a drug offense involves defending successfully against criminal charges. Those that partner with criminal defense attorneys can sometimes prove that they were not the ones who engaged in misconduct with prohibited or controlled substances. Other times, some individuals may qualify for adjudication in the drug courts. There is an entirely different set of requirements and consequences involved in drug court proceedings, but those who successfully complete the process can avoid standard criminal penalties.

Learning more about how Georgia handles drug offenses may benefit those accused of violating state laws to make more informed choices about crafting their defense.