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Prosecutors in Atlanta will take drug-related crimes seriously. Even minor drug charges, including possession of marijuana, can lead to severe consequences. For immigrants, drug crimes may lead to deportation.

No one should take criminal charges lightly, as the impact of a conviction will last well into the future. An Atlanta drug lawyer can help you build your defense.  Call today to discuss your case with an experienced defense attorney in Georgia.

Drug Schedules in Georgia

Not all drugs are considered equal for the purposes of drug-related criminal charges in Georgia. The law divides drugs into five schedules, with less severe substances falling into Schedule V and the most severe substances categorized as Schedule I. Schedule I drugs include those not used in medicine and that carry a high risk of abuse.

Heroin, Ecstasy, and LSD are Schedule I substances. While small amounts of medical marijuana are legal in Georgia, Marijuana is still a Schedule I substance. Schedule V drugs include medications that carry only a low risk of abuse.

The legal penalties are worse for individuals caught possessing or selling drugs that the law views as more dangerous. There are certain exceptions for marijuana, and a drug attorney in Atlanta can help explain the penalties as they apply to each case.

Penalties for Drug Possession

Possessing Schedule I or II drugs can result in anywhere from two to fifteen years in prison for a first-time offender. The penalties increase for individuals with multiple convictions on their records. A person convicted two or more times may face a prison term ranging from five to 30 years.

The sentencing is less severe when a person illegally possesses Schedule III, IV, or V substances. A penalty in first-time offenses for these drugs will range between one and five years in prison, while subsequent convictions result in between one and ten years.

Drug crimes may also be crimes of moral turpitude, meaning that they are deportable offenses for non-citizens. Between the immigration risks and the potential sentencing of up to ten years in prison, it will be vital for suspects to seek counsel from an experienced criminal defense lawyer.

Other Drug Crimes in Georgia

While the sentences for possession are steep, charges for other more serious drug crimes may lead to even harsher consequences. Trafficking Schedule I or II drugs can lead to a 30-year prison sentence. Trafficking drugs that fall into other Schedules can still lead to ten years in prison.

Charges for drug trafficking may follow when police find large amounts of a drug. Sometimes determining the actual quantity of certain substances is a challenge because of the purity of a drug or the means of transportation and storage. Given how much is at stake in these cases, it will be essential to find an Atlanta criminal defense lawyer who understands how to defend against these allegations.

Defending Against Drug-Related Charges

The best defense for a drug-related crime will vary depending on the facts. The following are common defense strategies:

  • The drugs do not belong to the defendant, or someone planted them
  • The drugs serve a medicinal purpose
  • The police engaged in an illegal search or seizure to collect their evidence
  • The State lacks the evidence necessary to convict
  • Entrapment
  • Lack of intent to distribute

Sometimes a strong defense will lead to the prosecutor dropping all charges. Other times the best move will be to work to reduce the charges. Some defendants may have the opportunity to enter drug court, which may involve addiction treatments and the ability to get the State to drop the charges.

Drug court is only an option for individuals who meet specific criteria, and no one with previous violent crimes will qualify. An Atlanta criminal defense lawyer will review the facts to tailor a strategy that works for people.

Hiring an Atlanta Drug Attorney

Drug crimes can lead to long sentences and other legal penalties. If you are struggling with drug-related charges, there may be available defenses. It is important for immigrants to find a lawyer who understands the unique implications of drug crimes for non-citizens.

An Atlanta drug lawyer can work with you to protect your rights and seek a positive outcome in your case. Calling an attorney is the best way to safeguard your future.

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