Drug Possession in Atlanta & Georgia
By: Cory Yager, Ex-Cop and Award-Winning Criminal Defense Lawyer Atlanta
In the state of Georgia, prison sentences of 15 years are not uncommon, where the drug crime involved drug trafficking charges. This includes courts in metro Atlanta, but also the suburban counties like Douglas County, Forsyth County and Henry County hammer people involved with distribution or trafficking, if convicted. This is especially true for the highly publicized drugs with a high potential for abuse like PCP, crystal meth, oxycodone, heroin, or crack cocaine (Schedule I Drugs).
Understand that even a first offense drug trafficking charge can take away your freedom and can create a felony criminal record. With any subsequent offense, especially if already on probation or parole, your only need to speak with the best criminal defense attorneys near me.How Federal and State Drug Crimes Start
Through some contact with law enforcement, our clients have been found to be possessing illegal drugs in Georgia. Drug crimes under federal law are far less common than violations of state laws proscribed by the Georgia Controlled Substances Act.
An example of “contact with police” includes citizen to citizen encounters, where a police officer conducts a knock and talk. This entails an officer (without a warrant but working on a “tip”) knocking on an individual’s door. If that door is opened, the law officer will try to gain consent to enter “to talk.”
Various Stages of Police Encounters: Terry v. Ohio
The first thing someone should know about the legal process of a drug possession charge in Georgia is that the accused citizen has the right to refuse being searched. A person has the right to not consent to a search of their vehicle, house, or business unless and until the officer has obtained a warrant or has gathered enough probable cause of a crime being committed. The landmark case from the United States Supreme Court from half a decade ago called Terry v. Ohio “frames” the laws.
The second type of encounter is called a “tier two” encounter, which is a police investigatory detention such as a traffic stop. During a traffic stop, a police officer might smell or see evidence of an illegal drug or substance that results in adding a drug charge to the less serious traffic ticket.
The third type of encounter, called a “tier three” search, is when a police officer has probable cause to believe that illegal drugs are present, and requests a warrant. The written TERMS of that warrant and its “scope” must authorize officers to execute the search, within the areas covered by the judge’s warrant.How Criminal Attorneys Fight Georgia Drug Possession Laws
Clients that do not have a good understanding of their legal rights are the ones who police can easily dupe into self-incrimination. Start by understanding that police who LACK a warrant cannot enter your dwelling without probable cause – or your permission. CAUTION: The ODOR of marijuana wafting out the door will authorize police to barge right into your house.
Be aware that an officer may walk up and speak to a citizen without having an articulable reasonable suspicion to do so. All that he or she is entitled to know is YOUR NAME and YOUR ADDRESS. Any other questions should not be answered.
In many of our law firm’s cases, our criminal lawyers’ FIRST legal issue is to challenge the legality of the officer’s contact with you, under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and the Georgia Constitutions protections. The best drug lawyers in Georgia know that winning a pre-trial suppression motion is worth its weight in GOLD, since no trial can go forward if an illegal search and seizure is declared to have taken place by the presiding Judge.
Constitutional and Statutory Protections Asserted by Your Criminal Law Attorney
No 4th Amendment violation occurs if you talk yourself into an arrest, or (at your apartment or home) PERMIT access. Once inside, that officer is visually scanning the room, looking for evidence of a drug crime “in plain view.” By gaining consent to enter, you have let “the fox in the hen house.” Seeing a blunt in an ashtray may be all he or she needs to broaden the search, right after he or she has put you in handcuffs for drug possession.
If you have been charged with a crime of possessing drugs in Georgia, our criminal lawyers will be asking not only about the arrest circumstances but learning if this involves Schedule II drugs, or less dangerous, prescribed Schedule III or IV drugs. It is pertinent that you consult with experienced attorneys near me immediately.
A knowledgeable lawyer will be able to help you navigate through the Georgia drug arrest process and mount a case to help lessen any penalties associated with your charge. How can you pass up a FREE lawyer consultation near me, with attorneys who travel statewide in Georgia?
Act NOW and CALL US: (404) 567-5515
- Trained in police courses to know the field sobriety tests BETTER than your arresting officer
- Knowledgeable, award-winning legal professionals
- Over 73 years of combined legal experience handling criminal matters
- Immediate response to our clients facing drug distribution charges or trafficking charges
- Updates and full information during all phases of criminal court processes
- Answers to all client questions as they arise, including issues like the typical drug trafficking sentence in your court
- Clear explanation of the processes and likelihood of success in each case
- Advice on all possible negotiated plea or accountability court scenarios related to individual cases
Helpful Links About Our Award-Winning Georgia Criminal Justice Attorneys
William C (Bubba) Head named 16 straight years to Super Lawyers and criminal defense attorney Atlanta GA for 43 years
Super Lawyers Rising Star Cory Yager, who was trained at the National Computer Forensics Academy, when he was a law enforcement officer
Atlanta Super Lawyer Larry Kohn, handling exclusively criminal defense law for over two decades
Georgia drug laws prohibit possessing drugs that are not lawfully prescribed. Violating this law can bring about serious consequences that can have an impact on an individual’s personal and professional lives for years in the future.
To avoid such harsh penalties, an individual should be sure to contact a Georgia drug possession lawyer as soon as they are accused. An experienced drug attorney will be able to mount a defense to help lessen or dismiss any consequences associated with the charge.Types of Possession
There are many different types of possession charges in Georgia. There is simple possession, which is when one person or a group of people possess the drug for personal consumption. Then there is possession with intent to distribute, which could be selling drugs or giving drugs out to people. Possession with intent to distribute largely depends upon the quantity, how things are packaged, and whether they are bagged individually.
Oftentimes, the police officers look at the other substances found near the drugs such as scales, cash, and logbooks to determine whether people are selling and who they are selling to.
If charged with either type of possession, it is important to consult with a knowledgeable drug possession attorney in Georgia who can assist in minimizing these potential charges. While possession with intent to distribute is a much more severe charge overall, simple possession can still carry a number of penalties that have the potential to negatively impact the life of those convicted.Severity of the Charge
When someone possesses drugs without a prescription, they are subject to being charged with illegal possession of drugs. Possession of marijuana is a misdemeanor. Possession of any other type of drug is a felony. There is a separate misdemeanor offense for keeping lawfully prescribed drugs not in their original container.
Any drug other than that which has a prescription is illegal to possess. A drug is defined as medicine or any other substance that has a physiological effect when ingested or otherwise introduced into the body. Anything other than marijuana in Georgia is considered a felony. The penalties also go by schedules, I, II, III, and IV. The penalties are listed under O.C.G.A. § 16-13-30and are all serious enough that anyone charged should consult with a Georgia drug possession lawyer.Contacting a Lawyer
It is important for anyone facing such a charge to consult with an attorney as soon as possible. There are many things an individual may not know about their charge. For example, an individual has the right to not consent to a search. However, once the officer smells raw marijuana or burnt marijuana in the car, that gives them probable cause to search the vehicle.
An experienced Georgia drug possession lawyer can aid an individual in understanding the specifics of their charge, and build a case to help alleviate some of the penalties associated with the allegation.