Georgia law imposes steep jail terms for drug crimes. If you have been charged with a drug-related offense, your personal freedom is at stake. A Fulton County drug attorney can help you navigate the complicated framework of penalties for various drug crimes, and vigorously defend you in court. To learn more or begin building a defense for your case, consult with a criminal lawyer in Fulton County today.

Drug Crimes Classification

It is Illegal to purchase, possess, manufacture, or distribute illegal drugs in Georgia, or controlled substances, as they are known. Controlled substances are divided into different categories based on factors including:

  • The drug’s potential for abuse
  • Whether there is an accepted medical use for the drug
  • Whether the abuse of the drug may lead to severe addiction, physically, or psychologically

Schedule I drugs have the highest potential for abuse, no accepted medical purpose, and cannot be used safely. Thus, the fines are the steepest.

Schedule II through IV have progressively less severity in terms of potential abuse and addiction. Heroin, for example, is a schedule I controlled substance. Opium, morphine, their derivatives, and similar compounds are Schedule II.

Potential Penalties

If a person is convicted of purchasing or possessing a Schedule I or Schedule II controlled substance, it is a felony.  The jail terms vary depending upon the aggregate weight of the controlled substance.

Less than a gram can result in one to three years in prison, while more than four grams can result in a 15-year sentence. Possession or purchasing Schedule III, IV, or V drugs is subject to a felony conviction and between one and 10 years’ prison time. An experienced Fulton County Drug Lawyer can help an individual lessen or dismiss any potential penalties associated with their charge.


Distribution of a Schedule I or II drug is a felony, and includes a potential prison sentence of between five and 30 years. For a second or subsequent distribution offense, a person can face between 10 and 50 years or life imprisonment.

Distribution of a controlled substance in Schedule III, IV, or V is a felony, and can include a prison sentence of between one and 10 years.

There is an exception, however, for the sentences imposed for morphine, opium, heroin, any controlled salt, isomer, or salt of an isomer.

If an individual manufactures, sells, delivers, or has possession of four or more grams of any of these substances, the individual can face a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of $50,000.

The penalties increase with the quantity of narcotics. Some drug possession of 28 grams or more mandates a minimum of 25 years in prison and a fine of $500,000.

Possession or distribution of marijuana, if not in large quantities, is punishable with a felony sentence of between one and 10 years. A knowledgeable Fulton County drug attorney can help reduce the consequences associated with such a charge.

Benefit of an Attorney

Drug crimes in Georgia are far from clear cut, and should only be tackled with the help of a Fulton County drug lawyer. The exact nature and quantity of a controlled substance, and what you were doing with that substance, can dramatically affect the potential jail term or fine imposed.

What is clear is that jail terms and penalties can be severe, especially if you are facing the charges alone. An attorney can be your advocate, find weaknesses in the State’s case, and fight to reduce the charges and any potential jail time. Contact a lawyer in Fulton County as soon as possible.