Drug possession charges are actively pursued by law enforcement officers throughout the state. In fact, arrests and drug possession charges take place quite often, especially during night time hours. DUI investigations and drug investigations are two of the most common crimes pursued by law enforcement officers. In either case, it is essential to contact a Georgia drug lawyer as soon as possible after being confronted with the charges. Such an attorney can help you build the strongest defense available, and advise you as to the best course of action each step of the way to mitigate any potential Georgia drug possession penalties you face.Aggravating Factors
Factors that affect Georgia drug possession penalties include:
- The schedule of the drugs involved
- The quantity of the drugs
- The purpose for which the drugs were being kept
It makes a difference whether the substance or substances in question were for personal use, or were specifically intended for sale and distribution. Ultimately, the severity of the Georgia drug possession penalties depends on the type of drugs being possessed and the amount possessed.Impact of a Conviction
A person should know that there are collateral consequences that come along with a drug possession charge. Drug possession cases are often complex and require a skilled lawyer who looks at various constitutional issues to develop legal challenges to the method in which the law enforcement officer conducted the investigation. There are severe penalties for drug possession charges in Georgia, and from the subsequent conviction.
Being convicted of drug possession can affect a person’s life through collateral consequences which include loss of employment, problems finding a new job, and problems with where they live. With these kinds of convictions, a person may be evicted from an apartment complex or from a home where they are not the owner. The drug charges can also have a negative influence on school and work.Alternative Sentencing
There are several programs for first-time offenders that may be available depending on the nature of the drug crime. These include drug court and pre-trial diversion programs, which are informal programs offered by solicitors and district attorneys that require an offender to complete various program requirements in exchange for a dismissal.
There is also the potential for conditional discharge specifically under O.C.G.A. § 16-13-2b. A person may seek a conditional discharge for a first-time drug offense in Georgia when the drug offense is a possession charge.
Finally, under the Georgia First Offender Act, a person who faces a drug charge or felony drug charge may be able to take advantage of the First Offender Act to avoid a felony conviction.How an Attorney can Help
An experienced Georgia drug lawyer will be well versed in the different categories of illegal substances, as well as law enforcement’s approach to charges involving drugs. Knowledge of controlled dangerous substances is important because it allows the attorney to evaluate the case and allows them to be fully informed when negotiating the case with the prosecutors.
In addition, and on a practical level, this knowledge can help the attorney persuade a person accused of this type of crime to get substance abuse counseling that may help break the addiction cycle and allow them to make positive changes in their life.
In the meantime, an attorney will work tirelessly to ensure that all sides of the story are heard, and that they employ the strongest defense available to you in court in order to achieve the best outcome possible to mitigate the severity of Georgia drug possession penalties.