The Georgia Controlled Substances Act criminalizes the possession and distribution of illegal controlled substances or drugs. This law categorizes controlled substances into five different categories depending on how dangerous the substances are and whether they have any medicinal value. The severity of the penalties for violating this law depends on the type and amount of drugs allegedly possessed by the defendant.
Conviction of a drug crime in Georgia can result in serious, long-lasting consequences. If you or your loved one have been charged with a drug crime under the Georgia Controlled Substances Act, it’s important that you speak to an experienced criminal defense lawyer. At Carter/Pilgrim, our Atlanta defense lawyers have successfully represented defendants throughout the greater Atlanta area in drug crimes cases. We use our experience and an in-depth understanding of the Georgia Controlled Substances Act to develop winning legal defense strategies and protect our clients’ rights. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation.
Violations of the Georgia Controlled Substances Act
The Georgia Controlled Substances Act regulates all drug crimes ranging from simple possession of marijuana to manufacturing and drug trafficking charges. When prosecutors bring charges for drug possession or distribution, they will include a separate charge for possession of a drug-related object. The definition of drug-related objects includes machines, tools, equipment, tools, contrivances, or devices that the average person would reasonably conclude are intended to be used for one or more of the following:
- To introduce an illegal controlled substance or a dangerous drug into the human body
- To test the effectiveness, purity, or strength of any controlled substance or dangerous illegal drug
- To conceal a quantity of a controlled substance or a dangerous illegal drug
- To enhance the effect of an illegal controlled substance or a dangerous drug on the human body
Drug Possession in the Georgia Controlled Substances Act
The Georgia Controlled Substances Act also makes it a crime to purchase, possess, or control controlled substances. Possession of a controlled substance includes having a controlled substance on one’s person and controlling a controlled substance. As a result, prosecutors can charge defendants for drug possession even when they discover drugs in a shared apartment, not on the defendant’s body.
Manufacturing, Distributing, or Trafficking Drugs in the Georgia Controlled Substances Act
Finally, the Georgia Controlled Substances Act makes it illegal to manufacture, deliver, distribute, dispensed, administer, sell, or possess controlled substances with the intent to distribute the controlled substances. The penalties for these crimes are more severe than the penalties for drug possession. Sometimes defendants are surprised to learn that they’ve been charged with the crime of drug distribution when they never intended to distribute any drugs. The Georgia Controlled Substances Act does not require prosecutors to prove intent to distribute drugs. Instead, defendants face drug trafficking charges simply because they possess large quantities of a controlled substance.
Schedule I Controlled Substances
The penalties associated with Georgia drug crimes depend on which type of drug the defendant allegedly possessed. The Georgia Controlled Substances Act divides controlled substances into five different categories.
Schedule I drugs are the most highly addictive and dangerous drugs. They also are the least likely drugs to be used for legitimate medicinal purposes. Accordingly, the penalties for drug crimes involving Schedule I drugs are the most severe. A first-time conviction for possession of a Schedule I drug carries a penalty of between two and 15 years in jail. Defendants convicted for the second time of possession of a Schedule I drug face a jail sentence between 5 and 30 years. Schedule I drugs include:
Schedule II Controlled Substances
Schedule II drugs are not considered to be as dangerous as Schedule I drugs. A first-time conviction for possession of a Schedule II drug carries a two to a 15-year jail sentence. Second convictions result in a five to a 30-year jail sentence. Schedule II controlled substances include:
- Cocaine and crack cocaine
Schedule III Controlled Substances
Schedule III controlled substances can serve some medicinal purposes, but they are also addictive and dangerous. First-time offenders face jail sentences of between one and five years. A second conviction carries a penalty of between one and ten years in jail. Schedule III controlled substances include:
- Other steroids
Schedule IV Controlled Substances
Schedule IV controlled substances carry some danger and risk of addiction, but they can be used for medicinal purposes. The penalty for a first-time conviction of possession of a Schedule IV drug other than Flunitrazepam is between one and five years in jail. Defendants convicted of possession of Flunitrazepam face a sentence of between one and ten years in prison. A second conviction of a Schedule IV controlled substance carries a sentence between five and 30 years in prison. Schedule IV drugs include:
Schedule V Controlled Substances
Schedule V controlled substances are the least addictive. Doctors can legally prescribe Schedule V controlled substances. Thus, the penalties associated with the possession of Schedule V controlled substances are the least severe under the Georgia Controlled Substance Act. Possession of a Schedule V drug carries a jail sentence between one and five years for first-time offenders. A second conviction of possession of controlled substances carries a jail sentence of between one and ten years in prison. Schedule V drugs include:
- Medications with a small amount of codeine or other specified narcotic drugs
Contact an Atlanta Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you’re facing criminal charges under the Georgia Controlled Substances Act, the law firm of Carter/Pilgrim can help. We will conduct a thorough investigation, find any flaws in the prosecution’s case, and use them to deliver an effective defense. Contact our Atlanta criminal defense law firm today to schedule your initial consultation.