Drug addiction is a serious social concern, with more people overdosing on narcotic prescription drugs and heroin than ever before in recent years. In order to combat addiction, Georgia has maintained very strict laws about the possession of prohibited drugs and controlled substances.
People who get caught in possession of prescription drugs that aren't prescribed to them, such as opioid painkillers, or banned substances, like methamphetamine, will typically face serious criminal consequence.
While addiction may be a health issue that has ramifications for the public, it gets treated like a criminal issue by law enforcement, the courts and lawmakers around the state. Anyone potentially facing criminal charges related to drug possession should inform themselves about the potential consequences of those charges.
Law enforcement and the courts will take possession offenses seriously
Unless you intend to sell the drugs or give them to someone else, drug possession is typically a victimless crime. Unlike assault or murder, which negatively affects other people, drug possession and use usually only directly harms the person using the drugs.
Given that your substance abuse does not affect other people, you might imagine that the criminal consequences are not that serious. In reality, most of the time, drug possession on its own is a felony offense. There are some exceptions for possessions of small amounts of marijuana.
Possession of any other Schedule I or Schedule II banned substance, from LSD to heroin, will result in felony criminal charges in the state of Georgia. Those criminal charges can haunt you for the rest of your life unless you successfully defend against them.
What are the potential penalties for a felony possession charge?
The exact consequences you will face as a result of drug possession will depend on a number of factors. First of all, the overall weight of the drugs found in your possession will have an impact on the severity of the penalties assessed in your situation. The greater the overall weight of the drugs, the higher the sentence you will face.
Your previous criminal history will also have a direct impact on the proceedings. If you have multiple previous criminal convictions or guilty pleas, the court will be more likely to apply harsher penalties to your case. Repeat offenders may face the maximum possible penalty for possession, which is actually quite steep.
Those accused of possession of Schedule I or II drugs will face between two and 15 years in prison for a first offense. Anyone convicted of a second or subsequent possession charge could face as much as 30 years in prison. Those charged with possession of Schedule III, IV or V drugs could face between one and five years in prison for a first offense and between one and 10 years in jail for any subsequent convictions.