Drugs are found everywhere in our society, and while most are illegal, some are considered a less serious offense when found in possession of someone being arrested.
Any substances that are deemed controlled substances by the federal government, and listed in the DEA’s Scheduled Substances list, are also illegal under Georgia state law (The Georgia Controlled Substances Act).
Many illegal drugs are considered misdemeanor offenses; however, some are considered more serious and are designated felonies. Being convicted of a misdemeanor possession offense will come with much more lenient penalties than a felony, as well as lower potential fines.
From our team of Marietta drug crime defense lawyers at the Frye Law Group, here’s what you need to know about controlled substance offenses in Georgia.
Drug Schedules in Georgia
According to scientific research and medical use, all legally restricted substances are divided into groups called schedules.
There are 5 of these lists, though in most situations the drugs are considered Schedule I, Schedule II, or Schedule III or lower.
- Schedule I
Schedule I is the category that contains the most dangerous drugs of all. Those with the highest potential for abuse and extremely limited, or non-existent medical use. This schedule includes drugs like heroin and ecstasy.
- Schedule II
Schedule II drugs also have a relatively high potential for addiction, but they are also recognized as having much more medical potential than drugs in Schedule 1. Drugs in this category include pharmaceutical amphetamines and even cocaine.
- Schedule III/IV/V
All other drugs in schedules less restrictive than II are considered to have a much lower potential for addiction, and that can be medically used with few complications or other restrictions. Drugs like cough syrups, muscle relaxers, and some steroids are in these categories.
Felony Possession Of Controlled Substance Charges
Anytime someone is charged with possession of a controlled Schedule I or Schedule II substance in the state of Georgia, the charge will be a felony.
Schedule I & II drugs are frequently seen as the most dangerous and potentially harmful drugs and are treated and sentenced the harshest.
Penalties for possession of a controlled substance will vary depending on the amount of the drug, as well as what drug it was, as well as what scheduling restrictions it was subject to.
Here are the penalties for most drug charges in Georgia:
- Possession of a Schedule I controlled substance, or a narcotic Schedule II substance, is subject to the most severe penalties. Less than a single gram of solids, or one milliliter of liquid, are punishable by up to 3 years imprisonment, up to 4 grams faces imprisonment of up to 8 years, continuing to increase as the amount escalates.
- If the substance happened to be a non-narcotic substance on Schedule II, it can still result in spending years behind bars if convicted. Two grams or less of a solid or less than two milliliters can earn up to 3 years in jail, and four grams can cost the defendant 8 years if convicted.
- Any possession of restricted substances belonging to Schedule III, IV, or V will also result in imprisonment. The jail time that comes with lower scheduled substances ranges from 1 year to 10 years.
- If the controlled substance is marijuana, less than one ounce is a misdemeanor, while over an ounce is a felony, a felony conviction can carry up to 10 years in prison and $5,000 in fines.
Work With Experienced Legal Help For Your Best Defense
In the state of Georgia, first-time drug offenders may be able to work with an attorney to have the charges discharged entirely if they have no prior drug convictions. Even if you have prior convictions, an experienced, local criminal defense attorney can advocate to help protect your rights and freedom. Contact our Marietta-based team at the Frye Law Group today to schedule a consultation.