The State of Georgia takes all drug possession offenses very seriously, this includes marijuana. We are sadly well behind the national trends toward marijuana decriminalization and legalization. Maybe we will get there someday!
But for now, if you are up against a marijuana charge and are concerned about the possibility of jail time and other serious consequences, please call our experienced Georiga defense attorneys for a consultation today.
With any marijuana possession conviction, you face a driver’s license suspension. If you can’t afford to be without your license, contact us to find out how we can help.
Possession of Marijuana Laws
You can be charged with possession of marijuana even if you are not “holding” the drugs.
That’s right – if you are “in control” of the marijuana you can be found to be in possession of it. This means that if the drugs are within your reach and a reasonable person would believe you had knowledge of it, you possess it. This could be in the glove compartment, on your coffee table, or under your seat.
First Offense Marijuana Possession Laws (less than 1 ounce)
If this is a first misdemeanor marijuana possession, we can fight for a conditional discharge, or diversion. What this means is the judge will order you to carry out a probation term. If this term is completed successfully, the marijuana charge will be dropped and not reflected on your record.
However, if you violate the probation, your case will be sent to trial and you will potentially face the maximum sentence for a first-time offender.
This probation can include drug counseling, therapy, attendance at meetings, etc.
If you are not granted a conditional discharge or your probation is revoked, the penalties for possession are up to $1,000 in fines and up to 1 year in prison.
Marijuana Possession Penalties – Second and subsequent offenses (less than 1 ounce)
If you are caught with less than 1 ounce for a second, or subsequent time, it is still considered a misdemeanor.
Under Georgia law, you will face up to $1,000 in fines and up to 1 year in prison.
Felony possession of Marijuana (more than one ounce)
If you are caught in possession of marijuana and it weighs more than one ounce, you are facing serious felony charges.
The potential charge for felony possession of marijuana is 1-10 years in prison and more than $1,000 in fines.
Marijuana Possession & Driver’s License Suspensions
Regardless of the amount of marijuana you are convicted of possessing, your driver’s license will be suspended. If you have any previous drug possession convictions, that will increase the length of your driver’s license suspension.
Third and subsequent offense
Minimum suspension term
Georgia driver’s license suspensions are to be taken seriously, and the penalties for driving on a suspended license can be significant, including jail time. See my suspended license penalties page for details.
What if I was caught with Marijuana in a school zone?
Possession charges within a school zone carry much harsher sentences. You can easily be in a school zone without even knowing it. This is true particularly if you were caught with enough marijuana to get you charged with “possession with intent to distribute”:
First Offense: If convicted, you may be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison and up to$20,000 in fines.
Second Offense: If convicted, you may be sentenced to at least 5 years in prison and no more than 40, as well as up to $40,000 in fines.
Is Marijuana Possession in Georgia Strictly Enforced and Harshly Prosecuted?
Yes. Georgia is the gateway between Florida and the entire East coast. Georgia law enforcement knows this means that many drugs flow through their state. For this reason, they take drug offenses very seriously.
With the rise in domestic growers cultivating the plant in Georgia, police are watching and waiting to catch big time dealers and small-time users.
For these reasons, you can’t afford to fool around with a marijuana possession charge in Georgia. If you don’t defend yourself, you can end up regretting the outcome.
**If you are concerned about the charges you are facing, you need an experienced firm working on your side. Call us to talk about your case today.