A criminal charge involving drug possession can range in severity from a misdemeanor to a severe felony offense. To determine whether the case of drug possession should be a misdemeanor or a felony, the court must weigh factors like drug type, the amount present at the time of arrest, and other determining circumstances.
Because of the potential severity of a drug possession charge, it’s important to know how Georgia law views these crimes and what they can mean for you.
Misdemeanor vs. Felony
A person may be charged with a misdemeanor if they are found to possess 1 ounce or less of marijuana illegally. Misdemeanors usually involve punishments of less than one year in a county penitentiary and a fine of up to $1,000.
Felony charges apply when the person is found to possess either more than 1 ounce of marijuana or any amount of Schedule I or Schedule II drugs. The punishment for felony drug possession can range from one to 30 years in a state penitentiary and can reach up to $1 million in fines, depending on the nature or severity of the case.
Schedule I drugs are considered the most dangerous as they have high abuse potential and no medical benefit. Schedule I drugs include but are not limited to:
Anyone in possessions of a Schedule II drug must have a legal medical prescription and obey their usage restrictions. Schedule II drugs include but are not limited to:
Aggravating Factors That Lead to Felony Charges
Large amounts of marijuana, Schedule I drugs, and Schedule II drugs are considered more dangerous, which is why they are met with felony charges. But sometimes, being in possession of 1 ounce of marijuana or less can still receive felony charges.
Felony drug charges for misdemeanor offenses happen due to aggravating factors, which can include being arrested:
- Too close to a school
- On government property (public parks, pools, sidewalks, buildings, etc.)
- At or near a drug treatment facility
- In the presence of a minor
- More than once (for possession)
Why Was I Charged with Intent to Distribute?
If caught with a sizeable amount of drugs at the time of arrest, the law will consider you to be in possession with intent to distribute, and you will face felony charges. This can happen in cases where officers find more than 1 ounce of marijuana or any amount of another Schedule I or Schedule II drug.
If you have received a drug possession charge, let Bushway Law Firm fight for you.
Gregory Bushway is a former prosecutor who now provides excellent criminal defense. Schedule a consultation with our team today, and let Gregory fight for your rights: 478-621-4995