Georgia residents who are charged with being in possession of a controlled substance could face significant penalties. Those penalties may include a driver’s license suspension in addition to jail time and a fine. State law has separate sentencing guidelines for those who are found to be in possession of marijuana. The exact sentence depends on the quantity a person is found with. Those who possess 1 ounce or less of the substance could spend up to a year in prison.

A fine of up to $1,000 may also be included if a person is convicted of misdemeanor marijuana possession. Those who are charged with a felony for possession of more than 1 ounce will receive at least a year in prison and a fine of $5,000. Individuals who are found with any other Schedule I or II narcotic drug will face anywhere from 2 to 15 years in prison for a first offense.

If a person has been convicted in the past, a second conviction would result in a prison term of up to 30 years. A conviction for possession of Schedule III, IV or V substances will result in a prison term of up to five years for a first offense. Future convictions would result in a prison sentence of up to 10 years.

A person facing any sort of criminal charge may be at risk of losing his or her freedom for the next several years if convicted. Therefore, it may be a good idea to hire a criminal defense attorney to handle a misdemeanor or felony case. An attorney may be able to negotiate a plea deal or ask that the charge be dismissed prior to trial. This might happen in cases where evidence is weak or a person has no prior criminal record.