Georgia law takes drug charges particularly seriously, and people face significant penalties if they are found guilty of possession or trafficking a controlled substance. What consequences may people face if they face drug crime charges in Georgia?

What are the penalties for drug possession?

Most drug crimes in Georgia are felonies, and all charges of drug possession in Georgia will result in a mandatory driver’s license suspension. The more specific penalties for drug possession depend on the way that Georgia law classifies that drug.

The court will assess less severe penalties for possession of less dangerous drugs like prescription medications or steroids. For Schedule III, Schedule IV and Schedule V drugs, people convicted of possession for the first time will spend between one and five years in prison. A subsequent conviction could lead to prison sentences of up to a decade.

Possession of drugs that the law regards as more dangerous—including opium, methamphetamine, cocaine, ecstasy and heroin—results in more severe penalties. People convicted of possession of Schedule I or Schedule II drugs face up to 15 years in prison for a first offense and up to 3 decades for a second conviction.

What are the penalties for drug trafficking?

If the authorities accuse a person of the manufacture, distribution or sale of illegal drugs, these trafficking charges can have serious consequences. A guilty verdict for trafficking Schedule III, IV or V drugs results in between 1 and 10 years in prison. For Schedule I or II drugs, a first conviction will result in between 5 and 30 years in prison, with further convictions resulting in decades or even life in prison.

Because of these penalties’ severity, those facing drug possession or trafficking charges should discuss their case with an experienced attorney. Their freedom may depend on building a strong defense.