Have you been charged with possession of marijuana? Did you know that there are several different ways that you can be charged? A defense attorney MUST have proper training to assure that the client receives the representation for which they are not only looking but also for which they are paying. That is why you need to find a defense lawyer who has the proper training to help you. If handled improperly this charge can affect your license, your criminal history, time in jail, community representation and many other issues for the rest of your life. Although some states have decriminalized marijuana, see this link on NORML for a complete list, Georgia is not one of those states. Although marijuana travels under several different names such as Weed, Cannibus or toke the government will refer to it as Marijuana. Whatever name you know or call it, Marijuana falls under schedule one for its treatment in the Georgia court system. That means that it falls under O.C.G.A. § 16-13-30 UNLESS the amount is less than an ounce, then the court will use O.C.G.A. § 16-13-2 for its treatment in the system. Although still serious, you can be charged under a local ordinance instead of a state statute. In this particular scenario, you are still charged with possession of less than an ounce but its under a local, usually city, ordinance, which means that the punishment is less than under the state statute. Among the different ways you can be charged under the state statute include: Possession of Less than an Ounce, Felony Possession, Possession with intent to distribute, Manufacturing, trafficking
So What’s The Difference In The Way The State Treats The Charges? For the most part, the treatment involves the amount of marijuana in relation to the maximum amount of jail time that you can receive. Georgia isn’t the only state that determines the treatment of charges based on the weight of the drug. Other states have similar treatment as well as seen on this link fate by weight. Treatment in court falls under several categories for Marijuana:
- Local Ordinance
Under this version of charges the maximum amount of jail time that you can receive would be 6 months in jail and/or a fine. There is a possibility here to have your case treated under a potential decriminalization. As with any situation its important to know how the particular court is treating these charges and what avenues are available for sentencing. For instance, if the city of Atlanta Municipal Court has made a step toward decriminalization you can argue that you should also be able to fall into that category for treatment at this level and the next level as well.
- Simple Possession, or Misdemeanor Possession, under O.C.G.A. § 16-13-2
This state statute can carry a maximum of 1 year in jail and/or a fine. Depending on the circumstances, facts of your case and court location, you can also receive a license suspension and/or community service Most people who receive a citation will see that their charge falls under this charge which is O.C.G.A. 16-13-2(B) OR possession of less than an ounce of marijuana. This charge still carries significant weight under the law and should be handled with care. Failing to hire a properly trained drug defense attorney who has the skill and knowledge of a marijuana defense lawyer can be devastating for your case. Our Marijuana defense attorneys can put their knowledge and skill to work for you. There are several avenues and options available to not only defend these cases but also to make sure that they don’t appear on your record.
- Felony Possession under O.C.G.A. § 16-13-30 which includes: Manufacture, Deliver, distribute, dispense, administer, sell or possess with intent to distribute
This level is where possession of marijuana becomes a felony. This includes possession of more than an ounce but less than10 pounds of marijuana. Jail time would include not less than 1 years and not more than 10.
- Trafficking marijuana O.C.G.A. § 16-13-31This involves various weights. The first series is more than 10 pounds but less than 2,000 pounds then you would be facing a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and a fine of $100,000.00. If the weight is between 2,000 pounds and 10,000 pounds the mandatory minimum sentence is 7 years and a fine of $250,000.00. If the weight is between 10,000 pounds or more the mandatory minimum jail sentence is 15 years and a fine of $1,000,000.00
Does Anything Change If I Am Arrested By The Federal Guidelines?
Everything changes once the Feds are involved. Although misdemeanor charges still seem the same, with less than an ounce carrying one year and a fine, Federal prosecutors usually “tie” these charges up with other more serious charges which enhances sentencing.
Can’t I Give A Defense To These Charges?
You need the help of an experienced attorney to help you with your charges. Many people don’t realize that because these charges are still a crime in the state of Georgia, it can affect the rest of their life. It would now be a part of your criminal history when you apply to rent a home, get a home loan, and even promotions at your job OR even getting a new job, not to mention applying to colleges. This charge can follow you for the rest of your life and cause issues every time it “pops up.” An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you fight and control how this charge affects you in court and your future. As former prosecutors, our criminal defense lawyers know and understand that the prosecution, or in almost every case – team of prosecutors, are highly skilled and trained to obtain and try to get a conviction on your case. That means it’s time to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney that knows how to evaluate both sides of the case. Our team of criminal defense lawyers are former prosecutors and know how to mount a proper defense for your Marijuana drug charges. What should I do next? For a free consultation and evaluation of your charges call our firm for and speak with an experienced defense attorney. Our defense lawyers have the knowledge and skills to assist you. Just because you have been charged with possession, distribution, sale or even trafficking of Marijuana does not mean that you have to accept guilt, it means you need to hire an experienced attorney to mount a proper defense for your charges. Our offices have a 24 hour response line 404-334-2818 and someone is available to answer your call and help. Call us now for a free case evaluation.