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Originally Posted On: https://www.mailletcriminallaw.com/repercussions-of-a-drug-offense-conviction-in-georgia
If you’re convicted of a drug crime, there are several things to consider. First and foremost is the sentence you receive—a drug conviction can lead to jail time, probation, fines, or other penalties. It’s also important to understand the consequences of having a criminal history, which will impact your ability to get a job and go to school. This article will explain the repercussions that you could face if you are convicted of a drug offense.
What Are Drug Offenses in Georgia?
There are two primary types of drug offenses in Georgia, which include possession and distribution. Possession of drugs is the most common charge brought against individuals who are arrested for a drug-related crime. Distribution, on the other hand, can be further sub-categorized into three types of offenses, which include selling and manufacturing as well.
Here is the breakdown of the most common drug offenses:
- Possession: Having drugs on your person or having them in your home or car.
- Distribution: Having drugs that are packaged for sale or distribution (usually more than 20 grams).
- Trafficking: Selling drugs to others.
- Manufacturing: Making drugs from scratch.
Drug offenses can include possession of marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, or possession of prescription drugs like Oxycodone and Hydrocodone, as well as other controlled substances like cocaine hydrochloride (crack) and amphetamine sulfate (speed).
Other Schedule 1 substances may include:
- LSD (Lysergic acid diethylamide)
- Mescaline (Peyote)
- MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine or “ecstasy”)
- GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyric acid)
- Ecstasy (MDMA or 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine)
- Psilocybin (“magic mushrooms”)
- Methaqualone (Quaalude)
- Khat (Cathinone, Cathine)
Repercussions of a Drug Offense Conviction
The repercussions of a drug offense conviction in Georgia are severe. The penalties for a conviction can include jail time, probation, and fines. A conviction can also lead to the loss of your driver’s license, the inability to obtain housing, and even deportation.
The severity of your sentence depends on the type of drug that was involved and whether or not you have any prior convictions. As well as the type of charge, if it was possession or distribution with the intent to sell.
Here are some general sentencing guidelines for possession charges:
- First Offenses: If you are convicted of a first offense, the penalty may be a fine of up to $1,000 and/or imprisonment for up to one year. The court can also order that your driver’s license be suspended or revoked for up to one year. You may also be required to undergo substance abuse treatment and/or participate in community service activities.
- Second Offenses: If you are convicted of a second offense, the penalty may be a fine of up to $5,000 and/or imprisonment for up to two years. The court can also order that your driver’s license be suspended or revoked for up to two years. You may also be required to undergo substance abuse treatment and/or participate in community service activities.
- Third Offenses: If you are convicted of a third offense, the penalty may be a fine of up to $5,000 and/or imprisonment for up to five years. The court can also order your driver’s license to be suspended.
Sentencing for Distribution Convictions
A Georgia drug offense conviction will come with its own set of penalties, depending on the severity of the crime and whether or not it was your first offense. For example, if you have prior drug convictions on your record and are charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana, then this would be considered a felony offense with serious repercussions, including up to $100K in fines and up to 25 years in prison (GA Code Ann., § 16-13-31). If this was your first offense for possession with intent to distribute marijuana, then it would likely be considered a misdemeanor instead, which means less severe penalties such as up to $1K in fines and/or up to 1 year in jail (GA Code Ann., § 16-13-30).
Other Repercussions of a Drug Offense
A drug offense conviction can change your life in a variety of ways.
For one thing, it could affect your ability to get a job. In some states, employers are allowed to ask about your criminal history and consider a conviction when making decisions about who they hire.
It could also impact your ability to get housing, especially if you’re looking for public housing or an apartment in subsidized housing. Some landlords will ask about criminal history, and some states have laws against renting to people with certain types of convictions.
Even if you aren’t applying for any government assistance or applying for jobs that require drug testing, you might still have trouble getting on life insurance or finding someone willing to give you a loan.
- You could be barred from owning a firearm or working as a security guard.
- You could lose your right to vote.
- A drug offense conviction could make it harder for you to get credit.
Record Expungement for Drug Conviction
Moving forward after serving your sentence can also be challenging. The repercussions of drug offenses extend beyond the sentence itself. However, the good news is that you do have options, and one of those is getting your record expunged.
You have two main options—let’s take a look at each one individually:
- Drug Court Program: A drug court program requires strict compliance with certain conditions in order to complete the program successfully and have your record expunged. These conditions include regular check-ins with a probation officer, random drug tests, mental health treatment as necessary, community service hours, and payment of court costs and fines.
- General Probation: This option requires no special conditions or requirements other than following all laws while on probation (which includes not possessing or using illegal drugs). If this option sounds appealing to you, keep in mind that it will still take some time before your record will be expunged because it must first be reviewed by a judge before it can be sealed permanently from public view by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI).
If you have been convicted of a drug offense, you may face serious repercussions. The penalties for a drug crime depend on what type of drug you were convicted of possessing or selling, as well as the amount of the drug in your possession. A conviction can also result in fines, probation, and even jail time.
It is important that you speak with an attorney immediately. Your attorney can help explain your legal rights and options so that you can make informed decisions about your case. An experienced criminal defense attorney will also know how to handle your case so that it has the best outcome possible for your situation.
Our lawyers at Jarrett Maillet are here to help you through this difficult time, and we offer a free case evaluation so that you can get started on building your defense right away. Contact us today for more information.
Jarrett Maillet J.D., P.C.
210 E 31st St
Savannah, GA 31401