Marietta Drug Crime Lawyer

Different Types of Drug Crimes

According to recent statistics suggest that there are 560.1 drug offenses committed per 100,000 people within the United States. Drug crimes come in many different forms, some of which are misdemeanors and others of which are felonies.

The United States Department of Justice reports that 70-80% of offenders are under supervision for drug-related offenses. According to, the most commonly abused drugs in Georgia are Marijuana (the most commonly abused drug in Georgia, to learn more click here, Cocaine, Heroin, prescription drugs and Amphetamines. According to Georgia statistics:

  • In 2005, 6,918 individuals were admitted for drug treatment of marijuana addiction in 2005
  • In 2005, 8,545 individuals smoked cocaine and entered into treatment with an additional 2,733 who abused cocaine through other means and who also went to treatment that year
  • In 2005, 661 individuals were admitted to treatment centers for addiction to heroin. While Georgia is deemed a transit site and a distribution point for heroin, heroin availability remains strong in Atlanta.
  • Hydrocodone and oxycodone products remain a problem in Georgia. Xanax® and Lorcet® are also commonly abused in Georgia. Methadone too seems to be gaining popularity among prescription drug abusers.
  • In 2005, 5,685 people entered drug rehab for amphetamines.

Drug Schedules

The type of drug or controlled substance in question also affects the seriousness of the crime. In order the more accurately categorize and punish drug crimes, controlled substances have been separated into five "schedules" according to their potential for abuse, with Schedule I being the worst.

The main types of drug crimes include possession, possession with intent, trafficking, and manufacturing of drugs. Marijuana possession is the most common kind of possession, but could be acceptable under strict restrictions for medical purposes. "Possession with intent" expands to possession with intent to sell or possession with intent to traffic the drug. Manufacturing controlled substances can result in possession charges if the individual is caught in the act. Drug schedules include the following:

  • Schedule I: these have a high potential for abuse and are not accepted for medical use or treatment. This category includes such dangerous drugs as Heroin, LSD and MDMA (Ecstasy).
  • Schedule II: these drugs have a high potential for abuse but are currently accepted for medical use and treatment. These include Cocaine and Amphetamine (Speed).
  • Schedule III: these drugs have less potential for abuse then Schedule I or Schedule II drugs. They are accepted for medical use or treatment. This category would include certain stimulants and depressants and anabolic steroids.
  • Schedule IV: these substances have an even lower potential of being abused then Schedule IV substances and have been accepted for medical use and treatment. This category would include certain stimulants and depressants.
  • Schedule V: these have a lower potential for abuse then Schedule IV substances are accepted for medical treatment. These include limited quantities of narcotic drugs and other ingredients that supply medicinal benefits.

Penalties for Drug Crimes in Georgia

Penalties for drug crimes can be very harsh, which means that skilled criminal defense is vital. Fines can reach into the tens of thousands of dollars and prison sentences can be anywhere from decades to life. Anyone who has been falsely accused of any of these crimes should not have to suffer such penalties due to a wrongful conviction. Call a Marietta criminal defense attorney today if you are in danger of a drug crime conviction. If you are convicted of a drug crime in Georgia, you can expect the following penalties (as laid out in OCGA § 16-13-30 :

For Schedule I and II Substances

  • Purchase or possess- first offense: imprisonment for a minimum of two years and a maximum of 15 years
  • Purchase or possess- second offense: imprisonment for a minimum of five years and a maximum of 30 years
  • Sell or intent to distribute-first offense: imprisonment for a minimum of five years and a maximum of 30 years
  • Sell or intent to distribute- second offense: imprisonment for a minimum of 10 years and a maximum of 40 years or life imprisonment

For Schedule III, IV and V Substances

  • Purchase or possess- first offense: imprisonment for a minimum of one and a maximum of five years
  • Purchase or possess-second offense: imprisonment for a minimum of one year and a maximum of 10 years
  • Sell or intent to distribute-first offense: imprisonment for a minimum of one and a maximum of 10 years

As well as facing a prison sentence, you could also lose your driver's license, lose scholarships and other financial aid and have to forfeit any property that was used to carry out the drug crimes. Fines can range from up to $1000 for a misdemeanor or $100,000 or more for a felony. If you are charged with first possession you might have a chance of avoiding a prison sentence, if convicted, and could pursue the option of probation instead.

For drug trafficking, penalties are extremely serious. If the trafficking involved Cocaine, illegal drugs, Marijuana or Methamphetamine the penalties will be enhanced. Depending on what drug was trafficked and how great the quantity was, an offender could face a minimum prison sentence of 30 years and up to a $1 million fine. State trafficking offenses can quickly turn into a federal offense as well.

When someone sells or distributes within 1000 feet of any school or recreation in Georgia, he/she can face one to twenty years in prison, for a first offense, and up to a $20,000 fine. For a second offense, an individual can face a minimum of five years and a maximum of 40 years in prison as well as a fine up to $40,000.

Alternative Sentencing Options for Drug Crimes

These statistics speak volumes about the prevalence of drug use in America. Often, being arrested and charged for a drug crime may be symptomatic of a larger problem with substance abuse. Having worked with clients from all walks of life, our legal team has seen first-hand the devastating impact the cycle of addiction can have. Allowing substance abuse to go unaddressed simply does nothing to solve the problem. This is why our firm goes above and beyond in our efforts to fully support our clients and to help them take the steps toward recovery.

Depending on the circumstances involved in your case, our legal team may be able to secure alternative sentencing options or alternative dispute resolutions that allow you to receive substance abuse treatment in lieu of serving jail time. If you are eligible for these programs, you can gain the help you need while also staying out from behind bars. In some cases, particularly in those involving first or second offenders and less serious crimes, you may also be able to avoid convictions and permanent criminal records.

As a firm that truly cares about the needs of our clients, we work to do whatever is in our power to help. Our legal team is prepared to evaluate your case, determine if you qualify for a drug diversion program or some other type of alternative sentencing options, and work toward resolving your case swiftly and successfully. The legal system is beginning to show signs of realizing that penalizing drug offenders is flat out unproductive and now provides new opportunities to those who qualify. Meet with a member of our legal team for a free case evaluation to learn more about alternative sentencing options.

Speak with a Marietta criminal lawyer today!

Don't allow yourself to be punished for a crime you are not guilty of committing. A lawyer from the Merchant Law Firm could help you justify your possession for medical purposes, or fight to have your charges dismissed. Our firm has been highly rated by Avvo®, and we treat each client with care and respect as though they were family, keeping them informed throughout the legal process. Call today to speak with a member of our firm and learn what we could do for you.

A drug crime conviction could devastate your future. Call the Merchant Law Firm today to contact a Marietta drug crime lawyer who will fight for your freedom.