GEORGIA DRUG LAWS


There are five types of drug-related charges in the state of Georgia.

  • Drug possession
  • Intent to distribute
  • Drug trafficking
  • Drug distribution
  • Controlled substance

If you have been charged with a drug possession offense, talk to your attorney about alcohol and drug rehabilitation as an alternative to incarceration. The state of Georgia is notoriously harsh on drug offenders, and the penalties for offense are tough.

A variety of elements determine the degree of punishment you may face. Elements include criminal history, schedule classification of the drug possessed and the quantity of the drug in your possession.

Drugs, also called controlled substances, are classified according to their potential for abuse and consequence. Controlled substances fit into one of five classifications: Schedule I, Schedule II, Schedule III, Schedule IV and Schedule V.

Range of Penalties for Drug-Related Offenses

If you have been arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance, you may face penalties ranging from:

  • Suspension of driver’s license
  • Forfeiture of property
  • Jail and/or prison time
  • Fines
  • Community Service
  • Probation

Some people fail to realize you can be charged with possession of a controlled substance even if that substance is not found immediately on your persons. If a law enforcement officer finds a controlled substance on property, such as a house or car, where you are the registered owner, you may be charged with a drug possession offense.

It is imperative that you contact an attorney in the event you are charged with a drug-related offense. An attorney can help you determine what your options are, and whether you may qualify to enroll in an alcohol and drug rehabilitation program in lieu of a jail and/or prison sentence.

Listed below are 4 other kinds of drug charges you may face, and the penalties those charges carry. Again, the state of Georgia takes drug offenses very seriously. Even possession of drug paraphernalia, such as a pipe with marijuana residue, can be cause for criminal charges.

Intent to Distribute in Georgia

You can be charged with intent to distribute if the amount of narcotics found exceeds a reasonable quantity for personal consumption. When a police officer or law enforcement officer determines the amount of drugs you possess is for more than recreational use – that you intend to sell the narcotics – you will be charged with intent to distribute.

This is a serious charge and carries serious penalties. The quantity in your possession is not the only element that distinguishes possession from intent to distribute. Things like scales used to weigh drugs, plastic bags used to package narcotics and large quantities of unclaimed cash can contribute to an elevated charge like intent to distribute.

This drug-related charge is a felony offense. A felony conviction can carry extraordinarily detrimental life consequences, including loss of voting and firearm privileges, exclusion from certain types of employment, hefty fines, probation and prison time. 

Drug Trafficking in Georgia

Drug trafficking charges in the state of Georgia carry difficult consequences for an individual facing conviction. People suspected of engaging in the production, distribution, transportation or sale of illegal narcotics may face this type of charge.

There is a set of mandatory-minimum penalties for people convicted of drug trafficking as crafted by the federal government. Therefore, the courts are not permitted to hand down sentences less than those established by the United States government. If convicted, drug trafficking offenders face hefty fines and lengthy prison and probation time.

Other factors may increase the potential for harsh sentences. For instance, if you were arrested within a certain radius of a children’s playground or school, you may face stiffer penalties. Evidence of narcotics transportation across state lines may result in federal trafficking charges. The type of drug that was confiscated also influences sentences (i.e. marijuana will be viewed less stringently than heroin or methamphetamine).

Drug Manufacturing

Certain types of drugs cannot be cultivated naturally and require synthetic processes to manufacture. The most notorious manufactured drug in the state of Georgia is methamphetamine. Production of methamphetamine will probably result in a drug manufacturing charge.

Other types of drugs can be produced naturally, but require additional processes to render a viable product. Drugs like cocaine, produced from the coca plant, and heroin, produced from the poppy plant, fall into this category. Growing marijuana can also result in manufacturing charges.

The minimum prison sentence for a drug manufacturing charge is one year. It does not matter whether the narcotics were manufactured for distribute or personal use. Additional penalties may include, but are not limited to, hefty fines, long-term probation, community service and suspension of driving privileges.

Drug Distribution

You may face a drug distribution charge if there is evidence you transported or engaged in the sale of illegal narcotics. The penalties for drug distribution are subject to mandatory minimum guidelines established by the federal government. Punishment for drug distribution includes a minimum of one year of incarceration and may also include substantial community service, a lengthy period of probation and costly fines.

Additional factors may influence sentencing, such as criminal history and the type of drug distributed. Drug distribution is a felony offense, thus carries with it a host of negative consequences, like loss of voting and firearm rights.

Controlled Substance

Drugs and narcotics are classified by the government according to the drug’s addictive qualities and medical merits.

Schedule I substances possess a high potential for abuse with no medical value. Each subsequent schedule classification has less potential for abuse, so schedule I narcotics are more likely to cause dependence than schedule II narcotics.

Many prescription drugs fall into one of the five schedule classifications. If you are found with medication that is a controlled substance, and your name is not on the prescription bottle, you can be charged with possession of a controlled substance. “Doctor shopping”, where individuals make appointments with a variety of doctors to procure controlled substances, is also prohibited under Georgia law.

Possession of a controlled substance can result in a variety of charges, including prescription fraud, drug possession or possession with intent to distribute.

Scheduling of Narcotics

Schedule I

Potential for abuse: High

Medical Value: None

Drugs in this classification include:

-Psychedelic mushrooms

Also referred to as: shrooms, fungus, magic mushrooms, boomers, caps, mushies

-Acid (LSD)

Also referred to as: blotter, California sunshine, doses, cid, dots, microdots, window pane

-Peyote/Mescaline

Also referred to as: Bad seed, half moon, tops, cactus buttons

-GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyric acid)

Also referred to as: Georgia home boy, goop, jib, liquid e, grievous bodily harm

-Ecstasy

Also referred to as: X, beans, rolls, double or triple stacks

-Heroin (china white or black tar)

Also referred to as: junk, dope, smack, H, tar, girl

Schedule II

Potential for abuse: High (but less than Schedule I)

Medical Value: Some (certain drugs in Schedule II have been approved for application in pain management)

Drugs in this classification include:

-Methamphetamine

Also referred to as: meth, tweak, amp, biker dope, billy, booger, crank, crystal meth, glass

-Opium

Also referred to as: tar, dope, big O, midnight oil, black goo, hippy heroin

-Morphine (also includes oxycodone, dilaudid and fentanyl)

Also referred to as: vitamin M, Miss Emma, oxy’s, roxies, Roxanne

-Cocaine

Also referred to as: boy, blow, powder, yayo

-Methadone

Also referred to as: mud, dollies, tootsie roll, red rocks, fizzies

Schedule III

Potential for abuse: low to moderate

Medical Value: Some (ketamine is commonly used in veterinary medicine and steroids can be prescribed for certain medical conditions)

Drugs in this classification are:

-Ketamine

Also referred to as: special K, vitamin K, super K, bump, cat valium

-Steroids (anabolic)

Also referred to as: juice, roids, go-go juice, sauce, slop, a-bombs

Schedule IV

Potential for abuse: Low

Medical Value: Schedule IV drugs are prescribed for a variety of ailments

Drugs in this classification include:

-Phenobarbital

Also referred to as: Barbiturates

-Clonazepam

Also referred to as: Klonopin

-Diazepam

Also referred to as: Valium

(note: these prescribed drugs usually contain small amounts of codeine, ethyl morphine or opium. The majority of prescribed medication is placed in one of the schedules of controlled substances to prevent illegal dispensation)

Schedule V

Potential for abuse: Very low

Medical Value: High

Drugs in this classification include:

-Robitussin

Also referred to as: cough syrup, robo

-Lyrica

Punishment by Schedule

Schedule I & II Substances

Purchase or Possess (First Offense)
Imprisonment for not less than two nor more than fifteen years.

Purchase or Possess (Second Offense)
Imprisonment for not less than five nor more than thirty years.

Sell or Intent to Distribute (First Offense)
Imprisonment for not less than five nor more than thirty years.

Sell or Intent to Distribute (Second Offense)
Imprisonment for not less than ten nor more than forty years OR life imprisonment.

Schedule III, IV & V Substances

Purchase or Possess (First Offense)
Imprisonment for not less than one nor more than five years.

Purchase or Possess (Second Offense)
Imprisonment for not less than one nor more than ten years.

Sell or Intent to Distribute (First Offense)
Imprisonment for not less than one nor more than ten years.

If you or someone you know would like more information on alcohol and drug rehabilitation as an alternative to incarceration, please call our confidential, toll-free admissions line.