Most drug possession and trafficking crimes result in felony charges in Georgia. The state classifies controlled substances into five schedules based on their danger and accepted medical use, if any.
If you face Georgia drug charges, learn about the potential penalties depending on the substance type and amount. All drivers who receive a drug-related conviction in Georgia are subject to a six-month license suspension for a first offense. This increases to one year for a second offense and two years for a third offense.
Drug possession penalties
Convicted offenders will receive two to 15 years in prison for a first conviction and up to 30 years for a subsequent conviction for possession of:
- Schedule I drugs, including ecstasy, psilocybin mushrooms, LSD and heroin
- Schedule II drugs, including codeine, opium, hydrocodone, methamphetamine and cocaine
Lesser penalties apply to less dangerous drugs. You could receive one to five years in prison for a first conviction, and up to 10 years for a subsequent conviction for possession of:
- Schedule III drugs such as anabolic steroids
- Schedule IV drugs such as Valium and Xanax
- Schedule V drugs, including prescription medications with abuse potential that do not appear in another schedule
Drug trafficking penalties
Penalties for distributing and selling controlled substances in Georgia depend strongly on the substance and amount. For trafficking a Schedule I or II substance, an offender could receive up to 30 years in prison. Trafficking a Schedule III, IV or V controlled substance carries a penalty of one to 10 years in prison.
Georgia state law recognizes both actual and constructive possession. Actual possession means that the drug is in your pocket or bag or otherwise on your person. Constructive possession means that the officer finds the drugs in your home or vehicle, or otherwise under your control.
Some offenders may qualify for Georgia’s drug court program. Nonviolent offenders can receive substance abuse treatment and avoid jail time by meeting probationary requirements.