Types of Georgia Drug Crimes to Know for New Residents

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If you’re facing possession charges in Georgia, it’s important to understand exactly what you’re up against. Many people don’t understand that laws vary between states and that you can face charges more or less severe solely based on the state that you’re currently in.

But how does drug possession in Georgia work? How do punishments vary between possession of different drugs? Should you expect jail? — license suspension? — fines?

This article will walk you through everything you need to know about Georgia drug crimes. We have many other resources that will help you understand this as well — visit for more information.

General Types of Crimes

First, let’s take you through a run-through of the different types of crimes. It’s good to get the basics down before you get into the specifics of Georgia drug laws.

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Infractions

An infraction is a small violation of a rule or law. It’s generally seen as the least serious type of crime. It has little to no effect on your personal record, and usually just results in having to pay a small fine.

Unfortunately, drug charges are almost never considered infractions.

Misdemeanors

Misdemeanors, while not high crimes like felonies, are still seen as pretty serious offenses. They could result in extended probation, short jail time, and some damage to personal reputation. Certain drug crimes are considered misdemeanors.

Felonies

Felonies are serious offenses that can get you serious jail time or even the death penalty. This class of crimes isn’t just reserved for the most heinous crimes like rape and murder, however, certain drug chargers are also considered felonies.

Felonies in Georgia

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It’s important to understand that constitutes a felony varies from state to state. (This is one of the reasons it’s important to hire an attorney who is versed in the laws of Georgia.)

A felony in Georgia is considered any crime that constitutes serving a year or more in prison. Georgia doesn’t separate felonies based on different types of classes, so they assign the label “misdemeanor” or “felony” on a case-by-case basis.

Depending on how things go, this could be good or bad news for you. On the good side, crimes that might be considered minor felonies in other states can just end up written off as misdemeanors in Georgia, meaning you’ll serve less jail time. On the flip side, something that might be considered a more serious misdemeanor in another state might be called a felony.

You should know, however, that only the highest crimes are punishable by the death penalty and serious prison sentences (10-25 years).

Statutes of Limitations

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Georgia has a statute of limitations in place — a system that sets a time limit on when one can press charges for a crime. The time limit starts to run when the alleged crime is committed and ends depending on the crime committed.

For a victimless felony — like drug possession — the statute of limitation is four years. For a misdemeanor, it’s two. This means that depending on when your alleged drug crime happened, you might get off without a hitch.

Driver’s License Suspension

People convicted under drug possession laws in Georgia face the suspension of their driver’s licenses. At first conviction, there is a mandatory twelve-month suspension in place. Second possession conviction results in a loss for a year, and a third results in a loss for two years.

Schedules

While Georgia does not break up felonies based on various classes, they do break up the types of controlled substances someone can be caught with based on “schedules”. Let’s take a look at what those schedules are.

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Schedule One

Schedule one drugs are drugs with a high potential for abuse and no medical use. These drugs are those that present the biggest danger to society, and therefore are the biggest crimes to possess. Some common schedule one drugs are Heroin, LSD, and marijuana.

Possession of schedule one drugs is punishable with 2-15 years of conviction, with subsequent charges punishable with up to 30 years.

Schedule Two

Schedule two drugs are drugs that have a high potential for abuse, and only see medical use under severe restrictions. Methadone, morphine, codeine, and opium are examples of schedule two drugs.

Possession of narcotic schedule two drugs are punishable with 2-15 years of conviction, with subsequent charges punishable with up to 30 years.

Schedule Three

Schedule three drugs have a moderate chance of abuse, and a moderate to low level of physical dependence. Benzos and Ketamine are good examples of schedule three drugs.

Possession of schedule three drugs is punishable by 1-5 years in prison. With subsequent charges, that number climbs up to ten years.

Schedule Four

Schedule four drugs have a low potential of abuse and addiction, and medical use with some restrictions. Examples are Ativan, Valium, Klonopin, and Xanax.

Possession of schedule three drugs is punishable by 1-5 years in prison. With subsequent charges, that number climbs up to ten years.

Schedule Five

Schedule five drugs have the lowest potential for abuse, little to no physical dependence, and wide medical acceptance. The most common examples of these are extra-strong cough medicines with larger amounts of codeine.

Possession of schedule three drugs is punishable by 1-5 years in prison. With subsequent charges, that number climbs up to ten years.

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Marijuana

Possession of marijuana has its own rules, as the government is currently rethinking its state on marijuana. Possession of one ounce or less is a misdemeanor punishable with up to one year in prison and a 1,000 dollar fine.

Possession of more than one ounce, however, is a felony punishable. On these charges, you can get up to 10 years and fines up to 5,000 dollars.

Understand Georgia Drug Crimes

Now you know everything you need to know about Georgia drug crimes. Keep in mind the different types of crimes, and the definitions of them that are specific to Georgia. Consider if the substance you were caught with is schedule one, two, three, four, five, or marijuana to figure out how you’ll plead.

As always, it’s best to contact a lawyer to help you figure out what you should do.

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