Facing Criminal Charges for a Controlled Substance?
Being accused of a drug crime in Georgia is a very serious offense. If convicted you are facing not only a permanent criminal record, but you are also looking at jail time, probation, fees and fines, and a license suspension (despite the fact that you may not have been driving when the drugs were discovered).
Most people understand that hiring an experienced attorney to handle their drug charge is critically important when there is so much to lose. Having a basic understanding of the full range of potential consequences of your drug charge is the first step towards becoming fully informed of what you are facing in court.
A Few Definitions
Illegal drugs and prescription medications are referred to as "controlled substances." All controlled substances are categorized into different schedules by Georgia law. The type of scheduled drug you are charged with possessing, along with any prior drug convictions, will be considered by the prosecutor when determining which penalties you will be facing.
Quantity Matters in Drug Charges
The amount of drugs that you have along with how they are contained will also affect the type of drug charge and possible consequences. For instance, if you are searched and the police discover a number of different bags of marijuana in your possession, you may be charged with intent to distribute (i.e., they think you intended to sell marijuana). This is a much more serious drug charge than mere possession.
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For example, a young woman was recently charged with intent to distribute marijuana in a nearby county despite the fact that all the marijuana she had was intended for personal consumption. She simply had a variety of different types of marijuana that she had separated into different containers. When she was pulled over and the police searched her car, they assumed she intended to sell the marijuana. She was booked for intent to distribute, a very high bond amount was set, and the prosecutor offered her 12 months to serve in jail and 10 years on probation. Even more problematic was that her passenger, who had no knowledge of the marijuana, was also charged with the same crime!
You Need An Attorney Experience in Fighting Drug Charges in Fulton County
Proceeding without a defense attorney under these or similar circumstances can have dire effects. You may miss a filing deadline to challenge the search of your car, person, or house. Challenging the search in a drug charge case is one of the most successful legal methods for having your drug charge dismissed. However, in most cases, this motion has to be filed within 10 days of your initial court arraignment. You could easily waive your most valuable defense to a drug charge by waiting to hire an attorney until the time of trial.
Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence, especially in Atlanta and the surrounding counties. Because the courts are flooded with a high volume of cases, it can take years to get notice of your next court date after arraignment. As a result, people tend to postpone making any decisions about their case. This can be a terrible mistake.
Talk to Attorney Erin Gerstenzang today to discuss what deadlines you need to be aware of and what your chances are of having the drug charge dismissed entirely.