Georgia Law - Illegal Drugs

Pleading guilty to drug possession can have dire consequences ranging from a license suspension to serious jail time, along with a lifetime criminal record. The severity of the drug charge, and its penalties, will depend in part on how the drug is defined by Georgia and federal law, the amount of drugs you have, and how they’re contained.

Criminal charges for controlled substances

Illegal drugs and prescription medications are referred to as “controlled substances.” The different types of controlled substances were divided into five distinct categories (called “schedules”) in 1970 by the U.S. Congress when they passed the Controlled Substances Act. 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 (with Schedule I being the most severe; Schedule V the least).

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Schedule I drugs include those intoxicants that are generally considered to be some of the most dangerous and addictive controlled substances. More specifically the Controlled Substances Act set out three qualifications for substances that belong in the Schedule I category:

  1. The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse;
  2. The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States; and
  3. There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision

Schedule I drugs include heroin, mescaline, psilocybin, gamma-Hydroxybutyric acid (GHB), MDMA (Molly), LSD and marijuana, among others.

Schedule II drugs have a somewhat modified definition under Georgia drug law.  The Controlled Substances Act defines Schedule II drugs using the following qualifications:

  1. The drug or other substances have a high potential for abuse;
  2. The drug or other substances have currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, or currently accepted medical use with severe restrictions; and
  3. Abuse of the drug or other substances may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.

Schedule II drugs include Oxycodone, opium, cocaine, Ritalin (Methylphenidate), Adderall (mixed amphetamine salts), Fentanyl, methamphetamine, opium, methadone, morphine, pure codeine and pure hydrocodone, among others.

Schedule III drugs are categorized using these three parameters:

  1. The drug or other substance has a potential for abuse less than the drugs or other substances in schedules I and II;
  2. The drug or other substance has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States; and
  3. Abuse of the drug or other substance may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence.

Schedule III controlled substances include some anabolic steroids, Ketamine, Xyrem, a preparation of GHB used to treat narcolepsy, and less than pure hydrocodone and/or codeine (for instance, combined with acetaminophen or ibuprofen), among others.

Schedule IV substances are those that fit the following criteria:

  1. The drug or other substance has a low potential for abuse relative to the drugs or other substances in schedule III;
  2. The drug or other substance has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States; and
  3. Abuse of the drug or other substance may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence relative to the drugs or other substances in schedule III.

Schedule IV drugs include Alprazolam (Xanax), chlordiazepoxide (Librium), clonazepam (Klonopin), diazepam (Valium), zolpidem (Ambien), zopiclone (Imovane), eszopiclone (Lunesta), zaleplon (Sonata) and phenobarbital, among others.

Schedule V controlled substances are those that can be described as:

  1. The drug or other substance has a low potential for abuse relative to the drugs or other substances in schedule IV;
  2. The drug or other substance has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States; and
  3. Abuse of the drug or other substance may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence relative to the drugs or other substances in schedule IV.

Schedule V drugs are less popular and are often overlooked by law enforcement and prosecutors for charging purposes, but they include medications with small amounts of codeine or opium, some anticonvulsants and treatments for chronic fatigue, among others.

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Attorney Erin H. Gerstenzang

Criminal defense for drug charges in Georgia

There are many methods available for beating a drug possession charge arrest, including attacking the validity of the search the police conducted prior to discovering drugs, to exposing unlawful and coercive police practices used during police questioning and interrogation.

You can rely on Attorney Erin Gerstenzang for the defense you deserve. She has successfully handled a wide variety of drug charges in all areas, and has intimate knowledge of the legal practices critical to ensuring an optimal result in your case.

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What it's like to work with Erin

Best Attorney – who can empathize, understand your problems & finds best way to get you out of it – got all my charges dismissed

I was looking for an attorney who could understand my case, who will be able to effectively fight for me and get the best outcome. That’s exactly what Ms. Erin did. She got to drop all the charges including reckless driving and also got my arrest to be restricted. I highly Recommend Ms. Erin.

Pleasant, effective and efficient – thanks Erin!

I wanted the best possible legal outcome and Erin also came highly recommended through another lawyer. She was 100% worth it. Without getting into specifics, I would not have managed the same outcome if I appeared in court on my own. She knew the system, the judges, the court, etc and was extremely timely in her communications and follow-up in the lead up to my court date. Hiring was simple (electronic documents and payment); we communicated over calls and texts, without me having to meet her till the morning of my court date. She was patient in answering all of our questions and explained the legal scenarios clearly. So glad we hired her given the peace of mind and result. Thank you Erin!

Great Lawyer!

Erin was amazing to deal with from start to finish. She really knew what she was doing and knew her way around the courthouse and prosecutors so that we could get the best result possible. She was very professional and communicated things to me very quickly and easily. She helped me out of a somewhat major traffic violation with only a fine. I would highly recommend her to anyone.

Highly recommended!

Erin is confident, competent, knowledgeable, responsive and proactive. These are the key qualities I was looking for in an attorney. She was able to answer all of my questions and managed my expectations – while I was weighing my options. I ultimately decided to take my DUI case to trial and the ruling was in my favor, icing on the cake! If you are looking for legal representation, I strongly recommend consulting/hiring Erin.

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I hired Attorney Erin regarding traffic; I was so impressed with her thoroughness engagement and professionalism. She was able to get the largest charge dismissed and I paid a fine for the lesser charge. She was engaged and caring. I always knew what was going on and her prices were very reasonable. This is the lawyer to trust!

Erin saved me time, money and a whole lotta tears

Erin is top notch and made everything easy + seamless when I was feeling very frustrated and upset. I got a speeding ticket in Brookhaven and was not only thrilled with the result she achieved, but also how quickly she helped me.

As an attorney myself, I thought about handling the ticket on my own. I’m so glad I didn’t! She got me a better result than I ever could have imagined in no time. Get off the fence and contact her if you want this weight lifted off your shoulders.

Really Really Great Attorney

Let’s start by saying I was charged with D.U.I ; Marijuana possession; Single car accident on a major highway here in Atlanta; & Refused sobriety test. It didn’t matter Mrs.Gerstenzang went to work had charges reduced to Wreckless Driving with a reduced fine. No headaches of D.U.I classes, no drug evaluation; no probation.

She was Awesome! I would recommend her to represent you. Trust me.

Great Traffic Lawyer

I’ve been a lawyer long enough to know that traffic court, especially in the City of Atlanta, is a very specialized practice. Accordingly, when our son was involved in a minor traffic accident, and we did not want to have to submit to the Atlanta Traffic Court’s “Pre-Trial Intervention-Traffic” scam, we reached out to Erin to handle it. Through her knowledge of the system, the solicitors, and the judges, she got us a great result, which was certainly much better than we could have achieved on our own.

I highly recommend her.

DUI

If you are definitely looking for a lawyer that would represent you because they have your best interest at heart, Erin is the right person for the task. Not only would she explore and exhaust all options for your case, but she would guide you and give you feedback. She is excellent , knowledgeable, experienced and friendly. I was facing DUI and I had priors before, Erin was able to fight on my behalf and secure a favorable outcome in my case.

Very Impressed

I was referred to Erin through my older cousin who had used her in the past for a DUI case. This was my second DUI so he recommended her as one of the best in Dekalb county. My case was a very peculiar one and there were a lot of factors involved because it involved DUI, Hit and Run and Equipment violation. Erin was able to get all my charges dropped and only have the Equipment violation. I am THOROUGHLY pleased with the gracefulness and professionalism that Erin upheld throughout the entire process. She never seemed defeated or became flustered no matter what new evidence presented itself. She was very knowledgable and I Would definitely recommend her to anyone dealing with DUI or any other criminal offense.

Fantastic lawyer, best possible outcome for the case

Erin was hired for a DUI case involving prescription medication. What made the case difficult was because of certain medical issues the client was not able to participate in his own defense. Erin had to think outside the box in representing the client, which she did with great compassion and success. She did a wonderful job of keeping us informed of her plans for representation and was always available to speak to us when necessary.

In our experience Erin really went to bat for her client. If you need legal representation in this area she is the best.

Amazing Lawyer Hands Down!

Erin deserves nothing less than five stars for her intelligence, commitment, passion, and success as a lawyer. With such an abundance of passion for her practice, Erin is one of the best lawyers in town. She is caring, and can move mountains for clients. Whether I needed help day or night, she was always there for me. Law is not just a job for Erin, but it is a passion and a part of her life. Her success in her cases shows her dedication to her clients. I would recommend Erin in a heart beat to anyone who is looking for a lawyer who not only cares about winning a case, but cares about the clients future. I don’t know what I would of done without Erin by my side supporting and representing me.

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I called Erin for a simple consultation, and WOW, the wealth of knowledge the gave me was enough for me to go into court and represent myself effectively! She is not a crook or a scam artist out to take advantage of you, she genuinely cares about you and wants you to come out victorious, whether you do or do not use her. I highly recommend her, because not only is she sweet, kind and caring, she is upfront, honesty and to the point – exactly what a lawyer should be! She is definitely an asset to the Atlanta area attorneys and to any client who should choose to use her! There is no better option.

Erin Saved My License!!!

I was arrested for DUI in July, and it was a very scary and stressful time. Erin was able to turn all of that around for me.

The video of my arrest was terrible…after watching what I could stomach, it was apparent that Erin had her work cut out for her. My case was very complicated, and there were several factors that made it difficult to win. In court, it was very clear that Erin is highly respected among her peers. Erin was able to guide me through this tough time, while keeping my driving status in tact, not to mention avoiding jail time! I appreciate Erin’s hard work and dedication.

The best call I ever made

I found myself in a bit of a bind and needed someone that knew the system and could respond quickly. Erin turned on a dime to get me out of the immediate situation I was in and then worked with me to resolve the larger issues with in a month. I have her number in my cell phone and gave it to my family and friends so they know who to call if something goes wrong.