Facing a Felony Drug Possession Charge

Georgia has very strict laws regarding illegal drugs, but the severity of the consequences for felony drug possession may vary depending on a number of factors, including which county you were arrested in, whether you’ve been arrested before, whether you are already on probation and the amount of drugs discovered in your possession.

Challenging felony drug possession in Fulton County

In Georgia, the possession of any schedule of controlled substances can result in a felony charge — the only exception is possession of marijuana less than an ounce, which can be charged as a misdemeanor. If convicted of a felony you could be facing more than a year in prison, very high court fines, community service, expensive drug abuse treatment, a license suspension and a drug conviction on your permanent record. If this is your first drug possession arrest, your primary goal is going to be to keep a felony conviction from being reported on your criminal record, and there are multiple avenues to pursue in challenging the charge.

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A crucial aspect of evaluating the quality of the government’s drug possession case is a close analysis of the search the police conducted prior to discovering drugs, as many drug charges are dismissed as the result of an unlawful search or seizure. Often drug possession charges start with a basic traffic stop; the driver is pulled over for something as common as failure to obey a traffic control device. The officer makes contact with the driver and over the course of the traffic investigation, the officer usually will either (1) detect the odor of marijuana – or some other illegal substance; or (2) request and/or demand permission to search the car. In some instances, the police will conduct an unlawful search by coercing an individual to give “voluntary” consent to search; sometimes they will simply search without consent at all. There are also reasons to question the reliability of K-9 drug dog searches. Only a close study of what occurred prior to, during and after the search will expose potential weaknesses of the case.

Attacking the validity of the search is not the only method available for beating a drug possession charge. Many people overlook opportunities to challenge the forensic analysis of the drug itself. Drug analysis is not a perfect science, however, since it is a science, many people, including attorneys are easily intimidated by the science involved, and they ignore viable challenges to possibly flawed evidence.

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.

For example, a young woman was 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!

 

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Attorney Erin H. Gerstenzang

Criminal defense for felony drug possession

The prosecutor is not going to assume responsibility for identifying weaknesses in their own case. Often, they will not investigate evidence of their case unless and until you hire a qualified drug attorney; since most prosecutors are responsible for hundreds of cases, if you go to court without a lawyer, there is tacit assumption that your case will result in an easy conviction.

If you are facing a felony drug possession charge, Attorney Erin Gerstenzang can help you understand the consequences you may be facing, and what you can do to avoid harsh penalties. With offices located in Atlanta, Erin frequently attends court not only in the local metro-Atlanta area (Fulton County), but also in many surrounding counties, including regular appearances in Cherokee, Cobb, Gwinnett, DeKalb, and Paulding counties, and has successfully handled a wide variety of drug charges in all areas.

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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.

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