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Is drug possession a felony or misdemeanor in Georgia?

On Behalf of | Mar 20, 2024 | Drug Charges |

When you are accused of possessing a controlled substance in Georgia, you can either be charged with a felony or a misdemeanor offense. A conviction of either can result in serious legal penalties, so it helps to understand what is at stake.

On the face of it, a misdemeanor is a less serious charge. Misdemeanor offenses do not generally come with lengthy prison terms or steep fines. You may be jailed for up to 12 months or fined up to $1,000 or both if convicted of a misdemeanor. For felonies, on the other hand, you could be looking at years in prison and heavier fines if you are found guilty.

The determining factors

The classification of the offense depends on the type and amount of the drug in question. For example, possession of one ounce or less is considered a misdemeanor. Any more than that, and you could be charged with a felony.

Possession of other substances like cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine are typically classified as felonies, with the severity of the charge often tied to the quantity of the drug involved.

Potential defense strategies when facing possession charges

You can potentially use various defenses when facing a drug possession charge, be it a felony or misdemeanor, depending on the circumstances. For example, you could challenge the legality of the search that led to the drug discovery or other violation of your rights and ask the court to toss out the evidence.

Medical necessity could also be a defense if you have a valid reason for possessing the drugs. You can also argue you were not aware of the drugs in question and had no control over them. The circumstances of your case will inform the best defense strategy for achieving your desirable outcome. That’s one reason why seeking legal guidance early is so important.