Controlled Substance Charge and Drug Charge

Concept for Drug and Controlled Substance Charges - Large group of assorted capsules and pills coming out from bottle on a on white background.

The Georgia Controlled Substances Act contains numerous criminal offenses involving illegal drugs and controlled substances. A conviction can have harsh penalties and can affect your life in other significant ways. When you face any controlled substance charge or drug charges in Georgia, representation by an experienced criminal defense attorney is essential. Our lawyers at Criminal & DUI Law of Georgia aggressively defend clients against all drug and controlled substance charges under state and federal law, regardless of the nature of the offense.

Georgia Drug and Controlled Substance Offenses

Georgia drug laws govern drug offenses ranging from marijuana possession to serious trafficking charges. Legally and factually, drug crimes are often complex. Charges can relate to many different types of conduct involving illegal drugs and controlled substances, including prescription drugs.

Purchase, Possession, or Control of Drugs or Controlled Substances

The Controlled Substances Act covers a wide range of drugs, medications, and precursor chemicals. Schedule 1 drugs include substances like heroin and LSD that are highly addictive and have no accepted medical usage. Schedule 2 drugs have medical use but are highly addictive. Other schedules in the law cover medications and drugs that are less addictive and less likely to be abused.

Under Georgia law, it is a crime to be in possession of an illegal controlled substance or knowingly control an illegal controlled substance, such as having it in your home or car. It is also a crime to purchase or sell an illegal controlled substance.

Unlike many states, Georgia has not legalized marijuana, so marijuana possession can still be the basis of a drug charge. While some Georgia localities have decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana, many others have not. Possession of less than an ounce of marijuana (but only in leafy form) is a misdemeanor under state law. Possession of edibles and other forms of marijuana can be charged as a felony in some cases.

Simple possession of controlled substances may carry less serious consequences than possession with the intent to deliver, or manufacturing and trafficking offenses.

Manufacturing, Delivering, Distributing, and Possession with Intent to Distribute

The next highest level from drug possession includes conduct that involves manufacture, delivery, distribution, dispensing, administration, or selling or possessing with the intent to deliver. Growing marijuana and making crack cocaine or methamphetamine fall into this category.

In general, this level of offense is less serious than trafficking, with the exception of the manufacture of methamphetamines, which can be punished as trafficking.


Trafficking is a more serious offense that is based on the quantity of drugs involved. The law specifies amounts of individual controlled substances that constitute trafficking.

Substances that commonly lead to trafficking charges include morphine, opium, heroin, and certain other derivatives, as well as cocaine and methamphetamine, and marijuana. Trafficking convictions are subject to mandatory minimum sentencing and can carry a significant fine of $100,000 or higher.

Other Drug-Related Offenses

Possession of drug-related objects and paraphernalia may also lead to criminal charges in some circumstances. These items may include objects used to administer illegal controlled substances to a person, enhance the effect of an illegal drug, conceal illegal drugs, or test drugs or controlled substances.

Driving while under the influence of illegal or legal drugs can lead to a DUI charge under Georgia law. A drugged driving violation is every bit as serious as a drunk driving charge arising from use of alcohol.

Penalties for Drug Convictions

A drug charge may be a misdemeanor, misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature, or a felony. Penalties for a conviction range widely, depending on the offense.

In many cases, Georgia allows conditional release or alternative or diversion sentencing for individuals facing a first offense. Conditional release allows probation and removal of the charge from the person’s record after successful completion of the probation.

Penalties for a drug crime vary based on the circumstances, the amount of the drug, classification of the drug, nature of the offense, and the person’s existing criminal record. A misdemeanor conviction carries a potential penalty of up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Potential penalties for a felony include a fine and prison time, with the amounts determined based on the specific violation. For the most serious felony charges, a conviction can carry a potential penalty of up to 40 years or life in prison and a fine of up to $1,000,000. Some offenses include mandatory minimum sentences. In addition, a drug violation can lead to seizure of vehicles and other property in a forfeiture proceeding.

Defending Against a Georgia Drug Charge

No matter what type of drug or controlled substance charge a client faces, the attorneys at Criminal & DUI Law of Georgia provide a vigorous defense. The strategy and options for a particular charge depend significantly on the facts and circumstances of the charge, including the nature of the case and all the events surrounding the arrest. We draw on our extensive experience, knowledge, and skill to analyze the circumstances and law in detail and negotiate with the prosecutor to obtain the best possible result for the client.

Cartersville, Georgia Drug Defense Lawyer

If you face any type of state or federal drug or controlled substance charge, we encourage you to contact us as soon as possible so we can fully protect your rights and defend against the case. We employ the highest standards in client confidentiality and understand the sensitive and private nature of criminal convictions. Rest assured that your case will be handled with unparalleled confidentiality, professionalism, and integrity.

Based in Cartersville, we serve clients throughout Bartow County, Cobb County, Cherokee County, Gordon County, Floyd County and Paulding County. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.