While marijuana legalization is appearing on more ballots nationwide, Georgia is still tough on pot and a strong enforcer of marijuana possession laws. In Georgia, even a first possession of marijuana charge is generally a misdemeanor, as long as it is under an ounce. Possession of more than an ounce of marijuanais a felony, along with selling and growing.
Possession of Marijuana Punishments
Knowing your options when defending a marijuana case can mean the difference in having a criminal record forever and having a clean record within a matter of months. In addition to drug screens, probation time, and heavy fines and surcharges, pleading guilty to a marijuana charge will suspend your driver's license in Georgia.
Avoiding a Marijuana Conviction
Some possible options for those facing first marijuana charges include pleading under Georgia's conditional discharge statute, Georgia's first offender statute, a "hold and clear", a pretrial diversion program, and pleading down to reduced charges. There are benefits and pitfalls to each of these outcomes, and going over all of your options with your defense attorney is essential. Generally, all of these options will help your situation, while some are definitely more advantageous than others.
Of course, in any criminal prosecution, the prosecutor must prove your guilt and also prove that all evidence was legally seized or discovered. We frequently challenge the legitimacy of searches, warrants, and traffic stops when fighting pot charges. Generally, if your vehicle was stopped, the cops must show that you were committing a traffic violation in order to validate the stop. If approached on foot, cops must show a reasonable basis to believe you had recently, or were in the process of committing a crime, or that the encounter was consensual. If finding marijuana involved a search of your home, the cops must generally show they had a valid warrant or exception to the warrant requirement to search your home.
We Are Marijuana Defense Lawyers
At Zeliff|Watson, we have defended hundreds of marijuana possession cases from simple possession to trafficking. Whether it's your first or fifth possession charge, we have the experience to analyze your case and negotiate for the best outcome given the circumstances. Both Mr. Zeliff and Mr. Watson attend criminal defense specific training annually and keep up-to-date on the latest marijuana defense laws and cases.
If you have been charged with possession of marijuana, give us a call directly at (770) 676-1340 or email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org for a case consultation.