Why you need a qualified drug crimes lawyer if charged with drug trafficking
Overall, Georgia has among the strictest drug laws in the U.S. Of course, some charges are more severe than others. Among the most serious of drug crimes is drug trafficking, which is generally defined as the crime of possessing, selling, transporting, or illegally importing unlawful controlled substances or prescription drugs over an amount specified by law.
Georgia’s laws mirror federal statutes in most cases., and while it is similar to drug possession, drug trafficking is a felony. So, yes: you need a skilled, knowledgeable, and aggressive attorney if you have been charged for drug trafficking because—while they vary depending on the drug “schedule”, and the amount—penalties for a conviction may include:
- Possession (trafficking) of any Schedule I or narcotic Schedule II drugs: punishable with 5-30 years in prison. Subsequent convictions are punishable with 10-40 years or life in prison. According to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Schedule I drugs are defined as “drugs with no currently accepted medical use, and a high potential for abuse.” Schedule II drugs are considered dangerous as they have a “high potential for abuse” that may lead to “severe psychological or physical dependence.” Examples of schedule II drugs are Vicodin, cocaine, methamphetamine, fentanyl, and oxycodone/OxyContin.
- Possession (trafficking) of Schedule III, IV, or V drugs: punishable by 1-10 years in prison. Subsequent convictions are punishable with 1-10 years in prison. These include drugs that have a moderate to lower potential for abuse and/or physical or psychological dependence.
The only real difference between drug trafficking, and possession with intent to distribute is generally the amount. In the case of marijuana, if it is about an ounce or so, it will be construed as more than possession for personal use; but it could be considered enough for possession with intent to distribute. However, laws can be tricky. With cocaine, for instance, the amount of drug is tied to its purity; ergo, if the cocaine is less than 10 percent pure, the “weight” would be less than cocaine that is more than 10 percent pure. The Court would assess the percentage of purity, and multiply it by the weight you were carrying to come up with an appropriate sentence.
Other factors that impact penalties include “enhancements,” in which the judge may increase the penalty because of circumstances beyond the trafficking charges. For example, the trafficking took place within 1,000 feet of a school or other “drug-free” zone. In that case, the Court could very well increase (enhance) the jail sentence, fines, or other punishments.
A drug trafficking charge must be taken seriously because the consequences can be severe. Being found with just seven teaspoons of meth carries a mandatory minimum drug trafficking sentence of 10 years. If the quantity is 400 grams or more, the mandatory minimum sentence is 25 years plus a $1 million fine.
Punishments for trafficking marijuana, cocaine, and other illegal drugs can be equally serious. Busted for trafficking marijuana? If it involves 10 pounds or more, you could be looking at a minimum five year prison term plus a $100,000. In fact, a violation of any provision of Georgia Code § 16-13-31 can lead to “an applicable mandatory minimum punishment, and for not more than 30 years of imprisonment, and by a fine not to exceed $1 million.”
If federal drug trafficking charges are leveled, expect the penalties to be even more extreme. For example, being convicted for a trafficking charge for five kilograms (about 11 pounds) of cocaine, and you could be imprisoned from 10 years to life, and be fined up to $10 million—and that is for a first offense.
As your qualified drug possession, and drug trafficking lawyer, we leave no stone unturned in finding flaws in the prosecution’s case, including improper police procedure, improper search, and seizure, lack of drug possession evidence (including “constructive possession”), or mistakes in the testing or chain of custody of the evidence. If your rights were violated, we will seek to have your case dismissed by winning a Motion to Suppress, and preventing the State from using certain evidence against you in a trial.
If you have been charged with a drug crime, we urge you to contact us immediately by calling our office at (706) 438-1555. You have the right to an attorney, and it is in your best interest to talk to a lawyer before you talk to the police. It is common to ask, “where can I find a drug lawyer near me who can help?” We are located in Morgan County, and handle cases in courts in Greene County, Jasper County, Putnam County, Newton, and Taliaferro Counties.
Don’t talk to the police until you talk to us
If you are facing a drug charge, you feel like you’re facing an uncertain future. We provide the steady hand, and clear strategic thinking you need following an arrest. Let our trial-tested drug crimes defense lawyer use his experience, and insight to positively impact your case, and get you the best possible results. For a free, and confidential consultation, and to discuss your immediate needs, contact us online or call us at (706) 438-1555.