Skilled Sales and Distribution Offense Attorney in Morgan County, Georgia

drug and sale distribution attorney

Georgia Sales and Distribution Attorney

Drugs are a major part of the American economy, especially when you add up all the money that goes into research and development, manufacturing, transportation, advertising, healthcare costs for prescriptions, and over-the-counter purchases. Because of concerns about public health and safety—not to mention the interests of the pharmaceutical industry—every aspect of this business, from clinical trials to television ads, is overseen by federal and state regulatory bodies. 

For instance, anyone who is given authority to handle or deal with medical products or devices must adhere to strict practice and licensing procedures. This includes physicians, pharmacists, medical personnel, healing arts practitioners, drug manufacturers, and sales representatives. The regulations under the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act are meant to protect the public from unsafe drugs or medical devices.

On a parallel track, there are federal and state laws on the books that attempt to control the unauthorized possession, sale, or distribution of drugs considered to be illegal or dangerous. In brief, this includes any drug that has no legitimate medical benefit (for instance, heroin or cocaine) and drugs that you can only get with an authorized medical prescription (such as OxyContin).  When you face charges for the sale of illegal drugs, you need a skilled and knowledgeable drug and sales distribution attorney from Michael Fulcher Law to help.

The current status of “recreational drugs”—substances with mind- or mood-altering effects that are pleasurable—is murky, especially since there is no consensus about which drugs or substances should be classified as such. Federal and state laws don’t recognize recreational drugs as a category. Instead, any substance that does not have a recognized medical use, such as ecstasy, LSD, MDMA, and marijuana, is usually classified under the Controlled Substances schedules—which makes them illegal.

What is a controlled substance in Georgia?

The Georgia Controlled Substances Act defines several classes of drugs as controlled substances, including narcotics, stimulants, depressants, hallucinogens, and marijuana. Although several states have removed marijuana from their list of illegal controlled substances, the status of this drug has not changed in Georgia. In fact, it still is classified as a Schedule I controlled substance, with the same potential for abuse as heroin.

The following is an overview of how medications and dangerous drugs are classified by the Controlled Substance Act using Schedules I through V: 

  • Schedule I: Drugs with no accepted medical use and high potential for abuse, such as heroin, marijuana, ecstasy, LSD, peyote, and other hallucinogens.
  • Schedule II: Drugs with high potential for abuse and extreme psychological or physical dependence, such as cocaine, fentanyl, morphine, methamphetamine, oxycodone, Adderall, and Ritalin.
  • Schedule III: Drugs with moderate potential for psychological or physical dependence, such as codeine, ketamine, steroids, and testosterone.
  • Schedule IV: Drugs with low risk of abuse or dependence, such as Xanax, Valium, Ambien, and Tramadol.
  • Schedule V: Drugs with low risk of abuse or dependence that contain limited amounts of narcotics, such as certain brands of cough medicine.

The Georgia legal system has strict laws for drug crimes, especially those that involve the sale and distribution of dangerous drugs. Enforcing these laws is not easy and figuring out appropriate penalties is complicated by mandatory sentencing guidelines that give judges less leeway in how they will adjudicate these cases. For instance, a conviction for selling heroin is an automatic felony with a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 5 years, with the option to extend that to 30 years. The sentence for a second offense is life imprisonment.

In addition, the court’s final determination is usually influenced by a host of mitigating factors, including how the drug is classified (Schedule I versus Schedule V), the amount of the substance in question, prior arrest history, and the circumstances of the arrest. If there is any indication that the defendant was intending to distribute or sell the drugs, the punishment immediately becomes more serious and is treated as a felony. 

The state also imposes stringent penalties for certain Schedule IV drugs that can be used to cause egregious injury to another person. An example of this is Rohypnol, a powerful tranquilizer commonly known as “roofies” or the “date rape drug.” Although it is technically a Schedule IV controlled substance, Georgia courts will use Schedule I or II guidelines when they are sentencing someone for a Rohypnol drug offense.

Georgia drug laws are complicated. This is why it’s so important to secure the representation of a seasoned sales and distribution offense attorney who understands how the system in Georgia defines and prosecutes the different types of drug crimes. Working with a law firm that can help you present a strong case is your best chance at getting a fair trial and minimizing the penalties you’re facing. Contact your drug and sale distribution attorney and learn how to protect your freedom and future.

Is sales and distribution of drugs a serious offense in Georgia?

It is against the law to possess illegal drugs in Georgia. Even if you were planning to use the substance yourself, acquiring a drug through an illegal, unregulated channel, particularly if it has the potential for abuse, is against the law. This means that if law enforcement discovers even a very small amount of a controlled substance on your person, in your car, or at your residence, you could be charged with simple possession—which is a felony, with the exception of marijuana, which is a misdemeanor if under one ounce. 

However, if the arresting officers had any reason to suspect that you were going to give these drugs to someone else, you could be hit with possession with intention to distribute. This will complicate things enormously since the penalties are much higher for these offenses and more likely to involve prison time. 

Further, if there is a possibility that you were intending to sell the drugs, the charges—and penalties—will be even more severe, with attendant high fines and likely jail time. Even if you claim that you didn’t have any intention to distribute or sell, the court might make these inferences based on circumstantial evidence. For instance, the district attorney might argue that the amount of the drug you had on your person was above and beyond what someone would have for personal consumption and make assumptions about your intentions from there. 

Why do sales and distribution offenses carry more weight than possession under Georgia legal statutes? The rationale is that these activities have the potential to cause harm to others and should have serious consequences. Substance abuse can have deleterious effects on the drug user’s personal health and family life and is often tied to other criminal activities. Therefore, the state makes it a crime to facilitate illegal drug use, even if this involves giving someone a controlled substance at their request. Georgia courts consider it an even worse crime when someone tries to make a profit from this activity, especially if they can prove that the offender made the sale knowing that it would put others at a risk of harm. 

No one disputes the fact that substance abuse and addiction is a public health crisis, one that has no easy answers. Imposing harsh punishments for sales and distribution offenses has been the state’s response to the problem. If you are facing these charges in Morgan County, it is imperative that you contact a distribution and sales offense attorney immediately. You need a lawyer knowledgeable about Georgia drug offenses who will take a comprehensive look at your case in order to negotiate the best resolution for you and your family.

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When you need a lawyer after being charged with a DUI or criminal offense or as you explore your options for filing a personal injury claim, look no further than Michael Fulcher Law’s impressive background, and ultra-attentive client service. To learn more about how we can help you achieve the best legal solution possible for your circumstances, call our criminal defense law firm at (706) 438-1555 or contact us online, and schedule your free consultation today.

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Penalties for sales and distribution of drugs

The 4 most common illegal drug offenses are simple possession, possession with intent to distribute, possession with intent to sell, and drug trafficking. Simple possession can be a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the substance; the other charges are considered more serious felonies, and as such, are punished more severely. Penalties will also depend on several other factors such as drug classification, amounts involved, and prior conviction history. 

Simple possession – Typically, this is being in possession of a ‘personal use’ amount.  It is possible to arrange for a Conditional Discharge that may not result in a permanent conviction if completed successfully. The courts would rather not send someone to prison if they are clearly no threat to the community and are willing to stay on the straight and narrow moving forward. There are terms and conditions with this program:

  • This was a first offense
  • The defendant participates in a drug rehabilitation program or counseling.
  • The defendant completes any community service as ordered by the court
  • Successfully completes a period of probation, typically between 6 months and 3 years.

If the defendant successfully complies with all the conditions of the Conditional Discharge (a process that can take several years), charges will be dismissed. Failure to do so results in the maximum recommended sentence. 

Possession with intent to distribute or sell – Both of these are felony crimes. Legal penalties depend on the classification of the drug in question. Below are the general guidelines for sentencing per Georgia Code O.C.G.A. 16-13-30; penalties for highly dangerous drugs may be stricter.

  • Schedule I or narcotic Schedule II substances – First offense: 5 to 30 years imprisonment; second offense: up to 30 years 
  • Non-narcotic Schedule II substances – First offense: 2 to 15 years imprisonment; second offense: 5 to 30 years
  • Schedule III, IV, V substances and Marijuana – First offense: 1 to 10 years imprisonment

Penalties for marijuana offenses in Georgia

In 2022, more than half of the states in this country have changed their laws regarding the personal or medical use of marijuana, a controlled substance that has had Schedule I status in federal and state codes. Georgia has not done so. Below are current guidelines the courts follow in marijuana cases.

Simple Possession 

  • 1 oz or less: Misdemeanor, up to 12 months in jail and $1,000 fine
  • More than 1 oz: Felony, 1 -10 years to be served in prison, on probation, or some combination of both; up to a $5,000 fine

Possession with intent to distribute or sell

  • 10 lbs. or less: Felony, 1 -10 years to be served in prison, on probation, or some combination of both; up to a $5,000 fine
  • 10 to 2,000 lbs.: Felony, with mandatory minimum of 5 years imprisonment with option of up to 30 years; $100,000 fine
  • 2,000 to 10,000 lbs.: Felony, with mandatory minimum of 7 years imprisonment with option of up to 30 years; $250,000 fine
  • More than 10,000 lbs.: Felony, with mandatory minimum of 15 years imprisonment with option of up to 30 years; 1 million dollars fine

Intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of a drug-free zone, school, park, or housing project is a felony with a mandatory minimum of 5 years and a $40,000 fine. It is also a prosecutable felony to grow marijuana in Georgia. Any transaction that involves a minor—for instance, giving some pot to someone who is under 18 years of age—is a felony punishable by 5 to 20 years in jail and a $20,000 fine. It is even illegal to own “paraphernalia” that could be used to smoke marijuana such as rolling papers or a pipe.

Will possession of marijuana for personal use ever be decriminalized in Georgia? It might happen, but probably not anytime soon. Penalties for transferring large amounts, presumably with the intent to sell, won’t change, either. Walton County defense attorneys who represent clients convicted of marijuana drug offenses understand how many variables can enter into the deliberations in these cases. 

Marijuana cases are not simple. If you are facing a marijuana drug charge, make an appointment with an experienced sales and distribution offense lawyer at Michael Fulcher Law as soon as possible. You need to do everything possible to minimize the short-term consequences of a conviction—a fine and/or jail time, as well as the long-term consequences a conviction could have on your livelihood, your ability to obtain a loan or mortgage, and your reputation in your community.

FAQs

Yes, it is—but first, the DA must prove that you were planning to give the drugs to other people. These cases commonly start with the discovery that the accused has a quantity of a controlled substance (which is itself a criminal offense) that is judged to be more than they needed for personal consumption.

More severe charges apply if the alleged offense occurred near a designated drug-free zone or close to a school, park, or housing project. This is a felony offense with a hefty $20,000 potential fine, even if it’s a first offense.

When an experienced distribution offense attorney takes on a new case, they will investigate all available options for reducing the charges that have been filed to the misdemeanor level. They will also do what they can to prevent initial charges from escalating.

That word “intent” makes a world of difference in distribution, and sales offense cases. Having an illegal controlled substance in your possession is a criminal offense, but “possession with intent to distribute” is a far more serious offense under Georgia legal statutes.

The charge of “intent to distribute” can be applied if it the accused person had acquired a certain quantity of a controlled substance and

  • Was planning to deliver this product to another person or persons
  • Was planning to transfer this product to a drop-off location so it could be distributed

If there is any indication that the defendant was getting paid to deliver or transfer the drugs, the charge will be jacked up to “intention to sell.” If other people were involved in any of these plans, the DA may try to push the charges to “drug conspiracy.”

Since it is so difficult to find evidential proof for intent to distribute offenses, these charges are often made based on the following reasoning:

  1. The defendant was discovered to have X amount of controlled substance Y
    1. On their person
    2. In their car
      1. They may have been driving on the Interstate to transport substance Y to a person or place for distribution
    3. In their home
  2. X amount is more than a person would use for personal consumption
  3. Since they have so much, they must be planning to disperse it to others

The legal system has adopted this approach in an attempt to nip drug dealing in the bud. If they could stop drugs from being distributed in the community, there would be less opportunity for people to use them, right? This is the justification behind Georgia law enforcement’s aggressive stop, and search activities on the interstate.

If a police officer discovers that someone has 10 pounds of marijuana in the trunk of their car, they might have reason to suspect this person is going to either distribute or sell it. The problem with this approach is clear to any experienced sales, and distribution offense attorney. Presumptions about circumstantial evidence can be inaccurate. Overzealous stop, and search missions can lead to the arrest of people whose only “crime” was being in the wrong place at the wrong time. In addition, the legal statutes for drug crimes have built-in triggers that can quickly change a misdemeanor offense into a felony charge, especially if there are mandatory sentencing guidelines attached.

The drug laws that are currently on the books in the state of Georgia are meant to safeguard the population from the harm caused by dangerous, addictive drugs. In the process, offenders sometimes get less than a fair shake when the court presumes they were acting with an intention to distribute or sell drugs. The penalties for these non-violent offenses can have devastating consequences for those convicted of distribution, and sales of controlled substances, even after they serve jail time, and pay crippling fines. Employment opportunities vanish. People lose their homes or their vehicles. Families end up saddled with debt.

Our courts are also set up to offer legal protections to anyone accused of a crime, and the promise of a fair trial. If you are facing illegal drug charges in Morgan County, you need a reputable sales, and distribution offense lawyer at your side. You have a lot at stake, so make sure you have legal counsel that will aggressively fight for the best outcome for your case.

Schedule your free consultation today!

If you are facing illegal drug sales or distribution charges, your first order of business is finding a sales or distribution offense lawyer with a good track record for representing clients accused of these infractions. Clients are often shocked that the criminal justice system in Georgia views non-violent drug offenses so harshly. Michael Fulcher Law is committed to protecting the legal rights of our clients who have been arrested for possession, intent to distribute, or intent to sell by aggressively pursuing all avenues that can lead to a reduction or even dismissal of charges. Call us today at (706) 438-1555 or contact us online to set up a free consultation.

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“Mr. Fulcher has been tremendously helpful with my case. Since hiring him he has consistently returned my calls as quickly as he can. We discussed an ideal outcome, and I set about doing exactly as he said. Following his advice we were able to get a very favorable outcome. He is always quick to answer any questions, and has stayed very engaged with me throughout this ordeal. Michael provides excellent counsel, and I would recommend him to anyone!”

— TOM

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