What is a Drug Lawyer?
A drug lawyer is a criminal defense attorney that specializes in the defense of crimes related to drugs, such as drug trafficking or possession of illegal substances. Not only is this individual experienced in defending drug crimes, but they also know the laws of the specific county or state they practice in, they will know the court system and the judges, and they will be able to guide you through this process every step of the way.
It is critical to have a defense lawyer when dealing with drug crimes because they will be able to provide legal advice whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. They will know the law and know how to navigate the law.
Common Types of Drug Crimes
In Cobb County and the surrounding Atlanta area, there are many different drug crime charges one may find themselves dealing with. Along with trafficking and possession, there are charges for the manufacturing of illegal substances and the distribution of said substances. Cobb County has very strict laws when it comes to drug offenses, and these drug laws carry hefty consequences when taken to court.
Drugs are classified based into five different categories that are based on their accepted medical use and the ability for dependence or abuse. The different classifications include:
- Schedule I: drugs that are not accepted for medical use and have a high potential for abuse. This includes heroin, LSD, marijuana, and ecstasy.
- Schedule II: these drugs have a high potential for abuse, which may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence, and are considered to be extremely dangerous. Schedule II drugs consist of cocaine, methamphetamine, oxycodone, fentanyl, and Adderall.
- Schedule III: these drugs have moderate to low potential for abuse and include substances like Ketamine, anabolic steroids, or testosterone.
- Schedule IV: substances with low potential for any type of dependence or abuse such as Ambien, Valium or Xanax.
- Schedule V: these drugs have a lower potential for abuse than Schedule IV and include substances like Lyrica.
Depending on the specific drug that a person has and how much of it, the specific consequence for drug possession, trafficking, manufacturing, or distribution will vary.
Drug Possession Charges
A person can be charged with a variety of drug possession charges if there is an illegal drug on their person, if they are in the car with illegal substances, or if it can be proved that the individual has “actual” or “constructive” possession of the drug. This means that a person does not have to physically be holding the substance for a drug conviction to occur.
If an individual is in possession of less than an ounce of a substance for personal use, he or she will be charged with a misdemeanor and may be sentenced to up to a year in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000. If they are in possession of more than an ounce for personal use, they could be dealing with 1-10 years of jail time and up to $5,000 in fines.
Consequences for the possession of drugs increase significantly if there is intent to sell involved, but all criminal cases that include intent to sell will be deemed felony charges regardless of the amount.
- If a person is in possession of 10 pounds of less, they may face 1-10 years of jail time with up to $5,000 in fines.
- 10-2,000 pounds of illegal drugs may result in jail time of 5-30 years with up to $100,000 in fines.
- 2,000-10,000 pounds is a 7-30 year jail sentence with a $250,000 fine.
- Any amount over 10,000 pounds will warrant 15 to 30 years of imprisonment with a maximum fine amount of $1,000,000.
- A person who is in possession of drugs with intent to sell, regardless of the amount, and is within 1,000 feet of a school, park, housing project, or drug-free zone will be sentenced to a minimum of 5-40 years in jail and have to pay a fine of up to $40,000.
In each of these instances, the lowest number of years a person can receive for possession of drugs with intent to sell will be the required minimum time served.
Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
Drug paraphernalia is classified as equipment, accessories, or products that is intended for making, using, or concealing illegal drugs for recreational uses. In the state of Georgia, the possession of such things is charged as a misdemeanor and can result in up to 1 year of jail time and a $1,000 fine.
Types of Cobb County Drug Crime Charges We Defend
Drug Trafficking Charges
Though drug trafficking is often confused with possession of drugs with the intent to sell, the key difference lies in the quantity. Drug trafficking charges are much more severe because of the larger amount of illegal substances that are involved in these drug crime cases. In these criminal charges, trafficking is defined based on the specific drug.
Any person who sells, manufactures, delivers, or travels with 28 grams or more of cocaine is considered to be trafficking cocaine. An individual in possession of 28-200 grams of cocaine will be charged with at least 10 years of jail time and must pay a fine of up to $200,000. 200 to 400 grams carries a minimum of 15 years jail time and a $300,000 fine. Any amount over 400 grams will result in a sentence of 25 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine.
Heroin trafficking is defined as the selling, manufacturing, or delivery of heroin over 4 grams, and is punishable by 5 years prison time and a $50,000 fine if the amount falls between 4 and 14 grams. Anything over 14 results in a minimum of 10 years and $100,000.
Though the federal laws and state laws of marijuana use, possession, and trafficking are constantly changing as more and more states decriminalize or legalize the substance, Cobb County defines marijuana trafficking as the selling, possession, manufacturing, or delivery of 10 pounds or more of marijuana. Though the possession of marijuana under an ounce is no longer a punishable crime, anything over 10 pounds is considered drug trafficking and will be charged under criminal law as a felony.
Possession of marijuana between 10 and 2,000 pounds will result in a mandatory minimum of 5 years in jail and a $100,000 fine. 2,000 to 10,000 pounds leads to 7 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Anything over 10,000 pounds and a person will be charged with a minimum of 15 years in prison and a fine of $1,000,000.
Because the laws of marijuana use and possession differ between county and state, it is critical to be aware of your areas laws on marijuana use and possession so that you know what is and is not a felony charge.
Methamphetamine trafficking takes place when a person is in possession, manufacturing, selling, or delivering 28 grams or more of meth or amphetamines. 28 to 200 grams will lead to 10 years of prison time and a $200,000 fine. 200-400 grams will result in 15 years and $300,000, and anything over 400 grams leads to 25 years in jail and a fine of $1,000,000.
Finding a Lawyer for Felony Drug Charges
When it comes to legal defense for any type of drug charge, it is critical to work with a drug crime defense lawyer who is experienced in this practice area and is able to provide you with legal advice, representation, a trustworthy attorney-client relationship, and guidance throughout this entire process. A felony charge is no joke and will remain on your criminal record forever. The best thing you can do in this situation is to find a criminal defense lawyer, be completely open and honest with them, and allow the professionals to work through your defense.
Rick Christian is an experienced lawyer who has taken on thousands of cases and can help you with yours. He is a respected, well-known lawyer, helping people across Cobb County and Metro Atlanta to face their drug-related charges head-on. His law firm provides constant support and will work to ensure that you are taken care of throughout this entire process.
Schedule a consultation today to discuss your specific case and the options that you have when it comes to your legal defense.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Misdemeanor Drug Charges?
Though a misdemeanor appears less severe than a felony, having a legal defense team on your side is the smartest decision that you can make when it comes to your case. Not only can your lawyer navigate the laws and help prepare a defense that is in your best favor, but they can also review the details of your case and look for things that may get your case dismissed (like illegal searches).
A lawyer’s job is to know and understand your county and state laws so that they are better able to sway a jury or judge in your favor, which may lead to decreased penalties if you are found guilty of the use or possession of a controlled substance. Your lawyer will know how to challenge any evidence against you, they can present the strongest case possible in your defense strategy, and they may be able to negotiate less severe consequences in the end.
Will Going to a Drug Rehab Help My Case?
In some cases, drug crimes and associated legal issues may be caused by underlying substance abuse conditions. Your lawyer may be able to negotiate a stay at a rehab facility in lieu of lengthy jail times. If the cause of your drug charge is due to an underlying condition, they may be able to argue that you were not in your right mind when making the decision and that a substance abuse program or rehab facility will be more effective than jail.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a drug crime due to possible underlying conditions, getting help from a qualified rehab facility is critical. The following resources may point you in the direction of the help you need:
Call Rick Christian for legal help today, and find a treatment program that best addresses your needs.