Is Possession Of A Controlled Substance A Felony In Georgia?

by | Aug 1, 2022

Drugs are found everywhere in our society, and while most are illegal, some are considered a less serious offense when found in possession of someone being arrested.

Any substances that are deemed controlled substances by the federal government and listed in the DEA’s Scheduled Substances list are also illegal under Georgia state law (The Georgia Controlled Substances Act).

Many illegal drugs are considered misdemeanor offenses; however, some are considered more serious and are designated felonies. Being convicted of a misdemeanor possession offense will come with much more lenient penalties than a felony, as well as lower potential fines.

From our team of Marietta drug crime defense lawyers at the Frye Law Group, here’s what you need to know about controlled substance offenses in Georgia.

 

Understanding the Georgia Controlled Substances Act

 

The Georgia Controlled Substances Act (OCGA § 16-13-1) lists all controlled substances that are illegal to possess in the state of Georgia. These substances are classified into five “schedules” based on their potential for abuse, medical use, and safety concerns. The schedules are as follows:

  • Schedule I: These substances are considered to have the highest potential for abuse and no
  • Schedule I: Drugs with the highest potential for abuse and no currently accepted medical use (e.g., heroin, LSD).
  • Schedule II: Drugs with a high potential for abuse but some accepted medical use (e.g., oxycodone, cocaine).
  • Schedule III: Drugs with a moderate potential for abuse and some accepted medical use (e.g., codeine, some steroids).
  • Schedule IV: Drugs with a low potential for abuse and some accepted medical use (e.g., Xanax, Valium).
  • Schedule V: Drugs with the lowest potential for abuse and accepted medical use (e.g., some cough syrups).

This classification system plays a significant role in determining the severity of possession charges in Georgia.

 

Possession Charges: Felony vs. Misdemeanor

 

Possession of a controlled substance in Georgia can be charged as either a felony or misdemeanor offense, depending on the type and amount of drug found in possession. The penalties for these offenses vary significantly, with felonies carrying much harsher consequences.

Felony Possession

In Georgia, getting caught with illegal drugs typically results in felony charges. This is especially true for drugs with a high potential for abuse, classified under Schedules I and II of the Controlled Substances Act (like heroin or cocaine). No matter how much of these substances you have, possession is a felony and could lead to serious penalties like prison time.

Misdemeanor Possession

There is one main exception to the felony rule: possession of a small amount of marijuana (less than one ounce). This is considered a misdemeanor offense, which generally carries less severe penalties like jail time, fines, or probation. It’s important to remember that even a misdemeanor possession charge can have lasting consequences, so it’s always best to consult with a lawyer if you’re facing drug charges.

 

Seeking Legal Counsel

 

If you or someone you know is facing charges for possession of a controlled substance in Georgia, it’s essential to seek legal counsel as soon as possible. A skilled and experienced attorney can help navigate the complex Georgia drug possession laws and the potential consequences associated with these charges. They may also be able to negotiate a plea deal or potentially get the charges reduced or dismissed.

At the Frye Law Group, our team of dedicated and knowledgeable lawyers is here to provide effective defense strategies for drug possession charges. We understand the seriousness of these offenses and will work tirelessly to protect your rights and achieve the best possible outcome for your case. Contact us today for a consultation.