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Cobb County Criminal Defense Lawyer / Blog / Drug Crimes / An Overview of Georgia Drug Trafficking Laws

An Overview of Georgia Drug Trafficking Laws


Being charged with drug trafficking in the state of Georgia is nothing to take lightly. Odds are, you’re feeling scared, confused about what might happen during trial, and wondering if there is any way to reduce or eliminate your sentence so you can move on with your life.

A trained criminal defense lawyer will know how to navigate the legal system, fight drug trafficking charges, and represent your case in a way that will yield the best results possible. There are many intricate laws detailed in the Georgia legal code that may help lessen your prison time, or even indefinitely suspend your sentence.

This guide will detail Georgia drug trafficking laws so you know what you or a loved one are dealing with, and what might be done in various situations to move toward the best outcome. This will help you understand what might happen at trial and what the possible consequences could be, as well as what your options are.

Drug trafficking is a serious crime. The reality, at least in Georgia, is that whether you are charged with drug trafficking depends solely on the amount of a substance found on your person at the time of arrest. Even if there is little or no evidence that you were transporting the drugs anywhere, this is the case.

For example, anyone found with 28 grams of a substance that is at least 10% cocaine can be charged with drug trafficking. It doesn’t matter whether the person is smuggling, selling, transporting, or simply using the drugs in question. Drug trafficking is a felony conviction and carries heavier sentencing than drug possession alone. Anyone charged with drug trafficking in Georgia will need a good criminal defense attorney to help navigate the process.

What is Drug Trafficking?

In general, drug trafficking is defined as manufacturing, transporting, selling, or having an illegal substance in more significant quantities than would typically be needed for use alone. Some legal substances may also lead to a charge of drug trafficking if enough of the substance is found and suspected that it’s being used in a way that is not in line with its intended use. Prescription pain medications are a common legal drug that is trafficked.

Although in many states proving drug trafficking vs. possession requires additional circumstantial evidence such as scales or business paraphernalia, in Georgia, it depends mainly on the amount of a substance found. This will vary depending on the substance in question.

For heroin, morphine, opium, and opium-related drugs, the limit is 4 grams, while the trafficking limit for marijuana is 10 pounds. Keep in mind that those found in possession of smaller amounts can still be charged with drug possession. Possession of any amount of an illegal substance is considered a crime.

What Kind of Drugs Can be Trafficked?

Drugs are broken up into categories (schedules) to identify their potential for causing harm. Schedule I and II drugs elicit the most severe charges. Schedule I drugs have a high chance of being abused with no known medical uses. Schedule II drugs have a high chance of being abused and causing dependence but may have medical uses with restrictions.

Schedule III, IV, and V drugs have less chance of being abused, but they may or may not lead to dependence. These less severe drugs usually have known medical uses when taken in the proper doses and under a doctor’s supervision.

What are the Charges for Drug Trafficking?

The charges you may be facing will depend on the amount and type of drug found in your possession. Harder drugs, such as heroin or cocaine, generally carry more severe penalties than marijuana, for instance. The more of a substance found, the more severe the penalty as well. For instance, if you are found with more than 28 grams of cocaine, but less than 200 grams, you will be sentenced to at least a minimum term of 10 years in prison and a $200,000 fine. This escalates to 15 years and $300,000 for 201-400 grams, and 25 years and $1,000,000 for 401 grams and up.

Opium and other drugs have a similar sentencing structure. Possession of schedule I and II drugs carry up to a 40-year prison term and up to $1,000,000 in fines. If you’re found in possession of Schedule III, IV, or V drugs without medical warrant, then you could face up to 10 years in prison.

Getting Help from a Criminal Defense Lawyer

Drug laws in Georgia are too complex to risk attempting to fight them without the help of an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Andrew L. Schwartz understands the complexities of the law and can help you have the best chance of avoiding serious penalties.

Andrew Schwartz Law has been serving Cobb County with experienced, proven legal defense strategies for years. We specialize in DUI cases and drug-related offenses, traffic crimes, and general criminal defense.

We do more than provide you with a knowledgeable Atlanta Criminal Defense Lawyer — we hold steadfast in defense of your rights as a citizen. Reach out to us now and get your free consultation.

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