What Evidence is Required to Convict Someone of Drug Trafficking in Georgia?
The term drug trafficking actually covers a wide range of criminal activities, including everything from manufacturing or transporting to selling and distributing a controlled substance. Even possession of certain amounts of a substance can result in charges of drug trafficking. However, to obtain a conviction, the state will need to present key pieces of evidence and prove that they are connected to the defendant’s case. Read on to learn more about the kinds of evidence that are required to obtain a drug trafficking conviction in Georgia.
There are two main elements that the state must prove in order to secure a drug trafficking conviction in Georgia. The first is possession, which means that there must have been a trace of the illegal substance in question in the accused’s possession, on his or her person, or within a confined space that that person controls. The primary evidence of possession will be officer testimony from the time of arrest, photos from the scene of the arrest, and the actual evidence obtained. If, however, the police didn’t have a warrant, or the search or seizure was otherwise illegal, a defendant could have the entirety of the evidence obtained at the scene suppressed by the court.
Proof of Intent Not Required
In many states, prosecutors must establish that a person was not only in possession of a controlled substance, but that he or she intended to distribute it in order to secure a drug trafficking conviction. Potential evidence could include scales, evidence of sales, baggies, or correspondence between the defendant and buyers. This, however, is not required in Georgia. Instead, if the state can prove possession and the amount of the substance in question is over a minimum weight, then a defendant can be charged with trafficking.
To make charges of drug trafficking stick, Georgia prosecutors must also be able to establish that the accused had a significant amount of the illegal substance in his or her possession. Prosecutors, for instance, would be hard pressed to convict someone of drug trafficking when that individual only had a couple of ounces of marijuana on his or her person. How much someone must have in order to be convicted of drug trafficking in Georgia depends on the type of substance in question. For instance, prosecutors must be able to prove that a person had at least 28 grams of, or a mixture that is at least ten percent cocaine to convict someone of trafficking in this substance. A far lower amount of heroin (four grams) could support charges of drug trafficking, while the limit for marijuana is ten pounds.
To overcome this presumption, a defendant could file a motion to inspect the evidence, which in turn could reveal that the weight of a substance doesn’t actually meet the state’s minimum requirements. Again, casting doubt on the legality of a search or seizure can also result in this evidence being suppressed.
Get Help from an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer
There is a lot at stake for those who are accused of drug trafficking in Georgia, which adheres to strict mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines. Call experienced Cobb County drug trafficking lawyer Andrew L. Schwartz, P.C. to get started on your defense today.