A drug possession charge can happen any time that you are found with illegal drugs, no matter the reason. One of the most basic drug charges, it can often be difficult to know what the repercussions for it will be.

Drug classification

The federal government and each state divides drugs, substances and certain chemicals into “schedules,” which is a type of classification. Here are Georgia’s categorization according to Title 16, Chapter 13:

  • Schedule 1: The category with the most consequences, Schedule 1 addresses drugs with no medical use and the highest abuse potential. These can include heroin, LSD and ecstasy.
  • Schedule 2: The second highest classification, Schedule 2 drugs also have a high potential for abuse, along with potential for psychological and physical dependence. However, they do have an accepted medical use with restrictions. These include Vicodin, cocaine, methamphetamine, methadone and Adderall.
  • Schedule 3: Schedule 3 drugs have a moderate to low potential for physical or psychological dependence. They generally sit between Schedule 2 and 4 in terms of abuse potential and are accepted in medical use. They can include codeine, ketamine and testosterone.
  • Schedule 4: Xanax, Valium and Ambien are all classified as Schedule 4 drugs. These have a low potential for abuse or dependence. They are used medically.
  • Schedule 5: The least dangerous category, Schedule 5 drugs have a lower potential for abuse or dependence, and are generally used medically as antidiarrheals, pain relievers and cough medicines. They can include Lyrica and Motofen.

Penalties for drug possession

In Georgia, conviction of a drug possession charge means that your driver’s license will be suspended. The length of suspension ranges from six months to two years, depending on how many convictions you have had. Penalties for drug possession are additionally allocated according to their schedule classification:

  • Schedule 1 or Schedule 2: 2-15 years in prison, up to 30 years in prison for following convictions
  • Schedule 3, 4 or 5: 1-5 years in prison, 1-10 years for following convictions

Marijuana possession charges are penalized differently than other drugs:

  • 1 oz or less: Misdemeanor, one year in prison and a fine of up to $1,000
  • More than 1 oz: Felony, at least one year in prison, up to 10, fines up to $5,000

The penalties for drug possession may vary depending on your situation, and ultimately will be determined by the courts. Of course, punishment may be more severe when in conjunction with other charges, like drug trafficking.