Offenders face stringent penalties in Georgia for drug-related convictions. The state has established five “schedules,” or classifications, for illegal drugs. Schedule I substances have the highest potential for abuse and carry the highest penalties, which substances in Schedule V have little risk for misuse or dependence. Even minor possession charges can often result in prison time.
Review the factors that influence the legal consequences for Georgia drug possession.
Penalties for Schedule I and II possession
A convicted person could receive a prison sentence of two to 15 years for possession of a drug in Schedule I, including ecstasy, LSD or heroin. This felony charge also applies to first-time possession of substances in Schedule II, such as opium, methamphetamine, cocaine and hydrocodone. The minimum prison sentences apply even to the smallest amounts of these drugs.
Penalties for Schedule III, IV and V possession
Drugs in these schedules include steroids, Xanax, Valium and similar prescription medications. A first-time possession charge carries one to five years in prison and a subsequent charge can result in up to 10 years in prison.
Some offenders may qualify for probation and other diversion programs. For example, individuals who have a diagnosis of substance use disorder can apply to complete drug court recovery in lieu of prison. The court will consider factors such as your age, the intended use of the drugs, the amount, the circumstances of your arrest, whether you work or go to school, and your age.
Trafficking charges in Georgia have a mandatory minimum of five years in prison and may carry tens of thousands of dollars in fines.