Georgia takes the enforcement of drug crimes very seriously, whether it is simple possession of marijuana or a large amount of a more serious drug such as cocaine, LSD, MDMA, ecstasy or heroin. Atlanta is waging a campaign against serious felony drug possession and drug trafficking. A person faces serious criminal penalties in the state of Georgia if convicted for possessing, selling, or buying these narcotics. It is important to prepare for such a serious case by looking for an experienced and professional Atlanta drug lawyer with a criminal defense team.
A drug attorney experienced in dealing with drug charges in Georgia and specifically in Atlanta will know the court system, the prosecutors, and the judges within that system and how to deal with them. Different counties in Atlanta treat drug crimes differently.
Drug Crimes in Atlanta
For example, Fulton County State and Superior Courts offer diversion programs for misdemeanor and felony level drug charges. A person may be caught with heroin in Fulton County in the city of Atlanta but if they don’t have a serious criminal history, an experienced lawyer may be able to negotiate their case and get dismissal of those charges in exchange for drug treatment classes and perhaps attending AA meetings.
However, if a person is in Gwinnett County and is charged with a felony level drug crime, they won’t have the same opportunity to resolve their case with a diversion agreement as in DeKalb County or Fulton County because the Gwinnett County does not offer a diversion program. Therefore, the person must have an Atlanta drug attorney who can prepare their case for trial and who is known at the district attorney’s office as a capable trial attorney to obtain the best possible choice between a plea offer and trial when considering how to resolve the case.
Georgia has adopted the DEA schedule system as most states do in the country. Those schedules are formulated by the Drug Enforcement Agency with five distinct categories of drugs. Schedule 1 involves the most serious, the most dangerous drugs. Schedule 5 represents the least potential for abuse.
Schedule 1 drugs include heroin, LSD, MDMA, and synthetic marijuana. Schedule 2 drugs include cocaine, codeine, morphine, methadone, and phentermine, methamphetamine, and opium. Schedule 2 drugs have an accepted medical use which is why they fall under the category of Schedule 2. Marijuana does not fall under any of the schedules, but is considered a controlled substance.
The most common constitutional issue is the violation of a person’s Fourth Amendment rights and an illegal search and seizure; it is an illegal act by the officer. The officer won’t be charged for violating the Fourth Amendment in most of the cases. However, a person may have a civil claim for a wrongful arrest later. It is the Fourth Amendment, the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure, that is disregarded by law enforcement in drug arrests.
Officers look for signs and clues. They look at the way a person dresses, their skin color, and hair. They see what the person is driving, consider those factors, and ask to search the person’s car. No one has to consent to the search of their car. The officer may claim they smell something, but the person need not consent to the search of their car.
Officers may try to trick a person and offer them a deal, “If you just let me search your car I will let you go.” They are trained to build cases against someone and it is their job to make cases so they can make their numbers. A person needs to protect themselves and do everything to not waive the Fourth Amendment, which is to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.
A person should contact an attorney as soon as possible. If they can contact an Atlanta drug attorney while the officer is attempting to or in the process of searching their car, they should do so. If the person is unable to reach an attorney before being arrested it is imperative that they, their friend, or family member contact an attorney as soon as possible after an arrest. The attorney can protect the person, to get them bonds and to build a defense for their drug charge in Georgia.