Compared to other types of drugs, possession of marijuana is treated differently due to the general liberalization of marijuana laws across the country. For example, even in Georgia, which is a very conservative, southern state, the Legislature passed a limited medical marijuana law which allows for the use of prescribed marijuana in a few types of very serious illness cases. Additionally, in 2015 the Georgia Legislature passed a law that allowed people found to be in possession of less than an ounce of marijuana to keep their driver’s license.
However despite this more liberal attitude toward marijuana, it is still a criminal offense that can still impact your criminal record if convicted. For this reason, it is important to consult with an experienced Atlanta marijuana possession lawyer if you are accused of possession. A drug attorney in Atlanta can tell you exactly what type of penalty you may be facing and help you navigate through the legal system and put forth the strongest defense possible. To learn more call and schedule a consultation today.
In Georgia, when a person is convicted of possession of more than one ounce of marijuana, it is a felony charge. This automatically suspends the person’s driver’s license but also causes the person to lose certain important rights such as the right to vote, own guns, and hold certain jobs such as a lawyer or police officer. For this reason, it is very important to consult with a marijuana possession lawyer in Atlanta to try and avoid having a conviction for a felony possession of marijuana.
In the past fifteen years, there have been many judges and juries who view marijuana possession less seriously than in the past. This reflects the liberalization of marijuana across the country and the greater understanding that it is perhaps not as dangerous as other drugs such as heroin, methamphetamines, or cocaine. For this reason, many judges are treating marijuana much more leniently than other illegal substances.
The biggest difference in marijuana cases versus other types of drug possession cases in Georgia is that the officers use the odor of marijuana as their probable cause to search a house, apartment, or car. Even when the officers find marijuana that is packaged and has not yet been consumed, they frequently write in their report that they searched the vehicle, apartment, or home in question because they smelled an odor of un-burnt marijuana.
Sometimes this raises questions about the veracity of the officer’s report because the marijuana found is in sealed plastic containers inside sealed plastic containers. It also raises the question whether the officer was justifying a search after the fact that he happened to find marijuana. This is something the courts are looking at very carefully. In a marijuana case, a marijuana possession attorney in Atlanta can evaluate whether the officer states they smelled marijuana as a justification for a search they were going to do anyway, or if they in fact did smell marijuana.
When a person is charged with marijuana possession in the Atlanta area it is important to know that there are alternatives to pleading guilty.
When a person pleads guilty to possession of marijuana, they face certain penalties that could be avoided with the help of an Atlanta marijuana possession lawyer. For example, possession of more than one ounce of marijuana is a felony. Someone found guilty of possession of marijuana loses their driver’s license, right to vote, and right to own a gun. However, there are many other options.
An attorney can look at the case to see if there are defenses to the search and the seizure, or defenses to the charge of possession. There may be other options such as pleading guilty under the First Offender Act, utilizing the conditional discharge program, a pre-trial diversion, or a drug court. Many of these are options that prevent someone from having a conviction on their record.
When a person is charged with drugs in the Atlanta area, especially with marijuana, it is important to talk to an experienced drug attorney so to find out about the defenses and the options. In most cases, there are options even for people who feel they are guilty to avoid having to plead guilty.