Drug possession charges are treated very seriously in Atlanta, due to a big push from multiple law enforcement agencies including the Atlanta City Police Department, State Patrol, and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI). These agencies attempt to tackle drugs in the Atlanta area because of its reputation as a hub for drug trafficking especially in the Southeast. Drugs move up from Florida and other coastal areas such as Mobile, Alabama through Atlanta and on to northern cities such as Chicago, Washington, DC, Philadelphia, and New York; this has led to a focus in Atlanta to attack drugs and drug trafficking. As a result of this focus, all charges involving drugs are treated very seriously and warrant attention from an Atlanta drug possession lawyer. Call today to learn more about how a drug lawyer in Atlanta can help you.
There are three factors that impact how seriously a particular drug charge is treated by different courts in the Atlanta area.
1) The first of which is the type of drug involved. For example, heroin tends to be treated more seriously than cocaine while cocaine tends to be treated more seriously than marijuana.
2) The second factor that impacts the severity of a drug charge is the quantity of the drug. A good example of this is marijuana. Less than one ounce of marijuana is a misdemeanor while any more is considered a felony. As the amount continues to go up the charge becomes drug trafficking and the penalties become more severe.
3) The third factor is what the person was believed to be doing with the drugs. If the person was only in possession of drugs for their own use then their case will not be treated as severely as someone who has an alleged intent to sell or distribute the drugs. Likewise trafficking, or moving large amounts of drugs, is treated even more severely making it imperative an Atlanta drug possession attorney is contacted as soon as possible.
Drug possession is a priority for law enforcement officers in the Atlanta area. The different jurisdictions have joined together to form the Metro Atlanta Drug Task Force, which includes the Atlanta police, the state patrol, and representatives from the police departments of the different counties around Atlanta. Even members of federal agencies are believed to be involved in this task force. They target the Atlanta area as a hub for trafficking and distribution, not just in the Southeast but also feeding up into the Northeast. Atlanta is a very high priority target for law enforcement as far as drug possession and drug trafficking goes.
Atlanta area law enforcement officers and other law enforcement agencies in the Metro area are currently focusing on heroin. Heroin is a big problem throughout the United States especially in the Atlanta area, so there is an emphasis recently by law enforcement on heroin. A few years ago it was methamphetamines, then it shifted to pills of different types, and now the current focus is on heroin.
Many of the courts in the Metro Atlanta area and throughout Georgia have alternative sentencing and monitoring programs. Primarily, the counties have drug courts that people go through to receive treatment that is relevant and important to the defendant, as opposed to just locking up the person. People charged with possession in the Metro-Atlanta area will find that the county in which they are charged will most likely provide a drug court program so they can receive extra treatment and avoid going to jail. When the person completes the program they call it graduating and the charges are dismissed. It is a good opportunity for a person to receive treatment, avoid jail, and avoid having a permanent felony conviction on their records.
Currently the following Georgia counties in the Metro-Atlanta area have Drug Court programs:
Entry into most of the county-level drug courts is voluntary, and in most cases charges will be dismissed or a reduced sentence given upon the defendant’s successful graduation from the program. To discuss your eligibility and whether an alternative sentencing is available call a drug possession lawyer in Atlanta today.
The biggest mistake people make when they are charged with drugs is to plead guilty. So many times people believe they are guilty because they are in possession and are in a rush to get the case over with, thereby pleading guilty without having an experienced Atlanta drug possession attorney look at the case, the evidence, and possible witnesses. Even if there are no defenses, there are usually alternatives available to pleading guilty such as conditional discharge pleas, pre-trial diversion, drug courts, or pleading nolo contendere. In many cases there may even be valid defense issues that only an experience defense attorney may be able to spot.