The legal system in Clayton County treats drug crimes seriously. If you have been arrested for the possession of drugs in Clayton County, you could be facing jail, fines, and probation. In order for the State to prove drug possession, it must be shown that the contraband was lawfully seized. If there was an illegal search, or an illegal seizure, the evidence must be suppressed, and the case dismissed.
If you have been arrested in Clayton County, the Clayton County District Attorney’s Office will prosecute the case. The Clayton County Superior Court is located at 9151 Tara Boulevard in Jonesboro, Georgia. The first step following an arrest, is the First Appearance hearing. This is where the Judge will notify you of your charges and rights and then make a determination for bond. In Georgia, there are five factors Judges use to determine whether or not to release someone on bond. These are known as the Ayala factors (Ayala v. State, 262 Ga. 704 (1993)). Judges may issue a bond upon a finding of the following factors:
- The person poses no significant risk of fleeing or failing to appear in court when required
- The person poses no significant risk or danger to a person, property, or community
- The person poses no significant risk of committing a felony while out on bond
- The person poses no significant risk of intimidating witnesses or otherwise obstructing justice
Under the Georgia Controlled Substance Act, drugs are classified into 5 schedules based on their potential for abuse, tendency for addiction, and their recognized medical uses. Schedule I is considered to have the highest risk of physical and psychological dependency and are considered to have no medical use, while Schedule V is recognized to have lower risk of dependency and legitimate medical use. The following are common examples of drugs that the lawyers of W. Scott Smith P.C. have defended in the past.
Heroin, THC, LSD, and MDMA (ecstasy).
Cocaine, Codein, Hydrocodone, Morphine, Methadone, Amphetamine, Methamphetamine, Oxycontin, Percocet
Suboxone, Ketamine, Anabolic steroids
Xanax, Ambien, Valium
Drug Possession Penalties in Fulton County
The penalties in Clayton County and in Georgia can be harsh following a conviction. Possession of drugs in Georgia is a felony, except for marijuana if it less than an ounce. If it is your first offense and you are found guilty of a Schedule I or II drug, you are looking at 2-15 years in prison, intense probation, and high fines.
On second or subsequent offenses of Schedule I or II drugs, you are looking at at least 5 years in prison, and up to 30, with the possibility of similar probation and high fines as the first.
If you are found with Schedule III, IV, or V drugs, the penalty will be 1 to 5 years in prison. If it is your second or subsequent offense, you are facing 1 to 10 years prison time.
Additionally, if you are found guilty and a car was used during the felony, your driver’s license will be suspended.
How the State Proves Possession
The drugs do not have to be found on your person for you to be guilty of drug possession. Driving a car in which drugs are found is sufficient for the law to determine that you are in violation of the Controlled Substance Act. Even if the drugs are found thrown out or hidden, the State will still try to prove you were in possession. Depending on where the drugs were found, two people or more can be considered to have possession of the same drugs. Important facts for both the state and defense are whether or not paraphernalia or residue in plain view was found, and also whether you attempted to flee.
Additionally, drug crimes almost always implicate Fourth Amendment a analysis which can serve as a basis for suppression of the drugs. This means that if the State unlawfully searched or seized the drugs, the drugs are thrown out of evidence, and the case dismissed.
Talk to an Attorney
Because a conviction of drug possession carries lifelong consequences, it is important you speak with an attorney who is knowledgeable about drug possession laws in Georgia. Pleading guilty to any drug possession offense will have harsh penalties that we want you to avoid. Know your legal options and challenge the evidence so that you can move on from this arrest in the best way possible. Call us for a FREE CONSULTATION today at 404-581-0999 and mention this blog.