Georgia’s Weed Laws: What’s Legal and What’s Not

 

In the recent past, marijuana laws have begun to enter a grey area in regards to legality. While it is still illegal Federally, many states have either relaxed or completely legalized marijuana use. Here is where Georgia stands:

  1. Medical Marijuana: Georgia’s stance on medical marijuana use is limited. Qualified patients with specific conditions like those suffering from severe seizures, certain forms of cancer, and terminal illness may possess cannabis oil with no more than 5% THC (the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana) if they have a valid registration card.
  2. Recreational Use: Recreational marijuana is still illegal in the state of Georgia.
  3. Cultivation and Distribution: cultivation, sale, and distribution of marijuana is all illegal for not only recreational purposes but also for medical purposes.
  4. CBD Products: CBD derived from hemp is actually legal at the federal level, and CBD products with very low THC content (less than 0.3%) are legal.
  5. Delta 8, etc: Delta-8 and Delta-9 are popular cannabinoids that do not contain THC, although many users report quasi-high effects similar to marijuana. As of now, these cannabinoids and their derivatives are legal under Georgia law.
  6. Penalties: Penalties for possession of marijuana vary based on the amount in possession as well as whether it is a first offense. Marijuana more than an ounce is considered a felony, whereas anything less than an ounce is a misdemeanor. Because of the variance, penalties can range from a simple citation to jail time and hefty fines.

If you’ve been arrested or cited for possession of marijuana, give our office a call TODAY.

Drug Trafficking Arrest at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

The repercussions of a drug trafficking arrest at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport often extend far beyond the possibility of prison time and probation. While the legal system imposes penalties for drug-related offenses, individuals also face collateral consequences that can significantly impact their lives. These collateral consequences, ranging from barriers to employment and housing to social stigma and mental health challenges, highlight the complex and enduring effects of drug trafficking arrest at Hartsfield-Jackson’s Atlanta International Airport.

One of the most significant collateral consequences of a drug trafficking arrest at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is the challenge of securing employment. Many employers conduct background checks, and a drug trafficking arrest at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport will serve as a red flag, leading to discrimination in hiring processes. Even if individuals have served their time or completed rehabilitation programs, the stigma associated with a drug trafficking arrest at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport can linger, hindering their ability to find gainful employment and support themselves and their families.

For individuals with a drug trafficking arrest at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport record, securing stable housing can be a daunting task. Landlords may be hesitant to rent to individuals with criminal records, fearing potential liabilities or disruptions to the community. As a result, those with drug trafficking arrest at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport histories may face housing discrimination, limited housing options, or even homelessness, exacerbating the cycle of poverty and instability.

The financial toll of a drug trafficking arrest at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport extends beyond legal fees and fines. Individuals may struggle to obtain loans, financial aid, or housing assistance programs due to their criminal record. Moreover, the loss of income resulting from employment barriers can further strain financial resources, making it challenging to rebuild one’s life after a drug-related arrest.

The stigma surrounding drug trafficking arrest at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airports can lead to social ostracization and isolation. Friends, family members, and community members may distance themselves from individuals with criminal records, perpetuating feelings of shame, loneliness, and alienation. This social stigma can impede reintegration into society and hinder access to support networks essential for rehabilitation and recovery.

The emotional toll of a drug trafficking arrest at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and its aftermath can contribute to mental health challenges such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Coping with the stigma, shame, and uncertainty associated with a criminal record can exacerbate existing mental health conditions or lead to the development of new ones. Without adequate support and resources, individuals may struggle to address these mental health challenges effectively.

 

Barriers to Education and Professional Licenses:

In addition to employment barriers, individuals with drug trafficking arrest at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport records may encounter obstacles in pursuing education and obtaining professional licenses. Many educational institutions and licensing boards conduct background checks, and a criminal record can jeopardize admission or licensure. These barriers limit opportunities for personal and professional growth, perpetuating cycles of disadvantage and hindering efforts to break free from the repercussions of a drug-related arrest.

The collateral consequences of a drug trafficking arrest at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport are profound and enduring, affecting various aspects of individuals’ lives long after the legal process has concluded. From barriers to employment and housing to social stigma and mental health challenges, these consequences underscore the need for comprehensive reform and support systems to address the root causes of substance abuse and mitigate the far-reaching impacts of the criminal justice system.

If you have been arrested for drug trafficking, including marijuana trafficking, cocaine trafficking and heroin trafficking please contact our law office to review your legal options.  Our law office telephone number is 404-581-0999.  Ask for a free consultation on a drug trafficking arrest at the airport.

The Crucial Role of Hiring a Lawyer If You’ve Been Arrested in Atlanta

Facing arrest can be a harrowing experience, particularly in a bustling city like Atlanta, where legal procedures can be complex and consequences severe. In such situations, hiring a criminal defense lawyer is not just advisable; it’s imperative. Here’s why:

 

  1. **Legal Expertise**: Attorneys specializing in criminal defense possess extensive knowledge of the law, including local ordinances and courtroom procedures specific to Atlanta. They understand the nuances of the legal system, enabling them to build a robust defense strategy tailored to your case.

 

  1. **Protection of Rights**: When arrested, individuals are entitled to certain rights, such as the right to remain silent and the right to legal representation. A skilled lawyer ensures that your rights are upheld throughout the legal process, safeguarding you from potential abuses of power or procedural errors.

 

  1. **Strategic Counsel**: Lawyers analyze the details of your case, identifying strengths, weaknesses, and potential legal options. They provide strategic counsel on how to navigate the complexities of the legal system, including whether to plead guilty, negotiate a plea bargain, or proceed to trial.

 

  1. **Mitigation of Penalties**: In the event of conviction, attorneys work tirelessly to mitigate penalties and minimize the long-term consequences of criminal charges. This may involve negotiating reduced charges, advocating for alternative sentencing options, or pursuing avenues for rehabilitation and community service.

 

  1. **Evidence Examination**: Lawyers have the expertise to scrutinize evidence presented by the prosecution, identifying inconsistencies, inaccuracies, or violations of due process. They may uncover mitigating factors or exculpatory evidence that could strengthen your defense or lead to the dismissal of charges.

 

  1. **Emotional Support**: Being arrested can be emotionally taxing, causing stress, anxiety, and uncertainty about the future. A compassionate lawyer not only provides legal guidance but also offers emotional support, reassuring you and your loved ones during this challenging time.

 

  1. **Familiarity with Court System**: Local attorneys in Atlanta have established relationships with judges, prosecutors, and court personnel. This familiarity with the local court system can be advantageous, as it facilitates smoother communication, negotiation, and advocacy on behalf of their clients.

 

  1. **Preservation of Reputation**: A criminal record can have far-reaching implications, affecting employment opportunities, housing options, and personal relationships. By vigorously defending your case, lawyers strive to protect your reputation and minimize the stigma associated with criminal charges.

 

  1. **Cost-Effective in the Long Run**: While hiring a lawyer may incur upfront costs, the investment can save you money in the long run. Skilled legal representation increases the likelihood of a favorable outcome, potentially avoiding costly fines, lengthy imprisonment, or other financial repercussions associated with criminal convictions.

 

  1. **Peace of Mind**: Ultimately, hiring a lawyer provides peace of mind knowing that you have a knowledgeable advocate fighting for your rights and best interests. Whether navigating pre-trial negotiations, challenging evidence in court, or representing you at trial, a competent attorney can significantly impact the outcome of your case.

 

In conclusion, if you find yourself facing arrest in Atlanta, don’t underestimate the importance of hiring a qualified lawyer.  I have over 24 years of criminal experience. In our firm we have over 100 years of legal experience.  From protecting your rights to providing strategic counsel and emotional support, legal representation is indispensable in navigating the complexities of the criminal justice system and securing a brighter future.

 

Call our office for a free consultation today.

Arrest for Trafficking at Hartsfield Jackson Airport

If you or a loved one is arrested for Trafficking in Clayton County at the Atlanta airport, it is important that you act immediately to protect yourself. Do not wait until your court date to get an attorney and to preserve evidence.

The Clayton County District Attorney has a dedicated division to prosecute cases involving Trafficking case. They will vigorously prosecute you if you are transport drugs through the airport.
Do not think that just because you are innocent that the charges will be dismissed. Drug charges are aggressively prosecuted in Clayton County.

Make sure your attorney has had felony jury trials and has won these cases. Do not let an attorney handle your case who does not specifically handle drug cases. Many drug cases are won at a motions hearing. It is imperative that you get body cams, dash cams, search warrants and take witness statements of anyone involved in the search and seizure of the drugs.

The law may say you are presumed innocent but in drug cases, you have to prove your innocence.

Here is what you should do if arrested for Trafficking at the airport in Clayton County.
1. Hire an attorney – Make sure that attorney actually handles and tries drug cases in Clayton County. Most criminal defense attorneys do not handle these cases. Make sure the attorney you talk to does regularly handles drug cases in Georgia
2. Avoid making any statements – Do not proclaim your innocence to the police at the airport. The police will not believe you. Do not think you can show up at your first court date and tell the prosecutor and judge that you are innocent and expect the charges to be dropped. If you are arrested for trafficking, you have to start preparing for your jury trial. Do not make any statements to anyone except your lawyer.
3. Start gathering important evidence
a. Gather and preserve any physical evidence in your possession.
b. Gather and preserve any documents that might relate to this accusation including emails, texts, social media, phone records, GPS records, computer records or any other document that might show where you were when this incident allegedly occurred.
c. Witnesses – Immediately make a list of any person who you think might have information about this accusation. Do not discuss the case with this person but pass this list of potential witnesses to your attorney and let your attorney contact them.
Here is what you should never do if arrested for trafficking at the airport in Clayton County.
1. Never talk to law enforcement or the Clayton County District Attorney’s office without an attorney.

If you are arrested for trafficking at the airport in cocaine, heroin, marijuana, methamphetamine or any other illegal drug in Clayton County, please call our office 24/7 at 404-581-0999. We will sit down with you and fully discuss your case and what to expect in court. There is no charge for the initial consultation. You will only retain us if you feel we are the best law firm to represent you. It is your case and your life so you need to hire the lawyer that you feel gives you the best chance to win.

Conditional Discharge or Drug First Offender

Conditional Discharge or Drug First Offender is a once in a lifetime opportunity that allows someone who has been charged for the first time with possessing drugs or a non-violent property crime related to drug or alcohol addiction to resolve their case without a felony conviction. The resolution will typically involve probation and some sort of rehabilitation and treatment. Once the terms of the sentence are completed successfully the case will be dismissed and will not be considered a conviction. Conditional discharge may still be available even if you have previously used first offender. Drug offenses can have significant collateral consequences. If you or a loved one has been charged with a drug offense, it is very important you speak with an experience attorney. Please give us a call at 404-581-0998 for a free case consultation.

Why the Peach State Lawyers Should Represent You

The Law Office of W. Scott Smith, PC is a firm of devoted criminal defense attorneys with decades of combined experience whose professionalism, skill, and knowledge make them the perfect firm to zealously advocate for you. This team is not just made up of great attorneys and staff, but great people, too.

Sherdia is our courteous, organized, and hardworking paralegal. She is reliable and efficient, and is truly the powerhouse behind the entire operation. She works diligently to make sure that clients are well taken care of, and is an effective liaison between clients and attorneys when you need quick assistance. She is a joy to know and work with, and a true blessing in the office.

King is our billing manager. He is mindful and empathetic to client billing needs. He will work with you to make sure that your payment plan works for your lifestyle and ensure that you receive the highest caliber of quality (and affordability) in your representation by the Peach State firm.

Beth is our calendar clerk and law student intern. Her organization and focus ensures that at your Court dates, your attorney is present and prepared to give you the best defense and advice. On the very date of this posting (12/15/23), she graduated from law school and it won’t be long before she is in a courtroom fighting for you. Congratulations, Beth.
Marybeth is one of our experienced associate attorneys. She spent several years zealously advocating for indigent folks in the Fulton County Public Defender’s Office, and since joining our firm, has continued to extend the same grace and compassion to her clients that inspired us to bring her aboard in the first place. She works tirelessly for her clients, and if she represents you, you can rest assured that you will receive knowledgeable and empathetic counsel.

Mary is another one of our distinguished associates. She is loveably referred to as a “bulldog” for her passionate and zealous presence in the Courtroom. She has a reputation for being tireless and hard working, and willing to do whatever it takes to represent her clients. Although she may be a bulldog in the Courtroom, she is cherished by her clients who see her as their devoted champion, skilled advocate, and friend.

Erin is our last (but certainly not least) associate attorney. Although she may be a young attorney, her skill, tact, and knowledge of the law puts her in a league all her own. She walks into a courtroom and can outshine attorneys with decades more experience because of her professionalism, courtesy, insight, and courage to fight for her clients. Her clients know her as a counselor who is dependable, hard working, and compassionate. She is an extraordinary attorney, and an even better friend.

Mike and Scott are the partners of Peach State Law. They are passionate and distinguished attorneys with the skill and knowledge to back up their commendable reputations. They advocate for clients charged with the most heinous of crimes, and when they do, they make it look easy. Their finesse in commanding a Courtroom is a talent eclipsed only by their devotion to their associates and staff. They are the best mentors this attorney could have asked for.

And why should you believe me? Because I had the opportunity, the privilege, even, to get to know each and every one of them as an associate attorney myself. I have grown to know and learn from each of them in kind, and they have made me a better attorney and a better person. There is no firm more devoted, hardworking, or knowledgeable in Georgia. This firm is made up of a team that values, above all else, their clients and doing the hard and courageous job of defending the Constitution. Their commitment to you will be unwavering, their diligence and devotion to your defense will be their number one priority. You simply could not ask for more from a law firm, and this attorney could not have asked for more from this family. When you are evaluating your options for legal representation, believe me when I say that these are the good people you want behind you, counseling you, and guiding you. Take it from someone who knows.

Forsyth County Drug Trafficking Attorney

The war on drugs is alive and well in the Georgia criminal justice system. You may be surprised the amounts of each drug that Georgia law considers to be Drug Trafficking. While selling drugs of any kind is against the law and considered a felony, there is a threshold for each drug that will bump the case into drug trafficking. Drug trafficking has significantly harsher penalties than a simple Possession charge or even Possession with Intent to Distribute. Drug trafficking also can make obtaining a bond more difficult at the onset of the case because only a Superior Court Judge can grant bond in these situations. This can be an issue since the first Judge people typically see after arrest is a Magistrate Judge at First Appearance, and Magistrate Judges do not have authority to grant a bond in Drug Trafficking cases in Georgia. In some courts, Magistrate Judges “sit in designation” and can in fact handle bond hearings for trafficking charges. If this is not the case, attorneys must request a hearing by a Superior Court Judge in order to request a bond.

 

What is considered drug trafficking?

Simply possessing the following amounts will be considered Drug Trafficking under Georgia law, even if there is no evidence of selling or delivering it.

Methamphetamine: 28 grams or more

Heroin: 4 grams or more

Cocaine: 28 grams or more

Marijuana: 10 pounds

 

How much time am I facing if I am charged with Drug Trafficking in Forsyth County?

The short answer is it depends. Each drug and amount has a different mandatory minimum sentence. For example, if you have anywhere between 28 grams and 200 grams of cocaine, Georgia law requires a sentence with a minimum 10 years and $200,000 fine. Those numbers go up with every amount over 200 grams.

If you are charged with trafficking marijuana in Georgia, and the amount seized was somewhere between 10 pounds and 2,000 pounds, it is a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and a $100,000 fine.  Similarly, these numbers will also go up for every amount over 2,000 pounds.

See O.C.G.A. § 16-13-31 for all mandatory minimum sentencing according to type of drug and amount seized. There is a lot of negotiation that can occur in these cases to avoid mandatory minimum sentencing.

 

There are defenses to Drug Trafficking in Georgia

Drug trafficking cases typically implicate the Fourth Amendment more than any other type of case. Each of us has a Constitutional right to be free from unreasonable search and seizures. Each case is different and must be carefully analyzed in terms of whether the police officers acted lawfully in the search and seizure of the drugs. For example, if the officers had no right to enter your trunk or your safe in the closet, the drugs and case can be thrown out. Likewise, if the search warrant is not valid, or they did not get a warrant, this is another defense to getting the drugs suppressed or excluded.

Drug trafficking in Georgia and in Forsyth County carries significant sentences, and the legal motions must be filed very early on in the case in order to preserve the issue and allow us to argue the suppression of the drugs. If you or a loved one has been arrested and charged with Drug Trafficking in Forsyth County, reach out today for a FREE CONSULTATION with the experienced lawyers of W. Scott Smith by calling 404-581-0999.

Trafficking Marijuana in Cobb County, Georgia

If you are arrested for marijuana in Cobb County, your case will be prosecuted in Cobb County Superior Court. The penalties you could possibly face if convicted depend on how much marijuana you have with you at the time of your arrest.

Georgia regulates marijuana through the Georgia Controlled Substance Act and O.C.G.A. §16-13-1(a)(1) says that marijuana is a controlled substance. The Georgia codes that specifically regulate marijuana crimes are O.C.G.A. § 16-13-30(j) and O.C.G.A. § 16-13-31(c). The statutes say that “It shall be unlawful for any person to possess, have under his or her control, manufacture, deliver, distribute, dispense, administer, purchase, sell, or possess with intent to distribute marijuana”. The penalties an individual faces for possessing marijuana depend on the quantity of marijuana and could range from a simple fine to up to 15 years in prison.

If you are caught with less than an ounce of marijuana, you will be charged with a misdemeanor and face a fine of up to $1000 and/or a year in jail. If you are caught with more than an ounce but less than 10 pounds of marijuana, you face a felony conviction and 1-10 years in prison.

However, for higher amounts of marijuana the penalties are severe. If you possess marijuana in excess of 10 pounds, you will be charged with trafficking marijuana and the penalties depend on the amount you possess:

  • If you are arrested with 10-2,000 pounds of marijuana, you will be charged with felony trafficking and face a mandatory minimum of 5 years in prison and a $100,000 fine.
  • If you are arrested with 2,000-10,000 pounds of marijuana, you will be charged with felony trafficking and face a mandatory minimum of 7 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
  • If you are arrested with more than 10,000 pounds of marijuana, you will be charged with felony trafficking and face a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

As you can see, the penalties for trafficking marijuana are steep. It is important that you hire a skilled criminal defense attorney to represent you if you are charged with this offense. The lawyers at W. Scott Smith are experienced at defending these types of crimes and will work tirelessly to discover defenses in your case and protect you from these severe punishments. Call our office today at 404-581-0999 for a free consultation.

 

 

Decriminalized weed does not mean legal weed

Some cities in Georgia, including Atlanta, have decriminalized the possession of less than an ounce of weed. However, it is still very much illegal in the state of Georgia. So, what does that mean? It means that police officers and prosecutors have a choice; they can charge you with a city ordinance violation OR a violation of state law. The difference is the penalty. In Atlanta, the city ordinance violation for possession of weed less than one ounce is a $75 fine. The state law violation is a misdemeanor with a penalty of up to 12 months to serve and a $1,000 fine.

Any drug charge can have serious consequences, even simple weed charge. For example, it can affect your job, housing, or driving privileges. If you or a loved one has been charged with a drug offense it is important to have a knowledgeable advocate on your side. Call for a free consultation today.

Trafficking Marijuana at the Atlanta Airport

If you are arrested for marijuana at the Atlanta airport, your case will likely be prosecuted in Clayton County Superior Court. The penalties you could possibly face if convicted depend on how much marijuana you have with you at the time of your arrest.

Georgia regulates marijuana through the Georgia Controlled Substance Act and O.C.G.A. §16-13-1(a)(1) says that marijuana is a controlled substance. The Georgia codes that specifically regulates marijuana crimes are O.C.G.A. § 16-13-30(j) and O.C.G.A. § 16-13-31(c). The statutes say that “It shall be unlawful for any person to possess, have under his or her control, manufacture, deliver, distribute, dispense, administer, purchase, sell, or possess with intent to distribute marijuana”. The penalties an individual faces for possessing marijuana at the Atlanta airport depend on the quantity of marijuana and could range from a simple fine to up to 15 years in prison.

If you are caught with less than an ounce of marijuana, you will be charged with a misdemeanor and face a fine of up to $1000 and/or a year in jail. If you are caught with more than an ounce but less than 10 pounds of marijuana, you face a felony conviction and 1-10 years in prison.

However, for the higher amounts often intercepted at the airport, the penalties are severe. If you possess marijuana in excess of 10 pounds, you will be charged with trafficking marijuana and the penalties depend on the amount you possess:

  • If you are arrested with 10-2,000 pounds of marijuana, you will be charged with felony trafficking and face a mandatory minimum of 5 years in prison and a $100,000 fine.
  • If you are arrested with 2,000-10,000 pounds of marijuana, you will be charged with felony trafficking and face a mandatory minimum of 7 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
  • If you are arrested with more than 10,000 pounds of marijuana, you will be charged with felony trafficking and face a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

As you can see, the penalties for trafficking marijuana at the Atlanta airport are steep. It is important that you hire a skilled criminal defense attorney to represent you if you are charged with this offense. The lawyers at W. Scott Smith are experienced at defending these types of crimes and will work tirelessly to discover defenses in your case and protect you from these severe punishments. Call our office today at 404-581-0999 for a free consultation.