Carrying a small amount of a controlled substance may seem like a minor offense to you. You might consider such an action harmless, and you may assume you will face insignificant penalties if caught. In many states, this is true. Yet, in Georgia, possession charges carry consequences that you will want to avoid at all costs.

Georgia’s substance schedules

Georgia has five different schedules for classifying controlled substances. A substance’s placement in a schedule depends on its potential for abuse, its likelihood of dependency and its accepted uses in medical treatment. The schedules the state recognizes are:

  • Schedule I: Substances with a high possibility of abuse and without accepted medical use. These include ecstasy, heroin and LSD.
  • Schedule II: Substances with a high possibility of abuse and dependency and with restricted medical use. These include cocaine and methamphetamine.
  • Schedule III: Substances with a lower possibility of abuse, a low to moderate likelihood of dependency and an accepted medical use. These include ketamine and steroids.
  • Schedule IV: Substances with a lower possibility of abuse and dependency than those in schedule III, and that have an accepted medical use. These include Ambien and Xanax.
  • Schedule V: Substances with a lower possibility of abuse and dependency than those in schedule IV, and that have an accepted medical use. These include medications with small amounts of narcotic drugs.

How marijuana factors in

While Georgia recognizes marijuana as a controlled substance, the penalties for possessing it are lighter than for other drugs – yet still harsh. The possession of one ounce or less of marijuana is a misdemeanor in the state, punishable by up to one year of incarceration, a fine of up to $1,000 or both. The possession of more than one ounce, however, is a felony, which can carry a longer sentence.

Consequences for possession

Except for low-level marijuana offenses, most possession offenses are felonies in Georgia. Your penalties will depend on the schedule of the substance in question and the quantity found in your possession. If your offense involved a substance from schedules I or II, you will likely receive more stringent penalties than if it involved a substance from schedules III, IV or V. No matter the schedule of substance, if your charges lead to conviction, you will likely face incarceration and you may have to pay a fine as well.

Possession charges can upend your life and working through them alone can be difficult. A criminal defense attorney can help you consider your potential consequences and fight for a more agreeable outcome.