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Are there mandatory minimum drug crime sentences?

| Feb 11, 2021 | Criminal Defense |

The state of Georgia may direct harsh penalties against those convicted of certain drug crimes. State law does impose mandatory minimum sentences in some cases, which could result in a lengthy prison stay. Not all crimes are the same in severity, but even a misdemeanor could result in prison time.

Multiple felony and misdemeanor drug crimes

A person arrested for possession of less than one ounce of marijuana won’t find him or herself facing the same charges as a person caught with 15 pounds of cocaine with intent to distribute. However, all charges come with potentially life-altering penalties. A misdemeanor conviction of less than one ounce of marijuana could lead someone to spend up to one year in jail. More than one ounce is a felony that delivers a mandatory one-year prison sentence with a maximum of 10 years.

Mandatory minimum sentences go with convictions for intent to distribute, sale or delivery, cultivation and possession of hash and concentrates. The minimum amount of jail time often depends on the amount, but other factors, such as prior convictions and proximity to school zones, may increase sentencing.

Individuals arrested on drug offenses may face other possible charges. The discovery of a firearm or another weapon might lead to more felony charges.

Charges are not convictions

Someone facing drug charges has yet to be convicted. A criminal defense attorney may look at the case’s specifics to find problems with the evidence. Was there probable cause for a search? Did the police perform a search without a warrant? Did the drugs belong to the suspect, and did he or she even know about their presence? The questions are pertinent as they may factor into a request to suppress evidence.

A criminal defense attorney may also address plea bargains to lesser drug crimes in order to reduce the potential penalties. Anyone who faces drug charges may find a defense attorney’s help invaluable.