What happens at my arraignment for drug charges?
An arraignment is typically the first court proceeding in a drug charge case. You will hear the criminal charges that are being made against you and given an opportunity to plead guilty or not guilty. If you plead not guilty, your Georgia criminal defense attorney will be able to request any evidence that the State has in your case, which can be used to begin building your defense.
What are the penalties for marijuana possession?
Possession of even a small amount of marijuana can mean up to 1 year in prison, in addition to losing your driver's license for 6 months. However, for many first-time offenders, a diversion program may be available. By successfully completing the terms and requirements of the diversion program, the marijuana possession charges may be dismissed. Talk to your Georgia drug crimes defense lawyer to see if they can negotiate a conditional discharge program option.
Am I eligible for a drug charge diversion program?
Eligibility for a conditional discharge program may depend on the facts of the case. If you have never had a drug crime charge or conviction before, the judge may offer a first offender plea, where you plead guilty but can have the charges dismissed by complying with the probationary conditions offered by the judge. This may include drug testing, substance abuse treatment, or even avoiding certain people or places. However, if you violate the terms of the probation, you will be sentenced based on your guilty plea, which may include jail time.
Can I be charged for having prescription medications?
Just because a drug is available from a pharmacy, it is still classified as a drug. Possession prescription medications without a prescription, or committing some prescription drug fraud, can be charged as a criminal offense. Prescription drugs including Vicodin, Suboxone, OxyContin, Xanax, Valium, Percocet, Fentora, and Klonopin are classified as Schedule II or III drugs, with the potential for abuse. Possession of these drugs without a valid prescription can lead to prison time, even for a first offense. Possession with the intent to sell or distribute can carry even greater sentences.
If I never intended to sell the drugs, why am I being charged with intent to distribute?
The police may arrest you for “possession with intent to distribute,” even if the drugs were for your personal use. They often use circumstantial evidence to try and prove intent. This could be based on having a larger amount of drugs than are normally associated for personal use, having the drugs divided up and packaged into smaller amounts, or having evidence that could be associated with selling, such as a scale, baggies, or large amounts of cash. However, just because the police charged you with intent to distribute does not mean that you have to be convicted. There are a number of defenses available for someone charged with drug crimes, and your drug charge defense attorney will be able to develop a defense strategy to win your case.
Did the police have the right to search me?
Unlawful search and seizure is an available legal defense to criminal drug charges. The Fourth Amendment protects people from unreasonable search and seizure. If the police did not have the probable cause to believe that you were committing a crime, then in many cases any evidence unlawfully taken may be suppressed, and can't be used to convict you.
How do I fight drug charges so I don't go to jail?
Like all criminal cases, the time to fight is not when the police are arresting you, this could only lead to more problems. Just because the police arrest you for an alleged crime, but that does not mean you should be convicted. The time to fight criminal charges is in the court. The police and prosecutors will be working together, so you should not have to fight for your rights all alone. A Georgia criminal defense attorney with a successful winning record will fight for your rights, and make sure you get the justice you are entitled to.
How should I choose a criminal defense lawyer?
Drug crime cases are different than other criminal cases. It requires an understanding of how the type of drug and quantity can affect your criminal charges and sentencing. When choosing a criminal defense lawyer to handle your case, you should seek out a lawyer who will fight for you. Make sure they have extensive experience drug crime cases, and they understand the local laws. Lawyers who have dedicated their professional careers to defending people charged with drug possession, and other drug and alcohol-related charges will have the experience and training to fight for their client in criminal court, to have the charges dismissed or win at trial.
Contact Experienced Georgia Drug Charge Defense Lawyers
At Kuttner & Associates, we are an experienced drug crime defense team who exclusively handle drug and alcohol-related charges. We are former criminal prosecutors who understand what it takes to beat a drug charge. Call Kuttner & Associates today, so we can fight for your rights and you can keep your freedom.