Whether in Georgia or elsewhere, criminal cases that involve drugs can get quite complex. Certain drug charges are handled at the state level, while others may be prosecuted in federal court. The criminal offense of drug possession is one that may be handled in either depending on the facts of one’s case. This week’s column will simply go over some facts about drug possession.
The possession of illegal substances and/or materials is against both state and federal laws. In order to determine if a possession case will be handled in state or federal court, the type of drug and the amount found in one’s control is going to matter. An example of a drug charge handled at the state level would be simple possession, which is when a person is found to be carrying a small amount of an illegal substance. An example of a drug charge that would be prosecuted in federal court would be possession with intent to distribute, which is when a person is found to be carrying a large quantity of one or more drugs.
Prosecuting attorneys have a difficult job when it comes to proving guilt in drug crime cases. They will need to establish certain elements in order for convictions to be achieved. These elements include intent to use or sell and knowledge that the substance carried is illegal. If evidence is lacking or these elements cannot be proved beyond a reasonable doubt, the accused may be able to successfully fight his or her case.
Whether one is facing state or federal drug charges for possession, the consequences can be quite severe if a conviction is ultimately achieved. Some common penalties include hefty fines and jail time or imprisonment. Alternative sentencing, such as moving a case to drug court, may be available in certain simple possession cases. With the assistance of legal counsel, Georgia residents who are facing possession charges can do what is necessary to seek the best outcome possible for their circumstances.
Source: FindLaw, “Drug Possession Overview“, Accessed on March 29, 2017