Possession Of Marijuana In Georgia
Possession of Marijuana in Georgia is illegal despite recent legislative changes. Possession of less than of an ounce of marijuana is a misdemeanor. Possession of an ounce, or more, is a felony. This blog post is going to focus on Possession of Marijuana in Georgia less than an ounce.
The Penalties for Possession Of Marijuana In Georgia
Possession of Marijuana in Georgia less than an ounce is a misdemeanor in Georgia. This means this offense is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and 12 months in jail. Keep in mind this is the maximum punishment, and most people do not receive this harsh penalty. However, most judges will impose extra penalties such as DUI School, a drug and alcohol evaluation, community service, random drug screens, etc.
The Hidden Dangers of Possession Of Marijuana In Georgia
In addition to the punishment levied by the court Possession of Marijuana in Georgia has many hidden consequences. A conviction for Possession of Marijuana in Georgia can have a serious impact on future employment, school admissions, scholarships, military enlistment, and professional licensing.
Suspension Of Your Driver’s License
If you are convicted of Possession Of Marijuana in Georgia your driver’s license will be suspended for a minimum period of 6 months. This is a hard suspension meaning there is no limited permit for work, school, etc. Possession of Marijuana license suspensions do not run concurrently, or together. If you have 2 suspension based on Possession of Marijuana you must reinstate your license after you have served the first 6 month suspension before the time on your second 6 month suspension will begin to run. For more information concerning your driver’s license please visit the State of Georgia Department of Driver Services web site.
In order to reinstate your driver’s license you must complete DUI School, and pay the reinstatement fee of $200 by mail, or $210 in person after waiting the 6 month suspension period. To learn more about reinstating your license please click on this link.
How To Handle A Possession Of Marijuana In Georgia Charge
Diversion Program/Pretrial Intervention
There are many ways to handle a charge for Possession of Marijuana. Depending on your criminal history you may be able to participate in a diversion program/pretrial diversion. Upon successful completion of the program the charges against you will be dismissed, the arrest removed from your criminal history, and your driver’s license will not be suspended. To learn more about diversion programs in Georgia please watch my video here.
A conditional discharge plea is very similar to diversion, but with a few differences. One major difference is you must enter a guilty/no contest plea to the charge. Once your plea is entered the court holds your plea, and does not submit it. As long as you complete the requirements of your conditional discharge plea i.e. community service, a drug and alcohol evaluation, etc. the court throws your plea away, dismisses the charges against you, the charge is removed from your criminal history, and your driver’s license is not suspended. If you don’t complete the requirements of your conditional discharge plea the court enters your guilty/no contest plea, and imposes sentence.
As you can see a conditional discharge plea is very similar to a diversion program both in its requirements, and benefits. To learn more about conditional discharge pleas click on this link.
First Offender Plea
If you cannot participate in a diversion program, or enter a conditional discharge plea, you may use a First Offender Plea if the judge will accept it. The First Offender Plea was originally intended for felony charges, but may be used on misdemeanor Possession of Marijuana in Georgia. A First Offender Plea is extremely similar conditional discharge plea in both requirements, and benefits. To learn more about the First Offender Act in Georgia please click on the following link.
Nolo Contendere/No Contest
If none of the options above are available to you then you may try to enter a Nolo Contendere/No Contest plea to this charge. Like some of the other options above the judge must accept this plea. Pleading no contest will keep the marijuana charge form suspending your driver’s license as long as you have not plead no contest to this charge in the previous five years, and you submit proof you attended Risk Reduction/DUI School within 120 days.
After pleading no contest the judge will sentence you to a fine, community service, jail, probation, etc. depending on your record.
O.C.G.A. 16-13-30 Possession Of Marijuana
You may read the code section making Possession of Marijuana in Georgia illegal by clicking here.
More Information On Possession Of Marijuana In Georgia
To learn more about Possession of Marijuana in Georgia please watch my video here.
Attorney at Law