Possession of Marijuana In Georgia
In Georgia, possession of marijuana less than an ounce is a misdemeanor, meaning it is punishable by up to 12 months in jail, and a $1,000 fine. However, if you are convicted of possesison of marijuana in Georgia you will most likely receive community service, risk reduction school, a drug and alcohol evaluation, and other punishments in addition to your fine.
Being arrested for possession of marijuana in Georgia means this charge is on your criminal history. This charge can easily prevent you from future job opportunities, academic scholarships including the Hope Scholarship, and military service. Many professional licenses may also be suspended if you are convicted of possession of marijuana in Georgia.
Even though this charge is on your criminal history it may be possible to remove it, or expunge/restrict your record so potential employers and others cannot see it. The easiest way for this to happen is by participating in a court diversion program. Upon successful completion of the diversion program the charges against you will be dismissed, and the charge will be removed from your criminal history. Even though potential employers, and private individuals, will not be able to see the charge on your criminal history the government, police, prosecutors, and the courts will always be able to see the charge. Even though you may have had your record expunged/restricted this does not mean the information will not be available, or displayed, by private companies such as Google, Mugshots.com, and other private entities.
If you do not qualify for the diversion program you may have other options available which will give you similar results as far as dismissing the charges against you, and removing the charge from your criminal history. These other options are conditional discharge, and First Offender. You should speak with an attorney before deciding to utilize any of these options.
If you were not arrested for possession of marijuana in Georgia, but you were only given a citation, then the charge is not on your criminal history. However, you need to proceed carefully because if you are convicted, or you plead Nolo/No Contest, to the charge it will go on your criminal history.
Finally, it should be noted that possession of marijuana in Georgia less than an ounce will no longer suspend your Georgia Driver’s License.
There are other consequences to being charged with possession of marijuana as well. If convicted, a judge is likely to sentence you to community service, DUI/Risk Reduction School, A DRUG AND ALCOHOL EVALUATION, random drug & alcohol screenings, and/or probation.
If you are convicted, your driver’s license will be suspended for a minimum period of 6 months. This is a hard suspension, which means there is no limited permit for work, school, or any other activities. This driver’s license suspension applies to all possession of marijuana charges whether or not a motor vehicle is involved in the case. Also, scholarships and almost every professional license (doctor, plumber, pilot, electrician, etc...) can be revoked.
If you have been arrested for possession of marijuana, the charge already appears on your criminal history. This is not fair since you have not been convicted of anything. However, the instant you were fingerprinted at the jail the charge was added to your criminal record. This charge can have a huge impact on future employment, promotions, and military enlistment, as well as college and graduate school applications.
Georgia is one of the harshest states in the country when it comes removing charges from your criminal record. If you plan to have a charge removed, you need to start at the very beginning of your case. If you were only given a citation for possession of marijuana, and not arrested, the charge does not appear on your criminal history. If you are convicted, however, the charge will be added to your criminal history as well as your driving history.
Many possession of marijuana cases have excellent defenses built into them which can be used to get the charge dismissed. Even if the case against you is solid, it is often possible to handle your case in such a manner that you can avoid a marijuana conviction, keep your driver’s license, professional license, and/or scholarship in addition to removing the charge from your criminal record.
Our team of former prosecutors and I have handled thousands of possession of marijuana cases. We are often able to avoid convictions for our clients, and make sure their futures are not permanently jeopardized by the charges. If you have been charged with possession of marijuana, please call us now for your FREE case evaluation.