Atlanta Marijuana Defense Lawyer

Every year, the State of Georgia makes around 30,000 arrests involving the possession and sale of marijuana. If you are included in that statistic, then you need a team of dedicated marijuana defense attorneys to stand up for your rights and wipe your record clean of unfair drug charges.

The attorneys at The Burnett Firm have specialized in marijuana defense for both misdemeanor and felony charges since 1989. Our team has appeared in courts in Atlanta and surrounding counties, representing alleged offenders to the fullest extent under the law.

Understanding Georgia Laws and Penalties

Our state is particularly tough when it comes to how it handles marijuana charges. Like most states, Georgia classifies marijuana offenses into different categories. The nature of the charge will affect the state-imposed fine you might be ordered to pay or the maximum jail time you could face.

  • Possession: Any amount less than 1 ounce is a misdemeanor with possible jail time of 1 year and maximum fine of $1,000 – this is by far the most common marijuana charge. Any amount exceeding 1 ounce will result in a felony possession charge. Based on the discretion of the officers and judge, carrying particularly large amounts can also land possession with intent to distribute. This is not considered the same as marijuana sale, but this distinction instantly increases the maximum prison sentence and fine.
  • Sale: A marijuana sale or delivery charge will stick if a defendant is caught in the act of selling marijuana, so it is treated very similar to possession with intent to distribute. By and large, the State of Georgia does not differentiate between smalltime and major offenders, handing out the similar sentences for any violation for all sales up to 10 pounds. Particularly large amounts (those exceeding 10 pounds) will face a maximum fine of $100,000.
  • Cultivation: Growing marijuana is also illegal in the State of Georgia. Cultivation of any amount under 10 pounds carries a minimum jail time of one year as a felony. Any amount up to 2,000 pounds can be punishable with jail time anywhere between 5 and 30 years.
  • Hash and Concentrates: Unbeknownst to many, any amount of hash or concentrates will result in an immediate felony with a minimum jail time of 1 year for possession and minimum of 5 years for manufacturing or distribution.
  • Paraphernalia: Georgia’s penal code uses particularly broad language for the possession of marijuana paraphernalia, so you may not even know you that the object you were carrying was illegal before being caught with it. This charge is a misdemeanor.

How Sentencing Works

If you are arrested for any marijuana-related charge, your driver’s license will be suspended. For a first time offender, your Georgia license will be immediately revoked for 6 months, in addition to an expensive reinstatement fee. More than one offense in a five-year period will result in a longer suspension of your driver’s license.

Do you qualify for pre-trial diversion? With the help of an attorney, a judge may grant any a misdemeanor offender the opportunity to forgo formal court hearings, instead opting for pre-trial diversion. The judge will usually order specific requirements like drug and alcohol tests, community service, and court-order probation. While this process is never easy, it is the best way to dismiss marijuana charges you may have pending.

Will it stay on my record forever? The biggest concern for many individuals is that a marijuana charge can be a permanent liability on your record, especially visible to future employers. While there is never a guarantee that someone will not uncover information about your arrest, first-time offenders face the best chance of dropping marijuana charges from their record. With either pre-trial diversion or a conditional discharge, the judge may dismiss the arrest from your criminal history. Of course, taking your charges to court and winning will also result in immediate expungement.

How We Stand Up For Your Rights

The criminal justice system routinely punishes small-time marijuana offenders with excessive sentences, fines, and jail time. An unjust marijuana charge can ruin your life, strain relations between friends and family, and cause extraordinary economic hardship. It is our job to make sure that you don’t suffer those consequences.

As one of the most successful and experienced marijuana defense teams in the Atlanta area, we have helped hundreds of criminally accused defendants achieve the legal help they deserve. With our extensive background in Georgia marijuana laws, we know that your legal defense can take many forms, including:

  • Constitutional Grounds: As we all know, the Constitution affords you a substantial number of rights and liberties. The 4th, 5th, and 6th Amendments all specifically deal with rights of the criminally accused, so if these rights are violated by law enforcement, then tainted evidence must be dismissed. For example, when our team can prove that a traffic stop was unconstitutional or the defendant was not notified of his/her Miranda rights, then all resulting evidence can be suppressed during a motion hearing.
  • Search Warrants: In the event that law enforcement searches your vehicle or home without a valid search warrant, then the court must also throw out any collected evidence. Should law enforcement deviate from the warrant’s parameters (including location and scope), then your marijuana charges could be dismissed.
  • Factual Defense: In many cases, the contraband simply may not be yours. It could have been placed in your possession unknowingly or found in the same car while you were unfortunately inside. In either scenario, our attorneys can argue that you never had actual possession of the marijuana, protecting you against a marijuana conviction.

The outline described above does not constitute a comprehensive list of marijuana charges and defenses, but a guideline for Georgia residents to understand their basic rights.

When you come face to face with a marijuana charge, the world can seem an unpredictable and scary place. Our job is to protect you under the full extent of the law and navigate you through complicated legal proceedings. Call The Burnett Firm today at 404-630-8599 for a free consultation to discuss your legal options.