Drug convictions lead to severe penalties and fines that have lasting impacts on your personal and professional lives.
Each state has its own definition of possession and criteria for the evidence used in establishing a conviction.
Understanding what evidence is required for a drug possession conviction will help you understand how to fully protect your rights.
DEFINING DRUG POSSESSION IN GEORGIA
In order to find an individual guilty of drug possession charges, each state must consider its own definition of possession.
The state of Georgia considers possession as it relates to one of three categories: actual, constructive, and consumption.
Actual drug possession occurs when an individual has direct physical control of a drug at a specific time. The sale of or being caught with drugs through a routine traffic stop are examples of actual possession.
Constructive possession occurs when a person has the ability and intention to exercise control over a drug. An example would be drugs that are at an individual’s home when he or she isn’t present.
Consumption is determined through the use of urine or blood tests and provides evidence that possession has taken place. This evidence is typically coupled with other information when establishing a conviction.
The type of drug in possession is also considered by the courts. Drugs are classified as being Schedule I, II, III, IV, or V.
Schedule I drugs include heroin, marijuana, MDMA (ecstasy), GHB, and hallucinogens such as LSD.
Schedule II drugs include cocaine, methamphetamines, morphine, oxycodone, and methadone. These drugs are considered to have the potential for abuse and dependence.
Schedule III drugs include those substances with a low to moderate potential for dependence and include codeine, testosterone, and ketamine.
Schedule IV includes Xanax, Valium, and other drugs that are considered to have a low potential for abuse and dependence.
Schedule V drugs include cough medications, Motofen, and Lyrica. These are considered to have a lower potential for dependence than drugs classified under Schedule IV.
PROVING DRUG POSSESSION IN GEORGIA
The primary way to prove drug possession in Georgia is by determining whether actual or constructive possession has taken place. But it can be difficult to distinguish between these two categories.
Juries may be convinced that an individual knew he or she had control over the drug, which often leads to a conviction.
Other evidence such as the possession of paraphernalia, containers, or large amounts of cash may also support a drug possession conviction. Prosecutors argue that these items demonstrate your intent to possess or distribute drugs.
Circumstantial evidence can include the amount of the drug in possession. Larger amounts may be indicative of distribution, whereas smaller amounts may only suggest personal use.
If an individual’s home was visited by many different people over time, it may indicate that drugs were being sold or consumed on the property.
A skilled legal professional who has experience in drug possession cases can help you determine the facts related to your own case.
Understanding what evidence is required for a drug possession conviction is the first step to protecting yourself. Consulting with an attorney gives you the resources and guidance you need to present your case in a court of law and avoid the penalties and fines that can result from a conviction.