Persons arrested on cocaine charges in Georgia might face severe legal penalties. Granted, more serious charges come with harsher punishments than lesser offenses but all cocaine arrests put the offender at risk of a prison sentence.
Cocaine charges in Georgia
Cocaine possession is a felony in Georgia, regardless of the amount. So, even someone with a minute amount of the Schedule II drug on their person or in their control would face a maximum sentence of 15 years if convicted. If the amount is one ounce – 28 grams – the charges would be trafficking. The assumption is anyone with that much cocaine intends to sell it.
First-time offenders charged with selling cocaine could face a minimum one-year prison sentence, but the routine sentencing guideline is five to 30 years in prison. With the more serious charge of trafficking, the minimum and maximum sentencing vary depending on how much cocaine is being sold. Trafficking 28 to 200 grams could lead to a minimum of 10 years, while anything over 400 grams leads to a 25-year mandatory sentence. Anyone found guilty of cocaine trafficking may also deal with a massive fine.
Several elements must be present to prove drug charges for possession or trafficking beyond a reasonable doubt. Regarding possession, the person must actually know about the drugs or control them. For example, someone who was unaware a roommate put cocaine inside of a crawlspace may counter possession of distribution charges.
Constitutional rights apply to criminal prosecutions, including large or small-scale drug charges. If the police do not have probable cause or a necessary warrant to conduct a search and seize evidence to make an arrest, the defense could file a motion to suppress. If suppressed, the evidence could not be used in a courtroom, and the jury would not see or hear the evidence.
Sometimes, the evidence against the defendant could be overwhelming. That does not mean the person will face the full brunt of the law. Plea bargains and requests for leniency and sentencing could make the outcome more favorable.