Since many states have decriminalized or legalized marijuana, you may think little of using it in Georgia. The state does allow medical users to possess small amounts of low THC oil. And some cities – like Atlanta and Savannah – have decriminalized low-level possession offenses. Yet, if you are a recreational user, you could face stiff penalties if you’re charged with possession in most parts of the state.
Penalties for possession
The charges you receive for possessing marijuana depend upon the amount on your person. Many offenses stem from the possession of one ounce of marijuana or less, which qualifies as a misdemeanor. If charged and convicted, you could spend up to one year in jail, pay a fine of up to $1,000 or both. If you had more than one ounce of marijuana on your person, you will receive felony – instead of misdemeanor – charges. If convicted, you will face a jail sentence of at least one year, but no more than 10 years. And you may have to pay a fine of up to $5,000 as well.
The impact of your charges
While possession charges come with plenty of legal consequences in Georgia, they can affect your livelihood as well. Your offense will show up on your criminal record, which can make finding housing or employment difficult. If your charges lead to conviction, you may be at risk of losing any professional licenses you have. And if you are a student, you could receive academic discipline for your offense as well. You will also lose your eligibility to receive student loans if convicted for possessing marijuana.
If you’re facing charges for possessing marijuana, Georgia’s sentencing guidelines may frighten you. No matter the nature of your offense, you will want to consult a criminal defense attorney to help you mitigate your possible penalties.