Despite its reputation as something of a party drug, cocaine is also commonly used by people in professional circles. The boost of energy and focus it provides can help someone conquer a heavy workload and still make it home in time for dinner. Of course, the drug is also quite expensive, creates some medical risk and can be very addictive. Cocaine is not legal for the public to use because of the potential for abuse and the health risks abuse could cause.
The illegal status of cocaine does not deter people from using the drug, either at parties, in their own homes or in a professional setting. However, every single person who uses cocaine is at risk of getting caught by law enforcement. If police catch you in possession of cocaine, you may end up facing serious criminal charges related to the possession of this controlled substance.
The amount of cocaine will determine the charges and penalties
The Georgia laws regarding controlled substances make it clear that cocaine is a Schedule II drug. This means that the drug has a very high potential for abuse and addiction, but there are some accepted medical uses for the substance, even if access or use of the substance is subject to careful controls.
Those caught with under 28 grams of cocaine will likely face simple possession charges. These are felony charges that can carry up to at least two years in jail but as many as 15 years for a first offense. Second or subsequent offenses will carry harsher penalties, including a five year minimum sentence and a 30 year maximum sentence.
Larger amounts could result in trafficking charges
If you have more than 28 grams of cocaine but less than 200 grams in your possession, you could end up facing a trafficking charge related to that cocaine, whether or not you intended to sell or share the drug. The potential penalties for possession of this amount of cocaine could include a 10 year minimum sentence, as well as a fine of up to $200,000.
Possession of between 200 grams and 399 grams could incur a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 15 years and a fine of $300,000. If the amount is 400 grams or higher, the minimum sentence goes up to 25 years and the fine goes up to $1,000,000.
Cocaine charges are a serious concern
You should never assume that just because you have a clean criminal record you won't face real consequences for a drug possession charge. With Georgia's harsh sentencing laws, even those with no previous criminal record could face years in jail.
Cocaine possession is a serious offense in Georgia, and you should treat it as such as you plan your response to the charges.