Despite many states legalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana, having any amount of this substance in your possession is still a crime throughout Georgia. Even teenagers under the age of 17 can face an arrest and prosecution related to the possession of this illegal substance. Therefore, is vital for anyone who has been arrested for marijuana possession to approach their case seriously.
Talking with a compassionate Cherokee County marijuana possession lawyer could be the first step in the right direction. For young adults, our skilled drug defense attorneys can work towards a fair outcome in court or fight the charges through legal issues or a at trial. For teenagers, we are prepared to explore alternative options that can result in a more positive resolution. Our team members understand the impact that marijuana charges have and want to help young defendants keep their lives on track.
State law still classifies marijuana as a controlled substance. As a result, it is a crime for any person to possess even a small amount of this drug on their person or on their property.
Being arrested for holding marijuana can bring harsh penalties for teens, young adults, or people of any age. According to Official Code of Georgia §16-13-2, the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana can be a misdemeanor offense where a conviction in adult criminal court can result in a jail sentence of up to one year. Possession of amounts greater than an ounce can result in a felony charge with a minimum sentence of one year, as per O.C.G.A. §16-13-30(j).
For offenders between 13 and 16 years old, misdemeanor marijuana possession charges will be adjudicated in juvenile court and cannot result in jail time, if the juvenile has no prior history. Potential alternative penalties might include probation, community service, mandatory counseling, and restrictions on the juvenile’s current or future driving privileges. Perhaps more importantly, an adjudication against a teenager in this context would mean they have a record as a juvenile offender, which could lead to harsher penalties for any further charges they face as a juvenile or as an adult.
Because the penalties associated with these charges can be so serious, accused individuals need detail-oriented and diligent legal representation. Our hardworking attorneys in Cherokee County understand the stakes in marijuana possession cases and can use their years of experience to help accused teens and young adults protect their futures.
In most cases where the accused is 16 or younger, prosecutors will refer an instance of alleged marijuana possession to the juvenile courts. It is key to remember that these courts can try a case and, in some cases, sentence a teenager to serve time in a juvenile delinquency facility. For those 17 and older, their cases will be prosecuted as an adult. If a family finds themselves in this situation, our Cherokee County lawyers could fight against a marijuana possession charge.
Some aspects of the case may be handled differently between adult and juvenile court, but from a high level the approaches are very similar. They start with understanding what your primary concerns are about the ways the case could impact you or your loved one’s life. From there, we will work with you to develop an approach based on either trying to mitigate the situation, explore options to fight the case, or a combination of the two to explore every option to get the best outcome.
When taking a mitigation approach, guidance from our skilled legal team can be crucial to mitigating the long-term effects that a marijuana possession charge has, especially on a first-time offender who is a young adult still in high school or college. Emphasizing a young accused’s lack of prior charges, extracurricular pursuits, and educational opportunities can sometimes work in that defendant’s favor when it comes to minimizing short-term criminal sanctions and the effects this charge might have on the rest of their life.
When looking for ways to fight the charge, our team can raise key questions concerning whether a young defendant possessed marijuana. They could also assert that a police officer’s search of a teenager or young adult was illegal. Finally, they could present defenses at a trial that intend to create reasonable doubt concerning the prosecutor’s allegations. Any of these strategies could minimize the impact of a case and avoid severe penalties, depending on the circumstances.
For some people, our team takes a hybrid approach of the above to prepare as much mitigation as possible while exploring options to fight the case. This allows you to make sure that you have every option available to get the results for your circumstance.
The possession of marijuana is still against the law statewide. Having even a tiny amount of this substance in one’s possession is a crime and holding more than one ounce is a felony. These charges could have a profound impact on a teen or young adult’s life, so it is crucial to fight hard at every stage of a case.
Thankfully, our Cherokee County marijuana possession lawyers can help a young defendant or their parents navigate the case process. Our team members are prepared to help you achieve the best outcome, whether that is negotiating a resolution or fighting back against the allegations at trial. We can help you explore options for best moving past the situation. Reach out to our office today to learn more.