Athens Drug Crime Lawyer

Getting Legal Representation for Drug Crimes in Athens, GA

In Georgia, the penalties for drug offenses are severe. Some people, however, may not realize that it is possible to violate the law just by having accessories associated with illegal drug use.

“Drug crimes” refers to various drug-related crimes that can result in life-changing consequences for any convicted individual. Georgia’s drug prosecution system is complex, so hiring a criminal defense attorney experienced with Athens drug crimes is important.

How Does Georgia Define a Drug Crime?

There are many different types of drug-related crimes in Georgia. Below is a list of common categories of drug crimes:

  1. Simple possession: Possessing a controlled substance for personal use, typically a misdemeanor for small quantities of marijuana. But even this may have many harsh criminal penalties and collateral consequences attached to it. Many jurisdictions in Georgia currently prosecute possession of edible forms of marijuana as a felony, even for personal use amounts.
  2. Possession with intent to distribute: Possessing a controlled substance with the intention to sell, trade, or otherwise distribute it is usually a felony charge.
  3. Drug manufacturing: Illegally producing or creating controlled substances, such as methamphetamine or MDMA, usually a felony charge.
  4. Drug cultivation: Growing or producing illegal plants or substances, such as marijuana or psilocybin mushrooms, typically a felony charge.
  5. Prescription fraud: Illegally obtaining prescription drugs through forgery, deception, or theft, which can result in misdemeanor or felony charges.
  6. Possession of drug paraphernalia: Possessing items used for the consumption, manufacture, or distribution of controlled substances, often a misdemeanor charge.
  7. Trafficking: This refers to possession of a large quantity of any illegal drugs. The penalties for most trafficking offenses are extremely severe, often mandating mandatory minimum sentences of 10 or more years.
  8. Drug conspiracy: Participating in an agreement or plan with others to commit a drug-related crime, such as manufacturing or distributing controlled substances, usually a felony charge.
  9. Driving under the influence of drugs (DUID): Operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of a controlled substance, which can result in misdemeanor or felony charges depending on the specific circumstances and prior offenses.

Important Terms to Understand When Fighting Drug Charges


You can be charged with possession of illegal drugs even if the drugs were not found on your person.

Actual and constructive possession are the two categories of possession. Constructive possession is defined as drugs in a person’s dwelling, vehicle, or place of business, as opposed to “actual possession,” which is defined as the presence of drugs on the person (like in your pocket).


Manufacturing drugs is a crime if it involves any aspect of the manufacturing process. To be convicted of drug manufacturing, the defendant must have had knowledge of the drugs or the chemicals necessary to manufacture the drugs and the intent to manufacture them. Manufacturing can even refer to growing a single plant of marijuana, a felony offense in Georgia.



Possession of drugs with the intent to distribute goes beyond being in possession of drugs for personal consumption. An individual can be charged with intent to distribute a controlled substance if they have more drugs in their possession than what is reasonable for recreational use.

It is also possible to increase a possession charge to a distribution charge by presenting a scale, plastic bags, or large amounts of cash. Many jurisdictions charge people with possession with intent, even if they merely have a scale in addition to a small amount of marijuana.


Drug Trafficking

When a certain amount of drugs is brought into the country or across state lines, drug trafficking charges can be brought against the person. Trafficking charges are based on the weight and amount of the specific drug in question. Consequently, 28 grams of cocaine will carry a lighter sentence than 28 grams of heroin. The purity of the drug is often considered when determining charges and potential punishments.



Conspiracy is a legal term that refers to an agreement or plan between two or more people to commit a crime or engage in illegal activities. The essential elements of conspiracy generally include:

  1. An agreement or understanding between at least two people.
  2. The intention to commit a crime or engage in unlawful activities.
  3. An overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy, which means at least one of the conspirators must take some action to move the plan forward.

It is important to note that a conspiracy charge does not require the successful completion of the crime. The mere agreement and intention to commit the crime, coupled with an overt act, are sufficient for a conspiracy charge. Conspiracy is usually considered a separate offense from the underlying crime, meaning that conspirators can be charged with both conspiracy and the intended crime if it is carried out.

What Happens When You’re Arrested for a Drug Crime?

It depends on many factors, like which county you are arrested in and the seriousness of your charge. For example, let’s assume you’ve been arrested on a drug trafficking charge in Athens, Georgia. After your arrest, you will be seen by a magistrate judge for your first appearance, where they will tell you what warrants have been issued against you. 

A magistrate judge cannot set a bond in a trafficking case. Normally, we file a motion for bond in Superior Court shortly after the arrest, since only a Superior Court judge can set bond in a trafficking case. We might also request a preliminary hearing to see if your charges can be dismissed, to learn more about the circumstances of your arrest, and to prepare for a motion to suppress.

Our next step will be to conduct a thorough investigation of your case by requesting discovery from the prosecutor, filing open records requests, visiting sites related to your case, and interviewing witnesses. As soon as we receive the lab reports, we will work with forensic experts to attack the forensic evidence in your case.

If we cannot get your charges dismissed or negotiate a resolution you’re satisfied with, then we will prepare for trial.

Penalties for Drug Crimes

Drug crime penalties depend on the specific crime, the quality and quantity of the controlled substance, the schedule of drugs, and your criminal history.

  • The possession of a Schedule I or Schedule II narcotic drug is a felony, but the punishment depends on how much you have. If it’s less than 1 gram (solid) or 1 milliliter (liquid), you’ll face 1 to 3 years in prison. If it’s between 1 and 4 grams, it’s 1 to 8 years. And if it’s between 4 and 28 grams, it’s 1 to 15 years. But watch out—if it’s your third strike or more, you could get double the usual sentence for that crime.

  • The sale of any controlled substance is punished by 5 to 30 years in prison, depending on the quantity. Selling Schedule III, IV, or V controlled substances is a felony crime punishable by one to ten years in prison.

  • Trafficking illegal drugs, including cocaine, marijuana, or methamphetamine, in Georgia is punishable by imprisonment for not less than five years and fines that often exceed $100,000.00. The exact mandatory minimum prison sentence may be much more than 5 years, depending on the drug and quantity of the drug.

Along with these criminal penalties, drug convictions can negatively impact housing, employment, educational opportunities, driver’s licenses, and credit.

The Benefits of Hiring Adam Levin Law’s Drug Defense Lawyers

Without legal representation, dealing with drug charges may be highly stressful, and the situation can rapidly become disastrous if you have a history of drug charges. Adam Levin Law is passionate about pushing back against the unfair and overly punished War on Drugs. Let us take your stress as fuel for the fight.

We routinely file winning motions to suppress and always seek the best outcome, which means minimizing or eliminating any punishment.

Due to our extensive legal knowledge and proven track record with effective defense strategies, our firm’s drug defense attorneys will boost your chances of success in court.

Adam Levin Law offers a wide range of criminal legal services. Our legal team has experience with the following charges:

  • Murder

  • Aggravated assault

  • Sex crimes

  • Drug crimes

  • DUIs

  • Computer crimes

  • Fraud

  • Appeals

Get a free consultation with us if you need assistance with drug charges or are facing a probation revocation.