Despite the simplicity of slogans like “just say no,” the actual rules related to drug crimes are very complex. The average person in Georgia may not even know exactly what drugs the state has prohibited and which ones are subject to specific controls implemented by medical professionals.
Fentanyl and other opioids tend to straddle the line between prohibited and controlled substances. These drugs have a valid medical use when prescribed by a physician and used appropriately, but they are also in high demand on the unregulated drug market. Fentanyl, in particular, has become a source of concern among policymakers and harm reduction advocates because of a surge in fatal overdoses in recent years.
Many states have implemented enhanced restrictions on fentanyl in recent years. Will those arrested for fentanyl in Georgia face felony or misdemeanor charges for the accusations against them?
The state will pursue felony charges, in most cases
Sometimes, what separates a felony from a misdemeanor is the total weight of the substance involved or the presumed intention of the person arrested. The state may pursue misdemeanor charges for small amounts for personal use but felony charges for larger amounts or even small amounts when someone intended to sell the drugs to others.
When it comes to fentanyl and other narcotic pain relievers, Georgia has very strict rules. Under state law, fentanyl and other narcotic pain relievers are Schedule II substances, which means that possession of less than a gram can lead to a felony charge that carries up to three years in state custody. Repeat offenders with two or more prior charges could face double the standard sentence for the drugs in their possession.
How can people avoid a felony conviction?
Pleading guilty to a drug offense is often the strategy that those without an attorney employ when facing felony offense related to fentanyl and worried about their future. However, many people can fight against and defeat drug possession charges. Others might qualify for adjudication in the Georgia drug courts instead of criminal prosecution.
Discussing the situation that led to someone’s arrest and fentanyl charges with a Georgia criminal defense attorney may help someone to arrive at the best solution for their current legal predicament.