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What to know about “crossing the guard line” in Georgia

On Behalf of | Jun 27, 2024 | Criminal Defense

Georgia has a unique criminal charge on its books called “crossing the guard line,” and many people don’t even realize that it’s a felony that could land them in prison for up to five years. 

The “guard line” refers to the point within a correctional facility, including a jail or detention center, where guards are stationed and in control of both entrances and departures. “Crossing the guard line” becomes an offense when you do so carrying any weapons, drugs or other kinds of illegal contraband without the knowledge and consent of those in charge.

The crime is prosecuted more often than people realize

There are usually two ways that people end up being charged with crossing the guard line:

  1. They intentionally try to smuggle something into jail for a relative or friend. For example, maybe your brother was arrested and can’t make bail before trial. You decide to try to sneak a marijuana joint into jail for them – and you get caught. This could land you in bigger legal trouble than your sibling is facing.
  2. You have drugs on your person when you’re arrested. While it’s true that the arresting officer and the guards at the local jail are supposed to search you before allowing you past the guard line, the ultimate responsibility to follow the law falls on you. If you have a joint hidden in your shoe when you’re arrested for drunk driving, for example, and the guard misses it until after you’re past the guard line, a simple possession charge (which is a misdemeanor) leads to a felony offense.

If you’ve been charged with any kind of crime in Georgia, exercise your right to remain silent until you can fully explore your defense options.