Arrested for a DUI in Georgia with Marijuana in the Car?
When the Atlanta Police Department and Georgia State Patrol pull a car over for some traffic violation, or on suspicion of intoxicated driving, they will take advantage of that stop as an opportunity to see if the driver or passengers are involved in other unlawful activity, which can result in multiple charges. For some drivers, after getting pulled over for suspected drunk driving, they may have some small amount of marijuana in the car. If the police find the drugs or even paraphernalia related to drugs, the driver could face both charges for the DUI and for possession.
The State of Georgia takes drug charges very seriously. Even having small amounts of marijuana can result in a misdemeanor criminal charge for drug possession. Larger amounts of marijuana, 1 ounce or more, can mean a felony charge.
Drug Possession Charges
Marijuana, hash, or cannabis can have a strong and distinctive odor. The smell of marijuana smoke can be smelled on someones clothes for hours after smoking, and can linger in the interior of the car. The smell can even taint the clothes of someone who was near people smoking marijuana, even if they didn't smoke it themselves. Using their sense of smell, or even the alleged smell of marijuana in a car, the police officer may look for drugs or paraphernalia in the car, and arrest the driver or passenger for possession.
Even when the marijuana is not in your pocket, if it was within reach you may be charged with possession. Similarly, drugs under the seat or in the ashtray or glove box may be attributed to the driver, since they are considered to be in constructive possession of marijuana. If convicted, a person could face jail time, even for a small amount of marijuana.
In many cases, first-time marijuana possession charges can be handled without jail time. The judge may allow “conditional discharge” of the possession charges for first-time offenders who maintain the requirements set forth by the court. This may include drug counseling, drug education, or attending support meetings. If the individual sticks to the requirements and doesn't get busted with drugs, then the court may drop the charges. An Atlanta lawyer will be able to help negotiate a conditional discharge in lieu of a misdemeanor criminal conviction.
If a driver is convicted or pleads guilty, they face a maximum penalty of one-year in jail, and a fine of $1,000. Additionally, their license will be suspended for minimum of 6 months by the Department of Driver Services. Subsequent drug possession charges and repeated offenses can involve harsher penalties, with the possibility of more jail time, and longer licenses suspensions. Possession of drug paraphernalia, such as a pipe for smoking marijuana, can also lead to misdemeanor charges.
Georgia Marijuana Possession and DUI Defense
Just because you got arrested for a DUI and for possession does not mean that you should be convicted. If the police didn't have probable cause to stop the car or search your car, you should not have to pay the price for their mistakes. You have rights, and a Georgia DUI defense lawyer can help to make sure your rights are defended in court. I have represented hundreds of people charged with DUIs and possession charges in the Atlanta area. I understand what it takes to get your charges reduced or dismissed. I have undergone the same specialized training in drug detection and field sobriety testing that the police use. You have rights, and you need to understand all your options before pleading guilty. Call me today, so we can get your charges reduced or dismissed, and you can keep your license to drive.