Have you Been Charged with Selling Cocaine in Georgia?
Georgia laws punish drug crimes heavily, especially cocaine. Possession, sale, manufacturing, and trafficking cocaine are all crimes in Georgia, and each has their specific penalties. It is important to have a Lawyer who knows the differences between each offense and how to successfully defend against them. The Office of Lawson and Berry and their team of Georgia Cocaine Lawyers are here to help you defend against any cocaine charge that you have. Lawson and Berry bring decades of experience to your case. Your best defense begins here. A charge is not the same as a conviction so call our office today to schedule a free consultation.
Georgia Law on Selling Cocaine
Cocaine is part of the Schedule II drug/controlled substances in Georgia, which also include methamphetamine, crack cocaine, morphine, opium, and methadone. O.C.G.A. § 16-13-30(b) states it is unlawful for any person to manufacture, deliver, distribute, dispense, administer, sell, or possess with intent to distribute any controlled substance. However if found with greater than twenty-eight ounces of cocaine, the crime will be elevated to trafficking.
Georgia Case Law
In the case of Culpepper v. State, the accused was found guilty of selling cocaine in violation of O.C.G.A. §16-13-30(b). 302 Ga. App. 370, (2010). Troup County Sheriff's Office hired an informant to purchase cocaine from the suspect. The informant found out that the suspect wanted to sell him crack cocaine, and they made arrangements for him to buy the drugs. The informant wore a button camera and met the suspect at his house and completed the exchange. During the trial, the defendant argued that the video never mentioned cocaine or showed an actual exchange between the informant and the suspect. However, the Court found that the rest of the testimony was sufficient evidence to prove that the suspect did intend to sell cocaine.
What Has to be Proven
To be guilty of selling cocaine, the State must demonstrate that the accused is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. It is unlawful for any person to sell cocaine; therefore, the State would have to present evidence showing that you were selling cocaine.
Penalty for Selling Cocaine in Georgia
The penalty for being charged with selling less than twenty-eight grams of cocaine is a prison term of five to thirty years. O.C.G.A. §16-13-30(j)(2). The crime is also classified as a felony. Upon a second or subsequent conviction, the penalty would be a prison term of ten to forty years or there is also a possibility a judge would order life in prison. Anything over twenty-eight grams is considered the crime of Trafficking Marijuana.
Selling cocaine within 1,000 feet of school grounds, a park, housing project, or in a drug-free zone has it is own consequences. In any of those situations, the penalty will be a felony punishable by up to twenty years in prison and/or a fine up to $20,000 for the first offense. For a second or subsequent offense, the penalty increases to a minimum of five years in prison but no more than forty years and/or a fine up to $40,000.
There are several options your Georgia Cocaine Lawyer can use on your behalf. Many courts offer the option of Drug Court. Under this program, participants go through mandatory treatment, frequent drug testing, and other program requirements. All though the program is strict, successful completion will result in the dismissal of the felony drug charge.
One factor that may increase a prison sentence is whether a minor was involved. If a person under the age of 21 years participates in the sale of cocaine, then the crime is automatically elevated to a felony and will be punished by a prison term of five to twenty years and/or a fine up to $20,000. O.C.G.A. §16-13-30(k).
All drug possession cases will result in a mandatory suspension of your driver's license. If this is the first offense, then the suspension will last for a minimum of six months. If this is the second offense, the penalty is one-year suspension and a third or subsequent offense results in a minimum two-year suspension.
Defenses to Selling Cocaine in Georgia
Illegal means: If the methods used to suppress the cocaine were unconstitutional, then any evidence obtained will not be allowed in Court.
The police used an illegal stop: One defense available to you that your Lawyer can investigate is whether the police conducted an illegal, stop, detention, or search when they discovered the cocaine. Police officers must have a Constitutional basis for both stopping you and searching you. If the stop is found to be unconstitutional, then anything found as a result of the search will be suppressed. If that occurs, your case will be dismissed based on a lack of evidence.
Innocence: Witness testimony or an alibi can be used to help prove your innocence. Any evidence like that can assist in proving your innocence so contact one of our Lawyers today to help with your case.
The amount was incorrect: If you can demonstrate that the amount seized was less than the amount you are charged with, then you would be eligible to have the charged reduced or receive a lesser sentence. Mistakes happen, and the amount of cocaine found could have a direct impact on the penalty you will receive.
The amount was not enough to sell: Courts have found that if the amount seized was a small amount; then that could lead to the presumption that the cocaine was not going to be used for distribution but instead; for personal use. While there is no set standard for what sum amounts to distribution, the Court decides on a case-by-case basis, and our Cocaine Attorneys could use this defense to try and show that you were not attempting to sell cocaine.
What are not Defenses
The drugs did not belong to me: Even if the drugs belonged to someone else, you would still be guilty of selling cocaine if you were the one who completed the exchange.
Concerning with intent to distribute on school grounds, whether or not the school was in session will not be a defense. Also, even if the school property was being used for an event that was not school related at the time, it is still not a defense. Lastly, a crime was still committed even if the offense took place on a school vehicle and not at the school. Therefore, none of those defenses would be sufficient.
Georgia Sale of Cocaine Lawyers will help you understand your options and will assist you with your case. To schedule a free consultation with one of our Georgia Cocaine lawyers, contact the Office of Lawson and Berry. Our Attorneys are dedicated to being accessible to their clients—days, nights, weekends, and holidays while working hard on their behalf. Your Attorney will make sure you understand all your options and the good and bad of each. Every possession of cocaine case is unique, and our Attorneys will work with you to formulate the best possible defense for your situation. They will advise you on the best approach to take for your case based on their many years of experience. Your future and ability to drive are at stake; do not sit around waiting for your case to resolve itself.