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Is a guilty plea an option when facing drug charges?

| Sep 5, 2019 | Drug Charges |

When someone is arrested on drug charges in Georgia, the first thing that comes to mind may be finding an effective strategy to craft a defense and get an acquittal. In many cases, this is a viable possibility and it is wise to do whatever possible to achieve a successful outcome, either by having the charges reduced, dismissed or being acquitted. However, people who are in certain circumstances might be wise to consider pleading guilty.

Although many drug charges can result in harsh penalties, those who are charged with lesser, non-violent crimes and for whom it was a first offense can decide that a guilty plea is preferable to moving forward with a trial. Understanding the law for this possibility is crucial. When there is an arrest for possession of narcotics, marijuana, a stimulant, a depressive or a hallucinogenic and that person chooses to plead guilty or is found guilty, the court can enter a judgment of guilt and defer the case, with the person put on probation. With probation, the individual can take part in rehabilitation or get medical treatment for up to three years to learn about and treat drug abuse.

If there is a violation during the probationary time period, then the court can reinstate the guilty plea and move forward with penalties. Once the person has completed the conditions of probation, the case can then be discharged. This will not be viewed as a conviction going forward and the record will be clear from it having happened. Those who have been charged with marijuana possession and it is one ounce or less will face a misdemeanor charge and incarceration for as much as 12 months, a fine of up to $1,000, or both, so alternatives are welcome.

Being arrested for drug charges can be an intimidating experience, especially if it is the first time it has happened. The state makes certain allowances for those who have not been in trouble before and meet other criteria to be given the opportunity for alternative sentencing and the case being dismissed if they meet the terms of the agreement for the drug charges.

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