Drug Trafficking Consequences in Georgia

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We doubt there’s a person alive who hasn’t heard about or even watched an episode of Netflix’s hit series Orange Is the New Black (OITNB). Renewed for a seventh season and still going strong with loyal viewers, OITNB is a comedy-drama series adapted from Piper Kerman’s 2010 memoir: Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison. In 1998, two custom agents appeared on Kerman’s doorstep with an indictment for money laundering and drug trafficking. In the years leading up to the indictment, Kerman had been involved in a romantic relationship with a woman who reportedly smuggled heroin for a West African Kingpin.

A West African Kingpin! Sounds dangerous to us, but Kerman apparently didn’t think so. She didn’t walk away from that relationship with clean hands. She, along with her girlfriend, participated in the Kingpin’s drug trafficking operations. Subsequently, Kerman was convicted of the aforementioned charges and spent time in federal prison. She was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison and only served 11 months. But, the truth of the matter is that drug trafficking can lead to some serious prison time. Specifically, in the state of Georgia.

Drug Trafficking Charges in Georgia…

When most people think of drug trafficking, they do think of major kingpins like the West African Kingpin Kerman worked for or big-time drug dealers who smuggle drugs from state-to-state or country-to-country. And, most people think that in order to be charged with drug trafficking that a person has to be caught in the actual act of smuggling or selling drugs. In the state of Georgia, it doesn’t matter what you are actually doing with the drugs—smuggling, selling or simply possessing them. In Georgia, whether or not you are charged with drug trafficking depends on the quantity of drugs found in your possession. For example, Average Joe is stopped for a traffic ticket with the odor or marijuana oozing from his car. Just the smell of marijuana gives the police probable cause to conduct a search of his car. If they find a certain quantity of drugs on his person or within his reach, Average Joe can be charged with drug trafficking.

The Different Drug Trafficking Charges & Penalties in Georgia…

Drug trafficking in Georgia involves the accusation of selling, manufacturing, distributing or being in possession of illegal drugs: cocaine, morphine or opium (including heroin), marijuana and methamphetamine or amphetamine. Under O.C.G.A. §16-13-31:

 

Trafficking cocaine in Georgia…

Any person who knowingly sells, manufactures, delivers, or brings into this state or who is knowingly in possession of 28 grams or more of cocaine or of any mixture with a purity of 10 percent or more of cocaine commits the felony offense of trafficking in cocaine. Upon conviction, if the quantity of the cocaine or the mixture involved is 28 grams or more, but less than 200 grams, the person shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years and shall pay a fine of $200,000.00. If the quantity of the cocaine or the mixture involved is 200 grams or more, but less than 400 grams, the person shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 15 years and shall pay a fine of $300,000.00. If the quantity of the cocaine or the mixture involved is 400 grams or more, the person shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 25 years and shall pay a fine of $1 million.

Trafficking morphine or opium in Georgia…

Any person who knowingly sells, manufactures, delivers, brings into this state, or has possession of 4 grams or more of any morphine or opium (including heroin) or 4 grams or more of any mixture containing any such substance commits the felony offense of trafficking in illegal drugs. Upon conviction, if the quantity of such substances involved is 4 grams or more, but less than 14 grams, the person shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 5 years and shall pay a fine of $50,000.00. If the quantity of such substances involved is 14 grams or more, but less than 28 grams, the person shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years and shall pay a fine of $100,000.00. If the quantity of such substances involved is 28 grams or more, the person shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 25 years and shall pay a fine of $500,000.00.

Trafficking marijuana in Georgia…

Any person who knowingly sells, manufactures, grows, delivers, brings into this state, or has possession of a quantity of marijuana exceeding 10 pounds commits the offense of trafficking in marijuana. Upon conviction, if the quantity of marijuana involved is in excess of 10 pounds, but less than 2,000 pounds, the person shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 5 years and shall pay a fine of $100,000.00. If the quantity of marijuana involved is 2,000 pounds or more, but less than 10,000 pounds, the person shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 7 years and shall pay a fine of $250,000.00. If the quantity of marijuana involved is 10,000 pounds or more, the person shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 15 years and shall pay a fine of $1 million.

Trafficking methamphetamine/amphetamine in Georgia…

Any person who knowingly sells, delivers, or brings into this state or has possession of 28 grams or more of methamphetamine, amphetamine, or any mixture containing either methamphetamine or amphetamine commits the felony offense of trafficking in methamphetamine or amphetamine. Upon conviction, if the quantity of methamphetamine, amphetamine, or a mixture containing either substance involved is 28 grams or more, but less than 200 grams, the person shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years and shall pay a fine of $200,000.00. If the quantity of methamphetamine, amphetamine, or a mixture containing either substance involved is 200 grams or more, but less than 400 grams, the person shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 15 years and shall pay a fine of $300,000.00. If the quantity of methamphetamine, amphetamine, or a mixture containing either substance involved is 400 grams or more, the person shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 25 years and shall pay a fine of $1 million.

Call Bixon Law…

Georgia law allows the district attorney to move the sentencing court to impose a reduced or even suspended sentence upon any person who is convicted of violating any of the drug trafficking laws under O.C.G.A. §16-13-31 who provides substantial assistance in the identification, arrest, or conviction of any of his accomplices, accessories, coconspirators, or principals involved in the drug operation. When you are facing a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years, it’s something to think about.

Kerman walked out of prison with a book deal that eventually led to a Netflix series. For the majority of ex-convicts, that’s not how life usually goes after being released from prison. And, although the series does explore some of the things that do occur in prison, life behind bars is far from comical. No one wants to go to prison, which is why you need an experienced attorney on your side if you are facing drug trafficking charges in Georgia.

At Bixon Law, we are experienced attorneys and we care about our clients. If you or a loved one has been charged with drug trafficking Georgia, please call us at 404-551-5684 for a free consultation today.


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