Gainesville Drug Crimes Defense Lawyer

Georgia attorney protects the rights of individuals accused of drug charges

A drug crime conviction in Georgia can have harsh consequences. Even as other jurisdictions look to ease laws regarding possession of certain controlled substances, these cases are still charged as felonies here. However, with strong legal representation, you can counter the case against you effectively and increase your chances for a fair result. Attorney William M. (Bill) Brownell at The Brownell Law Office in Gainesville provides comprehensive defense counsel for clients accused of misconduct related to drugs.

Schedules for the legal classification of controlled substances

Penalties for drug-related offenses depend on various factors, including the specific substance involved. Georgia criminal law classifies controlled substances into five schedules based on the potential danger associated with a given drug and any legitimate medical use it might have. Punishment is most serious for cases related to Schedule I and II drugs on the following scale:

  • Schedule I — Dangerous substances such as heroin, LSD and MDMA (Ecstasy) are included in the most serious class.
  • Schedule II — Cocaine, opiates such as fentanyl, and other drugs capable of causing severe harm are grouped within Schedule II.
  • Schedule III — This category includes anabolic steroids, certain stimulants and various compounds that have a medical function but also might cause harm if used without a prescription.
  • Schedule IV — Medications such as Xanax, Valium and Klonopin that are sometimes abused are classified as Schedule IV substances.
  • Schedule V — Some prescription and over-the-counter pharmaceuticals that include narcotic elements are contained in this category.

While many states have legalized possession of marijuana in small amounts, and there is support for a downward adjustment on the schedules, it remains a Schedule I controlled substance under Georgia law. However, the penalties are not as serious as for other drugs in that class. Possession of up to one ounce of marijuana is a misdemeanor offense, punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a fine as high as $1,000.

Firm handles cases involving allegations of drug possession and distribution

Our firm represents Georgians in matters involving all types of charges related to controlled substances, including:

  • Possession — Even holding a small amount of drugs is a felony under state law. Possession of a Schedule I or II substance is punishable by a sentence of between two and 30 years. Convictions for possessing other drugs carry a prison term of one to five years.
  • Distribution — Someone found with an amount of drugs that exceeds what is normally associated with personal use could be charged with possession with intent to distribute. Even a first offense involving a Schedule I or II controlled substance can be punished by five to 30 years of imprisonment.
  • Manufacturing — Growing or creating a drug without proper authorization subjects the defendant to the same sentence as selling controlled substances. Manufacturing a counterfeit drug is also a felony.
  • Prescription fraud — Using misrepresentation to obtain a prescription drug is a misdemeanor and distributing prescription medication without proper authority is a felony.

Whatever led to your charge, Mr. Brownell will safeguard your fundamental rights and challenge the allegations brought by prosecutors.

Possible defenses in drug-related prosecutions

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects against unreasonable searches and seizures by government authorities, but police officers seeking a drug bust frequently overlook the requirement to obtain a warrant. Mr. Brownell conducts a thorough review of the facts that underlie drug-related arrests to determine if evidence can be excluded because it was improperly obtained. Our firm also explores other potential defenses, such as lack of intent, misidentification, misinterpretation of conversations and entrapment. 

Lawyer advises on Drug Court and alternatives to incarceration

Many Georgians charged with drug offenses require treatment and support rather than punishment that only increases the likelihood of recidivism. Adult Felony Drug Court, sometimes referred to as Accountability Court, offers defendants alternatives to incarceration that focus on rehabilitation and community service. When possible, we pursue assignment to Drug Court and other resolutions that put clients in the best possible position to overcome their problems. Mr. Brownell is committed to achieving favorable results for clients in bail hearings, during plea negotiations and, if necessary, at trial.

Contact a Georgia attorney if you have been charged with a drug crime

The Brownell Law Office in Gainesville defends individuals who have been accused of drug-related criminal offenses. We serve clients in Hall, Lumpkin, Dawson, White, Habersham, Banks, Jackson, Gwinnett, Barrow and Forsyth counties. Please call 770-215-0184 or contact us online for a consultation with Mr. Brownell.