If you are convicted of a drug crime, you may face many harsh penalties and challenges, including years in prison, large fines that drain your family’s finances, a criminal record as a felon and strict probation or parole conditions upon your release. The drug lawyers at Banks, Stubbs & McFarland LLP do everything in our power to help you avoid these harsh punishments.
When the stakes are at their highest, you can depend on the drug defense attorneys at Banks, Stubbs & McFarland to fight for your rights.
Call our law firm at 770-887-1209 today to schedule your free initial consultation with a criminal drug charges attorney.
If you’ve been arrested for drug dealing, possession, manufacture or trafficking in Cumming and surrounding areas in North Georgia, our drug defense attorneys provide aggressive representation to protect your rights.
When you face drug charges in a courtroom with a Banks, Stubbs & McFarland drug defense attorney, you can benefit from our more than 192 years of combined experience and recognized reputation for results.
Our criminal defense lawyers safeguard your interests from arrest to outcome, and investigates your charges for any sign of illegal search and seizure by police that may have violated your constitutional rights.
Criminal drug crime lawyers who work to reduce or dismiss the charges
Banks, Stubbs & McFarland drug charges lawyers negotiate with prosecutors to dismiss or reduce the charges against you. If your case goes to trial, we bring persuasive presentations to court to try and beat the charges against you. From start to finish of our work together, you receive prompt answers to your questions and concerns. Throughout the process, you will know that your rights are being protected.
No one ever wants to need an attorney and like so many I became someone who did. As a middle-aged medical professional my background was perfect until 2012. Then I encountered 2 different arrests within 4 months of each other. A DUI and Felony theft drug charges. I was facing 8 years in prison just for the drug charges alone! Parker’s passion for this profession is why I hired him. This gentleman truly has your best interest at heart and will fight to the bitter end to protect it. The energy he displays to fight for you is worth his weight in gold. Never has a day gone by when he wasn’t available to guide me through a process, answer a question or just listen to my concerns. The outcome of my cases are such that I’m writing this from home and not prison !! I still have a wonderful life because of Parker’s efforts and wouldn’t hesitate for a second to give his number to anyone in need. -V.G.
Attorneys who fight for your rights against drug crime charges
You should speak with a good drug crimes lawyer immediately if you were arrested for possession, distribution, trafficking, sale and delivery, manufacture, cultivation or importation of:
- Party drugs (Ecstasy)
- Prescription drugs such as OxyContin or Hydrocodone
If you do have a criminal record from a prior conviction, we can attempt to have your record cleared of charges that could harm your employment and housing opportunities. Talk to our criminal lawyers about expungements for drug crime convictions.
Possible Drug Crime Defenses
Each year in Georgia thousands of people are arrested for drug-related crimes. In many of these cases, the arrest is made because a small amount of illegal drugs were discovered in an individual’s car or person. If you have been charged with possessing or selling illegal drugs, there may be defenses you could raise. To avoid possible conviction or plea for a reduced sentence you need a Gainesville drug crimes attorney that has understands the court system and drug crime defenses. Possible Drug Crime Defenses in Georgia include:
Was the Search Legal?
Under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, we are protected from all unlawful search and seizures. This means that the authorities must obtain the evidence through a lawful search and seizure. If the drugs were found in your home, authorities need a warrant in most cases for the recovery of the drugs to be legal. If the illegal drugs were in your car, a police officer can argue that the drugs were in “plain view.” This allows the drugs to be seized without a warrant and used as evidence in court. In cases where there was clearly a violation of these principles, you could have the charges dropped.
Were the Drugs Yours?
Sometimes you’re truly in the wrong place at the wrong time. For example, you lend a friend your car and they stash something under the seat and you had no idea. It is plausible that someone could have left drugs at your house. Maybe a friend gives you a bag for safe keeping and unknowingly it stores drugs. If you are arrested for drugs that are clearly not yours and you can prove that, then you might be able to have the charges dropped.
Misidentification and Crime Analysis Mistakes
Once in a while, a drug charge is reversed because there were actually no drugs involved. There are substances that can resemble illegal drugs. For example, some non-drug white powders may have the appearance of cocaine. It is the state’s responsibility to test and prove the substance it claims is an illegal drug is in fact so. This is done through professional lab testing. If there is an error in the analysis or the substance turns out not to be an illegal drug you can assert these as viable defenses.
Entrapment occurs when the government (or government agency) causes an innocent person to commit a crime. If you’re going to assert this defense you bear the burden of proving (1) it was the government that induced you to act and commit the crime; and (2) that you did not have a predisposition to commit that crime. This is a common defense. Under the correct facts, it can be a successful argument or defense. Not every case will support an entrapment defense.
Contact a North Georgia Drug Crimes Attorney Today
Drug charges are serious and can have long-term consequences, including significant prison sentences and fines. You need an experienced criminal defense attorney that has defended drug crimes for those who are in the same situation. Call our law firm at 770-887-1209 today to schedule your free initial consultation at either our Cumming or Buford office.
Georgia marijuana laws are tough
The severity of drug crime charges depends on the kind and amount of the drug in question. In Georgia, being convicted of possessing drugs like heroin, MDMA, LSD and Ecstasy — all Schedule I drugs — will generally result in heavier penalties than the ones handed down for possession of marijuana, which is not regarded as a “scheduled” substance. Still, Georgia law is tough on marijuana. Possession of more than an ounce of marijuana carries a felony status. For that charge alone, you face a possible prison sentence of up to 10 years. While the stakes are always high in Georgia drug cases, it is often possible to negotiate with prosecutors to have a drug charge reduced or even dismissed. Police officers conduct unlawful traffic stops and searches more often than most people realize, and uncovering a violation of a defendant’s rights could be grounds to suppress evidence and have the case dismissed. If you have been arrested for a drug crime, consult with an experienced criminal drug defense lawyer. Early intervention by a defense attorney is important to protect your rights and ensure the best possible outcome in your case.
How Georgia classifies controlled substances
Although many people know that it is a crime to be in possession of certain drugs — or “controlled substances” — most don’t understand how what the law says and what sorts of penalties are handed down for a drug possession conviction. Georgia state law mimics the federal Controlled Substances Act in that it divides substances into five different types or “schedules” based on both their accepted medical uses and likelihood of drug addiction or abuse.
- Schedule I substances: No accepted medical use and have a high likelihood of addiction/abuse; Includes heroin, MDMA and peyote.
- Schedule II substances: Have an accepted medical use but are subject to restrictions, and have a high likelihood of addiction/abuse; Includes Oxycodone, methamphetamine and cocaine.
- Schedule III substances: Have an accepted medical use and a lower likelihood of addiction/abuse than Schedule I or II substances; Includes ketamine, anabolic steroids and testosterone.
- Schedule IV substances: Have an accepted medical use and a lower likelihood of addiction/abuse than III substances; Includes Lorazepam, Clonazepam and Diazepam.
- Schedule V substances: Have an accepted medical use and a lower likelihood of addiction/abuse than Schedule IV substances; Includes cough preparations with certain amounts of codeine, opium or other substances.
If you have been arrested for any sort of drug-related crime — possession, sales, manufacture — contact our office to speak to a drug attorney who can protect your rights and your freedom as soon as possible. Call our Cumming, Georgia office at 770-887-1209 today. Banks, Stubbs, & McFarland represents those facing drug charges in Forsyth County and surrounding counties.
What are the penalties for drug crimes in Georgia?
What are the penalties associated with a drug offense conviction? Drug crime penalties increase depending on the type and amount of drug found, as well as what the defendant did or intended to do with the substance.
Non-trafficking penalties for purchasing, possession or controlling an illegal drug
Georgia Code Section 16-13-30 sets out the consequences for conviction of possession or purchase of various controlled substances. The most serious of these would be Schedule I or II drugs. These will include so-called “hard drugs” like heroin or cocaine, among others. For possession of these drugs, the sentence can be between two and 15 years for a first offense. Additional convictions could carry from five to 30 years in prison. For lesser drugs, such as those of schedules III, IV, or V, a conviction can result in jail time of between one and five years for a first offense, or between one and ten years for additional arrests. Drug crime penalties are heavier for trafficking charges such as intent to distribute. It should also be noted that all of the above convictions would be considered felonies. Felony drug punishments can include loss of rights, such as to vote or carry a firearm, and the need to present your criminal record to future employers. It is important to remember that a person is still innocent until proven guilty and has rights that need to be protected during all stages of the criminal proceedings Don’t risk the harsh consequences of a felony drug conviction. Call the law firm of Banks, Stubbs & McFarland at 770-887-1209 for a free consultation!
Drug Trafficking: The difference between possession and distribution
There is, of course, another possible crime with which those who come in contact with law enforcement during a drug arrest can be charged as well: trafficking. Under Georgia law, the potential penalties between simply possessing a certain controlled substance and manufacturing, selling or delivering such contraband can be substantial. For example, the conviction of possession of a schedule I or II drug, such as cocaine, could result in between two and 15 years in prison for a first offense. The potential penalty for a first conviction for distributing or selling the same drug could be between five and 30 years of incarceration. If it is a subsequent offense the sentence can range from ten to 40 years. So, being caught allegedly selling one of these types of substances can be a bad thing for a defendant. But the statute’s penalties also apply to those with intent to distribute, as well. This means that police or prosecutors might take certain evidence and use it to threaten a defendant with a longer prison term in order to elicit a confession or plea deal. They might say that the amount of drug found implies that one was intending to distribute it, for example, or that cash found nearby evidences the selling of the drug. If you are facing drug charges in Georgia, you should realize that you may be facing hard time. This is especially true if law enforcement can make a case for trafficking. In these cases, protecting your constitutional rights against illegal searches and seizure, and improper questioning can be paramount. Further, having experience in the ways police and prosecutors use possession and trafficking offenses to make deals can result in a better outcome for a person facing drug charges. Contact our office at 770-887-1209 to discuss your case with one of our drug crime attorneys. There may be valid defenses against your drug charges that only an expert drug lawyer can identify.
Can you be convicted of selling fake drugs in Georgia?
In Georgia, conviction for drug offenses can result in serious penalties, especially if those convictions include a charge of intent to distribute. The amount of jail time or other consequences defendants face in drug cases often depends upon the type of substance involved. But, what if someone is arrested for a drug offense when the drug is not a true controlled substance? Georgia Code Section 16-13-21 contains the definitions that are relevant to drug crimes in the state. According to the law, fake drugs that are made specifically to resemble a controlled substance, or are substantially similar enough that a reasonable person can’t tell the difference are punishable as a drug crime. Basically, the idea behind this law is to stop individuals from passing off other substances as an illegal drug, and attempting to avoid prosecution by claiming they hadn’t broken the controlled substance law since no actual illegal substance was involved. Section 16-13-30.2 of the state code stipulates that anyone convicted of knowingly making of knowingly attempting to distribute such fake drugs can be penalized for a misdemeanor of a highly aggravated nature. Merely possessing a substance that a law enforcement officer thinks may be an illegal drug may not be enough for a conviction. In situations like this, it is important that people accused of drug crimes explore all their legal options. If you have been accused of selling fake drugs in Georgia, contact our office at 770-887-1209 or through our contact form to discuss your options with an experienced drug crime attorney.
What is constructive possession in Georgia drug cases?
The war on drugs has been waged for over three decades at this point, and it doesn’t seem like there’s an end in sight any time soon. Whether one is charged with simple possession or possession with intent to distribute affects the punishment a defendant may face. Except in cases involving a sting operation where he or she has been arrested in the act of distributing illegal drugs, prosecutors may attempt to show this intent by using an inference based upon the amount of drugs found, or the coupling of drugs with other items, such as cash or weighing tools found when a search was conducted. Law enforcement may attempt to build a case against a person for drug possession even if the individual did not actually possess the drugs at the time of a search or arrest. This can be done because of a legal concept of constructive possession. Constructive possession differs from actual possession in regard to where the drug is discovered by law enforcement. Illegal drugs found in one’s vehicle or house, for example, may lead to a charge of drug possession even if one was in a different city at the time of the discovery. This is because a court may consider that items in a place over which a defendant has control are, in fact possessed by the defendant. Possible defenses include showing that the defendant is not the only one having control and access to the area in question. Evidence of a roommate or someone else who regularly uses a vehicle might help in creating reasonable doubt for constructive possession. These defenses can get highly technical however, and those facing drug crimes charges need to consult an experienced Georgia criminal defense attorney at Banks, Stubbs & McFarland LLP.
Probation Revocation Order Reversed in Union County
White v. State, 318 Ga. App. 581 (2012)
Client (Mr. White) was on probation for possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute and firearms convictions in Union County when his 7 years of his probation was revoked after the Union County Superior Court concluded that he committed new drug violations. Client retained new counsel, Attorney Parker McFarland, after the revocation hearing to handle his appeal. Client’s codefendant was also on probation for possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute. The State’s evidence at the probation hearing was that Client was observed driving and his codefendant was his passenger as they arrived at the lawnmower shop owned by the codefendant. The codefendant stated to the investigator that he and Client were partners in the shop. The officers subsequently discovered 14 grams of methamphetamine, oxycodone, a smoking device with methamphetamine residue, and marijuana at the shop. There is no right to a direct appeal in a probation revocation case. Thus, Parker McFarland filed an application for discretionary review with the Georgia Court of Appeals which was granted. Subsequently, the Georgia Court of Appeals issued an opinion which agreed that the State had failed to prove that Client was in possession of the drugs, even under the more relaxed preponderance of the evidence standard which is applicable to probation hearings. Therefore, the Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s order which effectively dismissed the 7 year prison sentence and released Client from prison.
Dawson County Drug Charges Reversed on Appeal
Bradford v. State, 285 Ga. 1 (673 S.E.2d 201) (2009)
Following a jury trial, Shannon Bradford appeals her convictions in Dawson County for conspiracy to traffic amphetamine, trafficking amphetamine, and conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine. Bradford contends that the trial court erred by: (1) denying her plea in bar based on double jeopardy; (2) finding that Georgia’s conspiracy statute, O.C.G.A. § 16-4-8, is not unconstitutionally vague; (3) denying her motion for a continuance; and (4) failing to merge certain counts of the indictment. Because the trial court erred by denying Bradford’s motion for a continuance, we reverse.
Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Distribute in Forsyth County
Client (C.L.) was followed by a Forsyth County deputy and observed to abruptly turn into an unoccupied subdivision where there had been recent loitering complaints. The deputy initiated a traffic stop. He smelled a strong odor of marijuana and noted physical signs of marijuana use. A drug dog alerted on the Client’s vehicle and a search turned up two ounces of marijuana, a grinder, scales, rolling papers, a pipe, blunt wrappers, and empty baggies. The client was charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. Attorney Parker McFarland filed a Motion to Suppress, asserting that there was no probable cause for the traffic stop and obtained a hearing date. Prior to the hearing in Forsyth County Superior Court, the District Attorney agreed that there was insufficient probable cause for the stop and dismissed all charges.
Marijuana Possession Charges Dismissed in Forsyth County, Georgia
Client (A.L.) was sleeping as a passenger in a running vehicle in a public parking lot at 5:57 a.m. Forsyth County officers asked the Client to exit the vehicle and conducted a pat-down of the Client’s clothing. The officer pulled a glass jar from the Client’s pocket which contained alleged marijuana. The officer also found large sums of money and numerous plastic baggies inside the vehicle. The client was charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. Attorney Parker McFarland filed a motion to suppress, challenging the stop of the vehicle and the pat-down of the Client. Prior to the pre-trial hearing, the prosecutor dismissed all charges.
Federal Drug Case/Reversal by U.S. Supreme Court
Constantino Duarte-Benitez v. United States of America, 546 U.S. 944, 126 S.Ct. 440, 163 L.Ed.2d 335, 74 USLW 3229 (2005)
Attorney Robert McFarland was appointed by the Northern District of Georgia, Gainesville Division, to represent one of several defendants in a major drug case. After a week and a half of this federal jury trial, all of the defendants “pled out.” However, the government would only offer the defendant life in the penitentiary.
Attorney Bob McFarland eventually was able to get this reduced to 30 years, but Bob McFarland appealed the case to the 11th Circuit Court in Atlanta, Georgia on the issue of the legality of the mandatory sentencing guidelines, which was upheld. Bob McFarland appealed that decision to the United States Supreme Court, which reversed the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals and remanded to the 11th Circuit for further proceedings.
Meth Charges Dismissed in Forsyth County, Georgia
Forsyth County officers detained Client (S.W.) and his codefendant who were transferring items from one vehicle to another at 1:30 a.m. in a parking lot of a building under construction. Even though Client’s vehicle had a flat tire, four police officers were suspicious of the defendants. Officers patted down Client’s codefendant and discovered suspected methamphetamine. The officers then searched both defendants’ vehicles and discovered numerous materials commonly used to make methamphetamine.
Client was charged with (1) manufacturing meth, (2) conspiring to manufacture meth, (3) conspiring to distribute meth, (4) possession of meth with intent to distribute, and (5) possession of meth. Attorney Parker McFarland filed a motion to suppress challenging the detention of Client and the search of Client’s vehicle. After a two-day hearing, the Forsyth County Superior Court judge granted the motion to suppress, finding that the pat-down and subsequent search of the vehicles was unlawful, and all the charges were dismissed.
Marijuana Possession Charges Dismissed in Forsyth County, GA
Client (A.L.) was sleeping as a passenger in a running vehicle in a public parking lot at 5:57 a.m. Forsyth County officers asked the Client to exit the vehicle and conducted a pat-down of the Client’s clothing. The officer pulled a glass jar from the Client’s pocket which contained alleged marijuana. The officer also found large sums of money and numerous plastic baggies inside the vehicle.
The client was charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. Attorney Parker McFarland filed a motion to suppress, challenging the stop of the vehicle and the pat-down of the Client. Prior to the pre-trial hearing, the prosecutor dismissed all charges.
Methamphetamine Trafficking Charges in Forsyth County, GA
Client (A.F.) was stopped by a Forsyth County officer who suspected he was involved in drug activity. A search of Client’s vehicle yielded a large quantity of methamphetamine. Client was charged with trafficking in methamphetamine (over 28 grams) and faced a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison if he was convicted. Attorney Parker McFarland convinced the District Attorney that the traffic stop was illegal and obtained a complete dismissal of all charges.