Some other states are less strict when it comes to marijuana possession. In some states recreational use is even legal, with more states changing their stance on marijuana. However, here in Georgia, possession of marijuana is still criminalized. Possession of an ounce or less is a misdemeanor, while possession of more than that can be a felony. The state may be making changes when it comes to the acceptance of medical marijuana use, but for most people, even a little bit of marijuana in the car after getting stopped for a DUI will result in an additional criminal charge.
The Atlanta Police or state patrol stop a car and driver for any traffic violation like speeding, failing to yield, or even having a broken tail light, they will be looking to see if the driver is impaired by drugs or alcohol. If the officer says they detect the odor of marijuana, this may lead to an arrest even if the driver is not under the influence. The police may try and get the driver to admit to smoking or using marijuana, and give it up. Otherwise, the police will probably search for where the marijuana could be stashed, on the driver or passenger, or hidden within the interior of the car.
Drug Possession Charges After a DUI
If the police find drugs in the car, they may charge the driver with possession of a controlled substance. Just by hiding the drugs, or saying they aren't yours may not be enough to prevent a drug possession arrest, even for a small amount of marijuana. Even if the drugs were not yours, you may be considered to be in constructive possession of the drugs, even if you are not in actual possession. Possession charges for less than an ounce of marijuana is a misdemeanor.
Misdemeanor drug possession charges can face a maximum of up to one year in prison, even for a first offense. However, in many cases, a first-time-offender can get a conditional discharge. If the judge accepts the individual under a conditional discharge program, they will be placed on probation, and may have to attend drug counselling sessions or drug or alcohol education. If they meet the probationary requirements, then the charges may be dismissed. However, if they violation the conditions, they will be criminally charged.
In addition to a $1,000 fine and prison time, a conviction for drug possession will result in a suspended license. The Georgia Department of Driver Services will suspend your license for 6 months, or longer for repeated offenses. Facing these penalties, having a Georgia defense lawyer can go a long way to securing a conditional discharge, or having the charges dismissed entirely.
Cannabis Possession and DUI Defense
Just because the police arrested you in Atlanta for driving under the influence does not mean that you are guilty of impaired driving. The same goes for drug possession charges. The police may not have had probable cause to search your car, or even to stop your car in the first place. The police may treat you like a criminal, but you deserve to be treated fairly by the courts and the state. If you or a loved one has been arrested for a drug possession DUI, you need a qualified and experienced Atlanta DUI lawyer with training in DUI drug detection. I have years of experience representing hundreds of people charged with DUI and related drug and alcohol charges. Give me a call as soon as you can. I will make sure you get the fair treatment you deserve.