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What elements can enhance a drug charge?

Willful possession of certain drugs is a crime in the state of Georgia. Charges of drug possession also include the possession of drug paraphernalia. In some cases, the possession of substances that are used to make certain illegal substances can also lead to drug charges.

Drug possession charges are classified in different ways. The type of drug, amount discovered at arrest, and the geographic area where the offense took place can affect the degree of punishment. The type of drug is important in determining the seriousness of the charge. The offense may be more serious for hard narcotics like heroin versus marijuana. A small amount of drugs at arrest may lead to a simple possession charge while large quantities of drugs will led to the presumption of an intent to distribute. Certain locations, like schools, will cause a charge to become more serious.

Before a defendant can be found guilty of drug possession, all elements of the crime must be proven. The legal standard that must be proved in criminal cases is guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. In the context of a drug case, the prosecution must prove that the defendant had knowledge that he was in possession of an illegal substance. Constructive possession or access to the drugs is enough to prove this element. This charge can be filed against multiple defendants.

Drug paraphernalia charges can also be quite serious. Examples of drug paraphernalia are syringes, crack pipes or bongs. If the primary use of the item is associated with drug use, then the court will classify it as paraphernalia. Possession of drug paraphernalia is included in most drug charges. Drug charges, regardless of whether they relate to paraphernalia or the drugs themselves, can have a negative effect on a defendant's future, threatening him or her with a lengthy prison sentence and hefty fines. Thus, if you facing drug charges, you might want to think about seeking the legal advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Source: Findlaw, "Drug Possession Overview," accessed on Oct. 19, 2015

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