People who use drugs can get badly addicted to them, which makes it very difficult for them to quit using. The criminal justice system has imposed strict penalties for individuals who are found in possession of illegal drugs like heroin, which is highly addictive and tightly controlled in this state.
All heroin-related charges, including those for possession, are felony charges. A person facing this charge for the first time is looking at the possibility of two to 15 years in prison if they have up to four grams in their possession. Subsequent charges have an enhanced penalty of five to 30 years in prison.
Any individual who is found with four grams or more of heroin will face charges for trafficking. This charge has a tiered penalty system.
- Four to 14 grams: five-year mandatory sentence and $50,000 fine
- 14 to 28 grams: 10-year mandatory sentence and $100,000 fine
- More than 28 grams: 25-year mandatory sentence and $500,000 fine
While these penalties punish the individual who gets convicted, it doesn’t do anything to provide them with the help they need to break the addiction and live a life without drugs. This means that the convict will likely return to the criminal justice system in the future, which is known as recidivism.
Some courts in Georgia are taking a proactive stance against this cycle by offering drug courts that impose punishments and provide close monitoring for individuals who suffer from addiction. These programs can give the person a chance to get clean and stay out of the criminal justice system in the future. Your attorney can help you determine whether you qualify for drug court if you’re currently facing drug charges.