What Is the Difference Between Drug Possession and Intent to Distribute in Georgia?

In the State of Georgia, it is illegal to purchase, possess, manufacture, distribute, or sell controlled substances or marijuana (O.C.G.A. § 16-13-30). The laws in our state are particularly harsh for drug-related offenses, and therefore it’s essential to understand the charges being brought against you and to seek expert counsel as soon as possible. Except for some lesser possession of marijuana offenses, nearly all drug charges in Georgia are considered a felony.

Drug Possession in Georgia

Drug possession means being caught with a small enough amount of a controlled substance that it can reasonably be considered “for personal use.” This amount varies based on the drug and oftentimes the purity of the drug. For marijuana cases where the amount is less than one ounce, the accused generally faces a misdemeanor drug possession charge. For all other controlled substances, drug possession is a felony charge.

Intent to Distribute in Georgia

Drug possession with the intent to distribute is a much more serious charge than simple possession. There are many reasons why a law enforcement officer may decide that the controlled substances found on your person, in your vehicle, or in your personal space are not just for personal use, but more likely for distribution. This includes (but is not limited to):

  • The amount is believed to be more than recreational for a single person
  • Large amounts of cash were also present
  • A scale or other measuring device was found in the vicinity
  • Additional plastic bags, jars, or other packaging was found in the vicinity
  • The controlled substance was packaged in separate containers

Regardless of the substance, an intent to distribute charge is a felony offense in Georgia that carries significant penalties, including jail time, fines, and life-long loss of voting and firearm privileges.

Additionally, a person can be charged with either possession or intent to distribute even if the controlled substances were not found on their person. If you have been charged with either offense because drugs were found in your car or on your property, it’s essential to hire an expert attorney right away.

If you are facing any type of drug charges in Georgia, we can help. At ATC Law, our criminal defense attorneys, Pat McDonough and Trinity Hundredmark, are some of the state’s most respected and sought-after defense lawyers. Our goal is to ensure the best possible outcome for you and your family, no matter what the circumstances of your case. Call our office at 770-822-0900 for more information or to request a case evaluation.