Metro Atlanta First Offender Sentencing
Serving Clients Throughout Atlanta and North Georgia
If you have been convicted of a crime for the first time, contact The Dickerson
Firm immediately to handle your case. The firm treats all its clients
with empathy and honesty, understanding how difficult it is to navigate
a first-time offense. Client satisfaction is the firm’s primary
goal, and you can trust that you will be working with knowledgeable and
experienced lawyers on your case.
Let The Dickerson Firm help you resolve your first offense in Atlanta,
Kennesaw, or Marietta. Call (678) 903-1336 or submit an online form to schedule a free consultation.
Georgia’s First Offender Act
Georgia has special sentencing for first-time offenders, depending on the
severity of the alleged crime. If the crime is relatively minor (not a
serious crime or a violent crime), then a judge can decide whether Georgia’s
First Time Offender Act will apply to the sentencing. If the crime is
a first-time offense for possession of marijuana in a quantity of less
than an ounce, the defendant can seek a conditional discharge.
Georgia’s First Offender Act offers special non-standard plea options
for first offenders. As a first time offender, when entering a plea of
nolo contendere (also referred to as a “no contest” plea)
or guilty, a criminal defendant will be sentenced, but after they serve
their sentence, their first offense will be removed from their criminal
record. All traces of the conviction will not be erased from existence
as with an expungement, though the individual can honestly say that they
have never been convicted of a crime. However, law enforcement will still
be able to access data about the conviction.
General Penalties for First-Time Drug Offenses
The penalties for drug possession in Georgia will depend on the specific
drug and amount in question.
Georgia law divides controlled substances into five schedules as follows:
Schedule I – drugs with a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical
use, including MDMA, heroin, LSD, THC
Schedule II – drugs with a high potential for abuse and the potential for psychological
or physical dependence that have accepted medical uses under severe restriction,
including oxycodone, methamphetamine, methadone, morphine, codeine, cocaine
Schedule III – drugs with a lower chance of abuse, low or moderate potential
for psychological or physical dependence and an accepted medical use,
such as steroids, ketamine, and suboxone
Schedule IV – drugs with a lower chance of abuse, limited potential for psychological
or physical dependence, and an acceptable medical use, such as prescription
drugs like valium, Ambien, and Xanax
Schedule V – drugs with the lowest potential for abuse, limited potential for
dependence, and accepted medical use, like blood pressure medications
Georgia drug possession laws charge possession, apart from marijuana possession,
as a felony.
First-time possession is punishable by:
- 2-15 years in prison for any Schedule I or narcotic Schedule II drugs;
- 2-15 years in prison for non-narcotic Schedule II drugs;
- 1-5 years in prison for Schedule III, IV, or V drugs.
Possession of 1 ounce or less of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable
by 1 year in prison and a fine of up to $1,000, and possession of more
than 1 ounce is a felony punishable by 1-10 years in prison and fines
of up to $5,000.
Anyone convicted under Georgia drug possession laws will also have their
driver's license suspended. First-time convictions will face 6 months
Charged with a First-Time Offense?
If you have been charged with a first-time drug offense, you may be eligible
for special sentencing under Georgia’s First Offender Act. Consult
an experienced attorney to discuss whether you are eligible to have the
conviction removed from your criminal record. The Dickerson Firm can take
a look at your situation and provide you the legal guidance you need to
resolve your first-time offense.
Contact The Dickerson Firm at (678) 903-1336 or online here to schedule your free consultation with an attorney at the firm today.