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First Offender

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 – DUI and Drug Defense Attorneys 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 drug crime lawyers on your case.

Let The Dickerson Firm – DUI and Drug Defense Attorneys help you resolve your first offense in Atlanta, Kennesaw, or Marietta. Call (678) 487-5728 or submit an online form to schedule a free consultation.

What is 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 to avoid a criminal conviction. 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.

What are Georgia’s Drug Schedules?

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

What are the Penalties for First-Time Drug Offenses?

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 of suspension.

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 – DUI and Drug Defense Attorneys 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 – DUI and Drug Defense Attorneys at (678) 487-5728 or online here to schedule your free consultation with an attorney at the firm today.