Defending Drug Charges Throughout North Georgia
If you or someone you love is facing a drug-related charge in North Georgia for violating the Georgia Controlled Substances Act ("VGCSA"), it is imperative that you hire an experienced VGCSA attorney as soon as possible. We have more than 40 years of experience representing people accused of VGCSA throughout North Georgia, and we are willing to take every step necessary to ensure that your Constitutional rights are protected and that the impact of the arrest on your life is minimal. Additionally, we will fight to protect your property from being seized by law enforcement through the Civil Asset Forfeiture process. Whether you are facing a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge or a felony trafficking charge, our experienced and highly trained attorneys can help.
Our Georgia VGCSA Attorneys Will Fight to Keep the Drug Charge Off Your Record
Founding attorney Jeff Dickerson is a former Narcotics and Organized Crime Prosecutor who has successfully handled all types of VGCSA charges throughout metro Atlanta and North Georgia. Jeff began his career as an Assistant District Attorney in the Houston Judicial Circuit, and for the last twenty years he has defended people accused of VGCSA throughout Georgia. He and the team at The Dickerson Firm have a successful track record of challenging unlawful searches and seizures which have resulted in the dismissal of charges for countless clients, and have won countless VGCSA jury trials.
Resolving VGCSA Cases Without Litigation
In addition to the aggressive litigation strategies involved in challenging the legality of searches and seizures, the attorneys at The Dickerson Firm also have experience negotiating pre-litigation resolutions that ultimately result in the dismissal of VGCSA charges. While every jurisdiction has different requirements for pretrial programs, there are four options that are available in most jurisdictions:
Pretrial Diversion is a pre-ajudication program designed to give a second chance to people who have no prior arrests or convictions for serious crimes. While each court has its own specific requirements, most Pretrial Diversion programs require payment of a fee, completion of community service, drug testing, and an alcohol and drug evaluation. If the program participant completes the terms, the charge is dismissed and expunged from their criminal record. Most jurisdictions require that Pretrial Diversion participants be represented by an attorney to be admitted to the PTD program because participation in the program often requires a waiver of certain constitutional rights, and neither the prosecutor nor the judge are allowed to provide legal advice to those accused of crimes.
First Offender/Conditional Discharge
The Georgia First Offender Act and the Conditional Discharge provision of the Georgia Controlled Substances Act provide for a similar outcome to a pretrial diversion program. Both ultimately result in the dismissal of the charge and expungement of the arrest from your criminal history. However, there is one important difference. In order to resolve a case under the Georgia First Offender Act or the Conditional Discharge Provision of the Georgia Controlled Substances Act, the client must tender a guilty plea to the court. The Court then sets the plea aside and sentences the person to a term of probation. As long as the client completes the probationary period without violating the terms of the sentence, the charge is dismissed and the arrest is expunged. However, if the client fails to complete the program, the court enters the previously tendered guilty plea into the record and can resentence the client to up to the maximum allowed by law.
Drug Court Programs
In 2012, The Georgia Legislature provided yet another way for people charged with drug-related crimes to avoid a felony conviction by creating the Georgia Accountability Court Program. Drug Court programs are a type of accountability court that are designed to provide treatment, supervision, and individual accountability to people who struggle with substance abuse and addiction by providing an alternative to the traditional justice system. The requirements of Drug Court programs vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but most programs last from 12-24 months and require regular frequent drug testing, intensive substance abuse treatment, and regular group meetings with the supervising judge. The benefits of a Drug Court program include the potential to have charges reduced or dismissed, reduction or elimination of mandatory jail time, immediate access to affordable treatment, and assistance with housing, employment, transportation, mental health treatment, and a variety of other services. If you have been charged with a drug-related crime in Georgia, contact The Dickerson Firm today for a free consultation with one of our Georgia drug defense attorneys.