O.C.G.A. § 16-13-31 classifies methamphetamine as a Schedule II drug, like cocaine, opium, and morphine. The potential prison sentence is based on the weight.
Possession of any amount of a Schedule II drug, including methamphetamine, will result in a felony charge; resulting in a potential prison sentence and huge fines. Unfortunately, the penalties only get worse based in the weight of methamphetamine you are prosecuted for. Twenty-eight grams equals an ounce. If you are caught with an ounce of meth, you will be charged with the felony of, not just possession of meth, but “trafficking meth”. The police do not have to prove you intended to sell, create, or deal the ounce of methamphetamine. Only that you possessed methamphetamine and the methamphetamine you possessed weighed an ounce or more.
Potential Imprisonment and Potential Fines:
If you are prosecuted for methamphetamine trafficking the minimum prison sentence is ten years. As extreme as this may sound, it is still only one third of the maximum time you can be sentenced to: thirty years.
The minimum fine for methamphetamine trafficking is $200,000. As extreme as this may sound, it is still not as high as the maximum fine of $1,000,000 dollars.
As the weight of methamphetamine being trafficked goes up, so do the fines and years in prison the courts will sentence you to. The next sentencing weight is 200 grams, which is equivalent to 7.05 ounces. Trafficking more than 200 grams of meth raises the minimum prison time penalty from ten years to fifteen years, and raises the minimum fine from $200,000 to $300,000. This is the minimum sentence for methamphetamine tracking for 200 grams to 400 grams.
If you are charged with trafficking over 400 grams of meth, which is equivalent to 14.1 ounces, the minimum prison sentence becomes twenty-five years and the minimum fine becomes one million dollars. So anything over 14.1 ounces, and the prison sentence becomes five years less than the maximum of thirty years, and the fine becomes the same as the maximum fine of $1,000,000.
Requirements for Conviction:
Many times persons are not “Trafficking in Methamphetamine”, but simply at the wrong place at the wrong time. It is important to remember the prosecutor’s office has to prove you possessed the methamphetamine beyond a reasonable doubt. It is not enough to show you were simply near it. They have to prove it was in your possession.
Prosecutors can do this buy showing actual possession, for example the methamphetamine is in your book bag in your possession when searched by the police. Another more difficult prosecution can be based on constructive possession, for example the methamphetamine is at your house, in your room, in your book bag, which only you have access to, but you are not present when the police arrive and discover the methamphetamine.
If you or a loved one is charged with methamphetamine trafficking, for whatever reason, you both need and deserve good legal representation. If your amount is just over an ounce, and you by default are charged with the felony of “trafficking”, it is normal to be terrified by the maximum fines and prison sentences you could be facing; thirty years and one million dollars. It is incredibly important that you contact a skilled attorney who knows what he is doing. Your attorney needs to investigate whether the case is legally sound. These decisions should not be made without the help of a skilled Drug Defense attorney.