Drug Conspiracy Charges in Georgia
Drug Conspiracy Charges in Georgia
Drug conspiracy charges are some of the most serious drug offenses in Georgia. A drug conspiracy involves an agreement between two or more people to commit a drug crime, like trafficking or distribution. Even if the crime is never actually committed, the conspiracy itself is illegal and can lead to stiff penalties.
In this article, we’ll break down everything you need to know about drug conspiracy laws and charges in Georgia. We’ll cover the legal definition, typical penalties, real case examples, and potential defenses. Our goal is to provide a helpful overview so you understand your rights and options if facing these allegations.
What is Drug Conspiracy in Georgia?
Georgia law defines drug conspiracy under O.C.G.A. §16-4-8. This statute says that a drug conspiracy occurs when two or more people agree to commit a drug crime together, and then one of them takes some action to further the conspiracy. The key elements are:
- An agreement between two or more people to commit a drug offense
- An overt act taken to advance the conspiracy
The agreement doesn’t have to be formal or explicit. A “wink and nod” understanding is enough. The overt act can be something small too, like making a phone call, sending a text, or driving to meet a co-conspirator.
Importantly, the underlying drug crime never has to actually happen for someone to be charged with drug conspiracy. The agreement combined with the overt act is sufficient.
Common Drug Conspiracy Charges
Some of the most common drug crimes involved in Georgia conspiracy allegations include:
- Trafficking heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine or other drugs
- Selling or distributing drugs
- Manufacturing drugs like methamphetamine
- Possessing drugs with intent to distribute
Conspiracies to commit any of these drug offenses, even in small amounts, can lead to criminal charges. The drug type and quantity will impact the potential penalties if convicted.
Penalties for Drug Conspiracy Convictions
A drug conspiracy conviction in Georgia carries up to half the maximum punishment for the underlying drug crime. For example:
- Conspiracy to traffic over 400 grams of cocaine is punishable by up to 30 years in prison
- Conspiracy to sell less than one ounce of marijuana is punishable by up to 10 years in prison
Fines, probation, and driver’s license suspensions may also be imposed. Penalties tend to increase with larger drug amounts and for repeat offenders.
Recent Georgia Drug Conspiracy Cases
To understand how these charges work in real life, let’s look at two recent drug conspiracy cases in Georgia:
Case 1: Methamphetamine Manufacturing Conspiracy
A man was convicted of conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine and other charges in Edwards v. State (306 Ga. App. 713). Here’s what happened:
- The man bought two tanks of anhydrous ammonia, commonly used to make meth
- Police got a search warrant for his home after being tipped off
- They found recipes for making meth, scales, and other supplies
Even though the man hadn’t actually made any meth yet, the purchase of ingredients and evidence of planning was enough for a conspiracy conviction.
Case 2: Marijuana Distribution Conspiracy
A driver was convicted of conspiracy to possess marijuana with intent to distribute in Stokes v. State. In this case:
- Police pulled over the driver and found bags of marijuana and rolling paper on his passenger
- The driver admitted agreeing to drive the passenger to pick up the marijuana in exchange for crack cocaine
- Driving to pick up the marijuana was the overt act
The court said the evidence proved an agreement to distribute marijuana, and the driver’s actions in furtherance of it constituted conspiracy.
Defenses to Drug Conspiracy Charges
Despite the broad nature of conspiracy laws, viable defenses exist that can defeat the charges, including:
- No agreement – Argue the evidence does not prove an agreement between parties beyond a reasonable doubt
- No overt act – Argue the evidence does not prove any action was taken to advance the alleged conspiracy
- Lack of intent – Argue you didn’t intend to join the conspiracy in the first place
- Withdrawal – Argue you took steps to withdraw from the conspiracy before any crime occurred
An experienced Georgia drug crimes defense lawyer can evaluate the prosecution’s evidence and determine the best defense strategy for your particular case.
Find an Experienced Drug Conspiracy Lawyer
Facing drug conspiracy charges in Georgia is extremely serious. But an aggressive defense can fight the allegations at every stage of the case. A knowledgeable attorney will thoroughly examine the evidence against you, advise you of your rights, and develop a defense to secure the best possible outcome.
Don’t leave your fate to chance. Contact a trusted lawyer right away for help fighting drug conspiracy charges.