Doraville Reduces Penalties for Marijuana Possession Arrests

Posted by Richard Lawson | Aug 14, 2020 | 0 Comments

DeKalb County Courthouse

Doraville, Ga. - The Doraville City Council unanimously passed an ordinance this past week that decriminalizes and reduces the penalties associated with marijuana possession within the City of Doraville.

Doraville Councilwoman Stephe Koontz made the following statement: “When I saw that there were over 100 people that were put in jail that would not have been put in jail except for the possession of a small amount of marijuana, I felt we needed to do something about that. That's 100 people that didn't need to spend the night in jail.”

As a Georgia DUI Lawyer, I handle cases involving alcohol and drug related crimes. In today's post, I will outline the law behind the offense of marijuana possession. Marijuana possession is still classified as a misdemeanor under state law, however, municipalities and counties can reduce the penalties involved so that no arrests are necessary.

Marijuana Possession

The Georgia Code defines possession of marijuana in Georgia in O.C.G.A. §16-13-3 as:

It is unlawful for any person to possess, have under his or her control, manufacture, deliver, distribute, dispense, administer, purchase, sell, or possess with intent to distribute marijuana.

To be guilty of marijuana possession in Georgia, the prosecution must prove that the accused is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Since it is unlawful for any person to possess a controlled substance in Georgia, the State must show that the accused person possessed marijuana.

Interestingly enough, the possession can be actual or constructive. This means that if someone is not in actual possession, then a person who knowingly has both the power and the intention at a given time to exercise dominion or control over the marijuana will be deemed to be in constructive possession of it.

Anyone who is found guilty or pleads guilty to possession of marijuana in Georgia will lose his or her driver's license for a minimum period of at least 6 months. 

In Georgia, convictions for possession of marijuana stay on your record forever and cannot be expunged. In addition to your record being forever marred with possession of marijuana, a Georgia judge may also enforce penalties such as jail time, fines and other fees, probation and community service.

Practice Note

Many different municipalities have begun decriminalizing marijuana possession in an attempt to keep people out of jail for marijuana possession arrests.

If you have been cited or arrested for drug possession or an alcohol related offense, call our offices today.

About the Author

Richard Lawson

Managing Partner at Lawson & Berry:


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