August 09, 2019
Gwinnett County Solicitor’s Office will not prosecute many marijuana cases for the time being
Where a crime takes place in Georgia, and most places, is an extremely important question. Yesterday, the Gwinnett County Solicitor General announced that the prosecutors will not prosecute marijuana possession cases with arrest dates of May 10, 2019 or after due to a law change that pertains to THC levels. https://www.wsbtv.com/news/local/gwinnett-county/this-metro-county-will-not-prosecute-any-more-marijuana-cases-for-now/974261373.
In essence, it is now more difficult for the State to establish through its available tests beyond a reasonable doubt that the substance the defendant possesses is an illegal substance as opposed to a legal substance, such as hemp.
Now, other counties and municipalities in Georgia, such as our own DeKalb County, Fulton County, and even Atlanta may follow suit. However, Cherokee County is not likely to adopt this view. In most Georgia counties, a misdemeanor marijuana charge would carry a fine, perhaps some community service, and, in the most serious cases, such as a repeat offender situation, a period of time on probation. In Cherokee, we see negotiated plea offers that require random drug tests, significant jail time (30+ days), exorbitant fines, requirements to attend drug court, and DUI Risk Reduction School, even when the charge has nothing to do with the defendant driving.
It is extremely important that an attorney be familiar with the venue in which a criminal case, or even a civil case, is pending. There can be a huge discrepancy between how one county deals with a particular charge and how another county would address the same matter. In some circumstances, this disparity in how things are handled can vary from one judge’s courtroom to another. The knowledge of how to respond and react in these circumstances is something that comes with experience, knowledge of the jurors in a specific county, awareness of the local customs and practices of the court, and connections with others who are most familiar with the venue.
If you or someone close to you has been charged with a marijuana offense, or any criminal offense, call the DeWoskin Law Firm for a consultation. We have the experience and expertise to provide sound legal guidance as to the best manner of defending the case. If the charges do come out of a venue with which we are not familiar, we know how to get you to the person most knowledgeable, reliable, and capable of handling the matter.
UPDATE: I am pleased to announce that Cobb County and Dekalb County, my backyard, are two jurisdictions in Georgia among others that have made similar announcements with respect to the prosecution of misdemeanor marijuana cases. This is a developing issue in the law and one that is likely to call for many more updates. For the time being, we would expect them to be developments suggesting a halt to such prosecutions, but tests that satisfy evidentiary standards do exist, and thus vigilance is required for anyone charged with these offenses.