Most people know that drug charges in Georgia aren’t treated lightly. And while many people don’t believe they’d ever get caught with drugs, these charges are easier to press than you might think.

Here are three things you probably didn’t know about how police can charge someone for drugs.

What counts as possession

One big misconception many people have is what actually counts as drug possession. In Georgia, a person can be arrested for drug possession if an illicit substance is found on their property, on their person or even near their person in some circumstances.

Whether it’s true or not, holding drugs that belong to someone else still counts as drug possession and is punishable by law. You may also be punished for drug possession if an illicit substance is found within your reach in a public area or in someone else’s vehicle, depending on surrounding circumstances.

How weight is calculated

The amount of drugs a person is found with makes a big impact on the sentence they can be charged with. In fact, any amount of marijuana that is over an ounce or under ten pounds can result in up to a 10-year sentence. But, did you know that this weight may appear heavier than it should?

Seized marijuana may be weighed on a scale as it was found. If that includes the stems of the plant, this extra weight could tip the scale to a more severe penalty.

Paraphernalia counts

In addition to being caught with illegal drugs, many people are also caught with the item(s) used to administer the drug. Possession of paraphernalia is against the law and comes with its only misdemeanor penalties of up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

The court can determine whether an object is drug paraphernalia based on its proximity to the drug, any drug residue on it or other circumstantial factors.

Because even misdemeanor charges can have a large impact on a person’s future education, employment and housing opportunities, it’s a good idea to consult with a professional to learn more about your options if you find yourself in this position.