Atlanta Legal Blog

Lawmakers ponder change to marijuana possession rules

Medical marijuana has been legal in Georgia for some time, but patients have probably noticed the infrastructure is not in place to purchase marijuana legally. This frustrating situation leads some residents to purchase marijuana from the black market. Even if a person has qualified for medical marijuana and only purchases a small amount for personal use, he or she can still face criminal charges for marijuana possession. 

State lawmakers are now drafting legislation that would help people in this situation avoid criminal charges. Research has shown that legalizing the personal possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use could help prevent gang or drug cartel activity in local communities. Buying marijuana from such sources can put a buyer in harm's way if the buyer is dealing with a party that also sells other deadly drugs or is prone to violence. 

Shoplifting: What you need to know

Shoplifting is a major problem for Georgia retailers. According to a 2014 research study by the National Association of Shoplifting Prevention (NASP), one out of 11 people shoplifts merchandise. Many retailers tend to take a hard line with shoplifters as a result.

But overzealous reactions from store owners and managers can lead to innocent people being arrested, charged and prosecuted for shoplifting when what really occurred was a misunderstanding. Read on to learn more about shoplifting allegations.

Three arrested for drug crimes

People charged for drug possession may know that the legal system considers it a serious crime. What they may not know is how different drugs may be treated under the law, since possession of certain types of drugs here in can carry harsher sentences than others. Those facing charges for drug crimes may want to consider their available legal options to determine the best course of action. This the likely scenario for three men here in Georgia who were recently arrested on various drug possession charges.

According to authorities, the three were arrested after receiving a tip that illegal drug sales were happening out of a particular house. Investigators from the Narcotics Intelligence Unit served a warrant at the home and arrested the individuals. The charges range from possession with intent to distribute for several different drugs, including marijuana and MDMA. 

Shoplifting carries serious penalties

Retail workers prepare for more customer traffic during the holiday shopping season. This shopping boon unofficially extends for some weeks beyond Christmas as people return and exchange gifts and use the gift cards they received as presents. Along with handling the rush of customers, retail employees and business owners are on the lookout for those they suspect of shoplifting. Unfortunately, the shoplifting laws in Georgia may jeopardize the future of anyone accused of this type of theft.

It is not true that a person must walk out of a store with an unpaid item for the business owner or an employee to accuse that person of shoplifting. The law allows for criminal charges if the accused in any way conceals an item, alters the price on the tag, or changes the price tag or packaging for those of a cheaper item. The accused must also have the intention of depriving the store of that property.

A vital trust preparation question: Revocable or irrevocable?

When Georgia residents engage in estate planning, one of the primary concerns is making sure that their decisions provide the most benefit to them and their family members. Many of them will use trusts in order to achieve that goal. Before trust preparation can begin in earnest, individuals will need to determine whether their interests are best served by a revocable or an irrevocable trust.

Revocable trusts allow the person creating the trust to maintain a substantial amount of control over the assets. They can serve as trustee, make changes to the trust, and put assets into and take them out of it when needed. During life, this may seem like the best solution even though it means the assets could remain part of the state for tax and government aid purposes.

Entrapment can lead to unfair charges

If you're someone who has faced drug charges, one thing you might be incensed about is how you were caught. Maybe you were offered drugs by someone, but the moment you accepted you found that person was a police officer. That situation could be entrapment, and if so, you could have a strong defense.

Entrapment happens when a government agent does something to induce you to commit a crime. For example, they might walk up to you and offer you drugs. If you buy them, then they would arrest you, but that's entrapment. If not for their actions, you may not have been interested in purchasing drugs at all.

Avoid making these estate planning mistakes

Creating an estate plan does not have to be hard, but it does require a thoughtful approach. Otherwise it is very easy to make otherwise avoidable mistakes, most of which will significantly impact the future. As people in Georgia get ready to welcome the new year, it is a good time to think about estate planning goals for 2020. Here are a few mistakes to watch out for.

Wills are very important components of effective estate plans. However, wills only function correctly when they contain correct information. Although it is a good idea to review wills at least once a year, it is important to always update information after significant life events. Marriage, the birth of a child and divorce are just a few examples. Keeping the same will for year after year is a serious mistake that can have unintended consequences for loved ones.

Traffic violations initiative: Gesture of goodwill or unfair?

Christmas is traditionally a time in which people are encouraged to spread goodwill to others. One police department in Georgia is in the midst of the second year of its own tradition, designed to show the community that officers care about the people they serve. Unfortunately, their outreach may be viewed by some as unfair treatment when it comes to traffic violations

It is not typically a joyful occasion when someone gets pulled over. Traffic tickets can result in hefty fines, loss of driving privileges and even jail time. Recently, the Fairburn Police Department decided to spread some holiday cheer by handing out gift cards instead of tickets to area drivers who were pulled over for driving infractions. 

Marijuana possession in Georgia

The legalization of medical marijuana for select eligible patients has possibly led to some confusion regarding Georgia state law. Although permitted for limited medical purposes, marijuana possession is still a crime and can lead to arrest. Depending on a number of factors, possession charges can be either misdemeanors or felonies.

When a person is arrested for possession of marijuana, the amount of marijuana that he or she is accused of possessing is a key factor. A person who was arrested for less than 1 ounce of marijuana will potentially face less severe criminal consequences than someone who was found with more. Possession charges for a single ounce or less are misdemeanors. Although misdemeanors are generally less serious than felonies, a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge can lead to a $1,000 fine and/or up to a year in jail.

Data regarding speeding tickets may be misleading

Georgia residents may already be aware that there is some controversy regarding traffic tickets within the Peach State. Speeding tickets and other citations are meant to be a penalty when a driver breaks the law because driving too fast or in a careless fashion can lead to serious crashes. Though certainly such penalties are in place to keep the general public safe on the road, there is solid evidence that the fines paid by drivers who receive these tickets make up an enormous portion of the budget in some cities and towns. 

Over the summer, whistleblowers called attention to data that suggests police within some Georgia municipalities may be a bit overzealous when issuing tickets that carry a fine if a driver is found guilty of the infraction for which he or she was cited. In some areas of Georgia, traffic fines make up nearly half of the budget for local government. It can seem like a hassle to contest a traffic ticket, and many drivers choose to just pay a fine to avoid a trip to traffic court. 

Mr. Teiger, Thank you very much for your time and results. I will definitely recommend you & your firm to anyone who wants to be treated professionally courteously and needs results.Hope all is well.Again...thank you. Regards, Paul L.

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