Georgia Taking a Controlled Substance in the Course of Armed Robbery Lawyers

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 What Are Controlled Substances?

A controlled substance is commonly defined as any drug that is regulated by the government that can have a detrimental effect on a person’s health and welfare. As such, controlled substances are strictly controlled by government regulation.

The Controlled Substances Act classifies controlled substances into five schedules based on their:

  • Medicinal value;
  • Potential for abuse;
  • Safety to the public; and
  • Likelihood for dependency.

What Are Drug Crimes?

Drug crimes are crimes that are regulated by all fifty states, as well as the federal government. Both the federal and local governments have enacted laws that address the possession, use, manufacture, and sale of certain drugs. Each specific drug crime has its own standards and legal penalties, especially in terms of the severity of the drug crime that was committed.

Examples of the most common types of drug crimes include:

  • Possession: Drug possession is the most common offense in terms of drug crimes. Drug possession charges generally arise when a person is knowingly in possession of a drug without authorization, such as possessing a prescription drug without a valid prescription;
  • Manufacturing: Drug manufacturing generally involves creating or “cooking” a synthetic chemical substance, or extracting a natural drug into a different form.
    • Examples of drug manufacturing include cooking methamphetamines, or growing illegal cannabis.
    • Additionally, packaging a drug for resale could constitute manufacturing;
  • Use: The use of illegal drugs can also constitute a criminal act, especially in cases in which the drug requires a prescription from a doctor and the offender does not have the required drug prescription;
  • Distribution: Drug distribution includes the sale, smuggling, trafficking, and/or delivery of illegal substances; and
  • Drug Trafficking: A drug trafficking charge includes behavior such as the possession, manufacture, sale, purchase, and/or delivery of illegal or controlled substances either within or across state lines.

The legality of most drugs is determined by how the drug is being used, and what the drug is being used for. For example, cannabis is currently illegal in many states. However, many states allow cannabis for recreational use, while others allow it only with a medical prescription.

In the states that allow medical cannabis, it is considered a prescription drug in those states. Prescription drugs are considered legal for those who possess a valid doctor’s prescription. However, if an individual possesses or uses a prescription drug without a valid prescription from a doctor, they may be charged with a drug crime.

What Is The Legal Definition Of Robbery? What Is Armed Robbery?

In legal terms, robbery refers to a specific form of criminal felony theft. Robbery is defined as the taking of another person’s property by the use of force, intimidation, and/or the threat of force. Robbery is sometimes referred to as “larceny by threat or force.”

Many states have determined that the use or threat of force does not need to be directed at the intended victim in order for an individual to be charged with the crime of robbery. However, the threat must be an immediate threat, and the crime itself must be committed while in the presence of the victim.

If a robbery is committed with the use of a firearm or other deadly weapon, then the crime may become aggravated and considered armed robbery. Armed robbery typically results in a harsher penalty for the defendant. Armed robbery specifically is the act of stealing from someone by using a weapon or a replica of a weapon.

As such, armed robbery is the basic crime of robbery with an additional weapon component. Thus, in order to be charged with armed robbery, all of the elements of robbery must be proven, with the addition of proving a weapon was present or used.

It is important to note that while robbery is frequently confused with the crime of burglary, the two crimes are not actually the same thing. Burglary involves the breaking and entering of a dwelling, or other building, with the intent to commit a felony while inside. The defining differences between the burglary and robbery are the “breaking and entering” element, as well as the fact that burglary does not necessarily involve the use or threat of force.

Under Georgia law, a person commits the crime of armed robbery when they use an actual weapon or an item that resembles an offensive weapon to take property from another person or in the immediate presence of another person while intending to commit a theft.

What Are The Legal Elements Of Robbery?

The specific legal elements of what constitutes robbery differ from state to state. Robbery is commonly defined as “the taking and carrying away of the personal property of another, from their possession in their presence, against their will, by force.” The general elements of robbery are typically:

  • The Taking And Carrying Away: This means that the thief actually obtained an item from the person’s possession or presence, and seized it.
    • If the thief was only successful at intimidating the victim, and not taking anything, this would only be an attempted armed robbery. Attempted armed robbery is considered to be a lesser offense;
  • Of The Personal Property Of Another: In short, an individual can not steal their own property from another person. As such, the property that was said to be stolen must belong to someone other than the thief;
  • From Their Possession Or In Their Presence: In order for the crime to be considered a robbery, and not a burglary, the property must have been stolen in the presence of or directly off of the victim.
    • This means that if the thief broke into someone’s home and they did not know the person was there, it would be considered a burglary or armed burglary. Stealing an item in the presence and by force is what specifically makes a crime a robbery;
  • Against Their Will: This means that the victim did not give consent for the thief to possess or take their property; and
  • By Force: Force can be defined as any form of apprehension, actual violence, or threat of force.
    • Once again, when a weapon or weapon replica is used in Georgia, the crime will be aggravated to an armed robbery charge.

What Is the Punishment for Taking a Controlled Substance in the Course of an Armed Robbery?

In short, taking a controlled substance from a pharmacy in the course of an armed robbery is considered an aggravating factor to the crime of armed robbery in Georgia. A person commits this aggravating factor when they unlawfully take a controlled substance from a pharmacy or a wholesale drug store while intentionally inflicting or threatening severe physical injury upon someone during the commission of an armed robbery.

The Georgia Code section 16-8-41, provides that in any criminal case in which the defendant commits armed robbery and in the course of the commission of the offense such person unlawfully takes a controlled substance from a pharmacy or a wholesale druggist and intentionally inflicts bodily injury upon any person, that person shall be shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than 15 years if found guilty.

What Is Considered a Pharmacy and Wholesale Druggist in Georgia?

A pharmacy in Georgia is defined as any business that is licensed to possess, display, dispense, compound, or sell drugs. The term pharmacy also includes any place dispensing, selling, or storing controlled substances, including a:

  • Warehouse;
  • Physician’s office;
  • Hospital; or
  • Building.

A wholesale druggist is defined in the Georgia code as any individual, association, corporation, or partnership that is registered with the Georgia State Board of Pharmacy.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help With Charges Related to Taking a Controlled Substance in the Course of an Armed Robbery?

As noted above, taking a controlled substance in the course of an armed robbery carries a severe legal penalty of a minimum 15 years in prison. As such, if you or your loved one has been charged with such a crime you should immediately contact an experienced Georgia criminal lawyer.

An experienced Georgia criminal attorney will be able to help you assert any applicable legal defenses, dispute the criminal elements of the charges brought against you, and help you work towards getting your criminal charges reduced or dropped. Finally, an attorney will also be able to represent you at any necessary in person criminal proceedings.

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