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What is ‘crossing the guard line’ in Georgia?

If you’ve never heard the term “crossing the guard line,” you aren’t alone. It’s used to describe the specific action of entering some kind of correctional building — whether jail or prison — with guns, alcohol or drugs in your possession.

The law is aimed at preventing people from trying to smuggle contraband in to correctional facilities. If you are caught, you can be charged with a felony that could put you behind bars for up to four years — in addition to any other charges you may face, such as drug possession charges.

However, that’s not all that the law does. “Crossing the guard line” draws its name from the fact that defendants who have been arrested and charged with a crime are typically searched twice — once by the arresting officer and once when they cross into the jail, just past the guard line. While the arresting officer is supposed to pat down every suspect, they sometimes miss something small, like a loose Xanax in someone’s pocket or a marijuana joint rolled up in the cuff of someone’s pants.

Unfortunately, if you happen to be the person under arrest, this puts you in a bad position. You may not know if you should remain silent about the drugs the officer missed to avoid damaging your legal defense. You may simply — in your shock at being arrested — have forgotten the drugs were there. Now, what might have been a simple drug possession charge is a felony.

Georgia is very tough on drug crimes. If you’ve been arrested for crossing the guard line or another drug crime, take the necessary steps to protect your interests.

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