Consult with an Experienced Virginia Drug Lawyer Fairfax, Va
Drug-related crimes in Virginia are serious and call for an experienced drug lawyer in Fairfax, Va with very specific expertise.
Note: Our lawyers practice in Fairfax, and all other counties of Virginia. We have offices in Fairfax, Arlington, and Staunton. We reference Fairfax, Va. in this article because it is the largest jurisdiction in Virginia with the most rigid procedures. Work done to Fairfax standards meets or exceeds the standards in every other jurisdiction in the Commonwealth, so it is common to use it as a benchmark.
Drugs charges in Virginia most typically involve possession or distribution. However, synthetic drugs such as bath salts, synthetic marijuana, PCP, LSD, and MDMA have all become commonplace. Many of these drugs have some of the same effects as traditional controlled substances like marijuana and cocaine. Synthetic drugs are popular among high school students and other youth, especially because the drugs are said to be harder to detect than their real counterparts. However, just because a drug is synthetic does not always make it legal.
Synthetic Drugs in the State of Virginia
Fairfax, Va drug lawyers, often represent clients facing charges related to synthetic drugs. Generally, synthetic drugs are manufactured by chemical processes in a laboratory setting. Altering the chemicals used to create one drug even slightly can yield another drug, while still providing the same effects. One way to avoid getting in trouble with the law, is by altering the chemical composition of a particular drug, so that it is not longer on the list of prohibited drugs.
Synthetic drugs are sometimes sold in gas stations, convenience stores, and smoke shops. The fact that these drugs are often altered to stay one step ahead of the law, can cause confusion as to which drugs are still legal. This can confuse ordinary citizens, as well as some law enforcement officials, making a drug lawyer from Fairfax, Va essential to your case.
In many states, synthetic drugs are considered illegal and subject to regulation under the law. On the federal level, the Synthetic Drug Abuse Prevention Act was signed into law in 2012. This made the labeling of certain synthetic drugs as Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. Following this, the DEA took emergency action to place synthetic drugs on the controlled substances list. Because of this, being charged with a drug crime is serious business, making it vital that you receive legal counsel from a drug lawyer in Fairfax, VA.
Synthetic drugs have been reclassified as controlled substances, making them punishable with the same penalties as drugs such as marijuana, meth, and cocaine. As a result, depending upon the weight of the substance and other factors, a defendant stands to face between 5-50 years in prison for the manufacture and distribution of synthetic drugs. Owners of convenience stores who continue to sell synthetic drugs may also be prosecuted for various state and federal offenses, such as money laundering and tax evasion. Facing charges that were related to synthetic drugs call for the assistance of a drug lawyer from Fairfax, VA.
Facing Drug Possession Charges in the State of Virginia
When facing possession charges, drug lawyers in Fairfax, Va can help you navigate the criminal court system. The type of drug determines the seriousness of the charge. Almost all drug charges in Virginia are felonies, with the exception of Marijuana Possession, which is a misdemeanor. Unsurprisingly, “Possession of Marijuana” is not nearly as serious as “Possession of Cocaine.”
Laws related to drug possession generally arise from Virginia Code §18.2-250. To prove a drug possession charge, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant knowingly and intentionally possessed the drug. The key here is “knowing and intentional” possession. This can be complicated for a Prosecutor to prove and is the main defense used by a Fairfax, Va drug lawyer. For example, suspected drugs found on one’s person might be viewed differently than suspected drugs found within a vehicle or in a backpack.
The maximum punishment for simple possession is up to 10 years in prison. Virginia Code §18.2-251 provides for a circumstance where a first-time offender, whether accused of felony or misdemeanor, might avoid a criminal conviction. This is largely based upon the successful completion of probation before a judgment is entered in the case.
Oddly, whether a motor vehicle is involved in a drug case or not, most convictions of a drug offense also results in a mandatory driver’s license suspension for at least 6 months.
Laws related to drug distribution can be found at Virginia Code §18.2-248. Distribution charges are obviously more serious and call for an experienced drug lawyer in Fairfax, Va to assist you. This is especially true when those allegations take place near a school or involve weapons. In those circumstances there are added years in prison on top of what a defendant would get just for the Distribution charge on its own.
A more common charge is “Possession With Intent to Distribute” (PWID). Without evidence of an actual distribution, the prosecution has the added burden of proving that the accused intended to distribute some suspected illegal drug. This is often marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy, or heroin and increasingly, some legitimate pharmaceuticals used in an illegal manner as well. PWID cases hinge on the circumstances of the alleged possession. The presence of larger quantities of drugs or items such as scales, specific packaging, or cash can become the basis of a PWID charge, even if drugs were intended for personal use.
A drug lawyer from Fairfax, Va will also assert other common defenses in Possession, PWID, or Distribution cases involving the admissibility of evidence. An experienced Fairfax, Va drug lawyer will question the legality of police searches and seizures. If successful, this will limit the prosecutor’s use of certain evidence. There can also be questions about the how suspected drugs were collected, processed, or tested.
Possession of Drug Paraphernalia is a related charge than can arise under these circumstances. To sustain a conviction under Virginia Code § 54.1-3466 for possession of drug paraphernalia, the prosecution must prove that the accused possessed drug paraphernalia contemplated by the law. The prosecution must additionally prove that the accused did so with the intention of using the paraphernalia for the purpose of illegally administering a controlled substance. This is considered a misdemeanor, not a felony. A Fairfax, Va drug lawyer often uses this section in plea negotiations by asking the Prosecutor to drop a Possession charge to a Paraphernalia charge.
Drug charges in Virginia are serious legal situations. If you or someone you know is charged with a drug crime, they are going to need a drug lawyer from Fairfax, Va with expertise and experience in this specialized field of criminal defense. The lawyer you choose for a drug allegation is a critical decision. Your lawyer can be invaluable every step along the way. For example, there might be opportunities to become involved before charges are made avoiding criminal exposure altogether. There can be issues relating to arrest and bond after a charge is made. Assessing the evidence of the case and developing the appropriate trial defense is the central role of a drug lawyer in Fairfax, Va. The organization of mitigating information and negotiations with the prosecution are part of any comprehensive defense. Dealing with a judge in a courtroom can range from motions, pretrial hearings, actual trial and in some cases, the sentencing phase.
Contact Dave Albo Attorney in Virginia
At our law firm, your drug case will receive the attention it deserves from a seasoned Fairfax, Va drug lawyer with experience representing intricate drug crimes. If you have been arrested for a drug-related crime on the state or federal level, you need an experienced and zealous drug crimes attorney like Dave Albo Attorney fighting for you. A drug conviction can have a devastating impact on a person’s future, affecting their career prospects, educational opportunities, and even housing. This is why it is critical to have a criminal defense attorney who has experience in both federal and state drug laws.
Call Dave Albo Attorney today to schedule a free and confidential consultation. With a seasoned criminal defense attorney clients recommend, you can learn more about how our legal team can protect your rights.