Consult with an Experienced Virginia Drug Lawyer Fairfax, Va
Drug related crimes in Virginia are serious and call for an experienced drug lawyer Fairfax, Va with a 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.
For possession charges, the type of drug determines the seriousness of the charge. Except for Possession of Marijuana, which is a misdemeanor, almost all drug charges in Virginia are felonies. 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 drug lawyer Fairfax, Va in drug cases. For example, suspected drugs found on one’s person might be viewed differently than suspected drugs found within a vehicle or in a backpack, for example.
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 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 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 – often marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy, or heroin but increasingly some legitimate pharmaceutical used in an illegal manner. 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 the use was personal.
A drug lawyer Fairfax, Va will also assert other common defenses in Possession, PWID, or Distribution cases involving the admissibility of evidence. An experienced drug lawyer Fairfax, Va will question the legality of police searches and seizures, and 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 paraphernalia, the prosecution must prove not only that the accused possessed drug paraphernalia contemplated by the law, but also that the accused did so under circumstances that reasonably indicate an intention to use the paraphernalia for the purpose of illegally administering a controlled substance. This is a misdemeanor, not a felony A drug lawyer Fairfax, Va 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 in Virginia, he is going to need a drug lawyer Fairfax, Va with expertise and experience in this specialized field of criminal defense. The lawyer you choose on a drug allegation is a critical decision. Your lawyer can be invaluable at every step along the way. For example, there might be opportunities to become involved before charges are made and avoid criminal exposure altogether. There can be issues relating to arrest and bond after a charge is made. Assessing the evidence of the case and identifying and developing the appropriate trial defenses is the central role of the drug lawyer 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.
At our law firm, your drug case will receive the attention it deserves from a seasoned drug lawyer Fairfax, Va experienced in the intricacies of drug crimes in Virginia. Contact us for a free consultation.