Drug Crimes

Individuals charged with drug crimes face a number of potential punishments and repercussions.  Drug crimes range from misdemeanor possession of marijuana or drug paraphernalia to felony distribution of serious drugs such as cocaine and ecstasy.  The type of drug, and in some cases the amount, determine whether the individual will be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony.  Likewise, the amount can be the difference between a charge of simple possession of a drug and that of possession with the intent to distribute.  Upon conviction of a drug offense, possible sentences include fines, license suspension, and jail time.  On the other hand, for certain offenses, “first offender” programs exist, under which drug charges are reduced or dismissed upon completion of a class, community service, or other requirements.  Many of these programs, however, require the defendant to plead guilty, and the arrest cannot be expunged, even upon completion of the program.

Possession of Marijuana

Marijuana possession is one of the most common drug charges in Virginia.  The police may charge a person with possession of a drug either because he actually had it on his person, or because he constructively possessed it.  An experienced defense attorney may be able to challenge the seizure or search, or the handling of the drugs by police and lab technicians.

The police may charge a person with possession of marijuana either because he actually had it on his person, or because he constructively possessed it.  The facts of a drug case greatly affect the possible charges and the defenses to them.

Many people fall into the trap of trying to handle possession cases themselves, either pleading guilty because they feel it’s not serious, or enrolling themselves in a “first offender” program, under which the charge is dismissed upon completion of a class, community service, or other requirements.  Many of these programs, however, require the defendant to plead guilty, and the arrest cannot be expunged, even upon completion of the program.  An experienced criminal defense attorney will discuss the facts of your case with you, and develop a strategy to try to avoid conviction or minimize the damage to you.  If you are facing a marijuana possession charge, contact us to discuss your case.

Felony Drug Possession

The type of drug, and in some cases the amount, determine whether the individual will be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony.  Likewise, the amount can be the difference between a charge of simple possession of a drug and that of possession with the intent to distribute.

On being charged with felony possession of a controlled substance, you have the right to challenge the evidence by having the suspected drug tested at a lab.  That option is given up automatically if you or your attorney do not file for it in a timely fashion.  Forcing the Commonwealth to meet its burden by requiring it to conduct a lab test is just one of the possible defenses you may have in felony possession cases.  The facts of each case are different, and it is important that you speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney to protect and defend yourself.

Drug Distribution

Like possession of a controlled substance, distribution of or possession with the intent to distribute drugs can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the substance.

Distribution cases often start when drugs are sold to either an undercover officer, or to an informant.  Distribution of a controlled substance does not require a sale, however.  Such a charge merely requires providing a drug to another person.

Even if drugs are not actually distributed, the Commonwealth often attempts to prove that a defendant intended to distribute the drug at a later time.  A large quantity of a drug may indicate that the substance was not merely for personal use.  Likewise, possession of other paraphernalia, such as scales or baggies, may indicate that a defendant intended to distribute drugs.

An experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to challenge or even suppress that evidence.  If you have been charged with distribution or possession with the intent to distribute a drug, contact Richmond|Schy to discuss the facts of your case, and the potential defenses you may have.

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