Unlike it’s bordering jurisdiction, the District of Columbia, Virginia has not legalized marijuana and will take any charge related to marijuana or other drugs extremely seriously. Law enforcement and proseuctors do not let people off the hook for drug charges, even for people who accidentally or otherwise brought marijuana over from DC. With these things in mind, anyone who is facing a drug charge in Virginia should consult with a Culpeper drug lawyer to help minimize the impact of this charge on their future.
The penalties associated with drug possession in Virginia are very severe. Not only would a person have a conviction of a misdemeanor or felony on their record, they could be facing jail time and/or the loss of their license depending on the charge. They may have to take the alcohol safety action program or be put on probation and required to have regular drug testing to make sure they are not engaging in any kind of drug use in the future.
For this reason, the best step to take toward beginning your defense against drug charges is contacting a drug lawyer in Culpeper as soon as possible.
One of the most common drug crimes that occurs in Culpeper is possession of marijuana. Additionally, some of the more serious drug crimes revolve around prescription drug misuse. Buying and selling prescription drugs illegally is very common in Culpeper.
Drugs are classified in Culpeper the same way that they are classified throughout Virginia, which is similar to how they are classified federally. Illegal drugs and controlled substances are separated into different schedules, with Schedule I reserved for the most dangerous and non-medically beneficial substances. Drugs are scheduled depending on their composition, potential for misuse, and degree of known medical benefit. A Culpeper drug attorney has a concrete knowledge of Virginia’s drug classifications, which can be confusing to navigate at times when laws regarding some substances seem to be changing constantly.
Some offenses that Culpeper law enforcement officers are trying to cut down on include possession of marijuana, and the buying and selling of marijuana, among various other drugs. The most serious drugs such as heroin, cocaine, methamphetamines, and abused prescription drugs are also big issues in Culpeper.
With that being said, it is very rare for the police to go after somebody simply because the officers think that the individual has drugs unless there is a large buy-sell operation being investigated. Usually, the drugs are found in tandem with some other type of criminal activity. For example, someone is stopped for some kind of traffic violation. If they have drugs on them, those drugs will probably be found if they are arrested for something else. Otherwise, it is very rare that the police will search for something like a simple possession. Law enforcement is required to follow certain arresting protocols, and a Culpeper drug lawyer will work with clients to make sure that those protocols were followed in the process of issuing a drug arrest.
Culpepper officers typically enforce drug possession laws in tandem with some other type of criminal activity stop. If somebody is stopped for a traffic violation; the officer may smell marijuana and get a visual read of some kind of possession of other types of drugs. If there is any kind of big selling operation or manufacturing operation, the authorities might gear a larger investigation in doing those, but it is normally in tandem with some other type of criminal activity.
The constitutional issues associated with a drug case include Fourth Amendment and Fifth Amendment issues, such as certain search and seizures as well as interrogation and confession issues.
In Culpepper, as anywhere else in Virginia, a person has the constitutional right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. Officers cannot randomly stop and search a person for drugs. They must have a basis to stop them in the first place. This can look like different things. For example, if there is a traffic stop, they must have a reasonable, articulable suspicion to stop the vehicle because they think the individual is engaged in a crime. Whether the person is speeding, driving drunk, impeding traffic, or going through a stop sign, officers can stop and then subsequent to the stop, search them if they have some reason to believe that the driver has drugs in their possession.
There are other times that the officers do not do this correctly. They go beyond what is allowed under the law. When that happens, it becomes a situation where the attorney has the ability to challenge this.
One of the ways is through a motion to suppress. The attorney tries to quash the initial stop and any subsequent searches or seizures. Additionally, once an individual is arrested and taken into custody, they have the right to be advised of their right to remain silent, which is where the Miranda rights attach. At that point in time, the individual has additional rights that are attached and police often violate these rights. This is something that can and should be challenged by a good defense attorney.
Drug charges are fairly straightforward and easy to prove for the prosecutor. Usually, it is not a question of whether something is actually a drug. It is more question of whether or not the individual had the drug.
In Virginia, a person can be found guilty of drug possession even if they do not physically have the drug on them due to something called constructive possession in Virginia. If a drug is within an individual’s dominion and control, within arms’ reach, and they are aware of it, they can be charged with possession. This charge is valid even if they technically do not have it in their hands. Additionally, if a person is found with a backpack containing drugs in their vehicle, they can be charged with possession of those drugs.
You should contact an attorney immediately, and even before you are arrested if possible. If you believe there is a possibility that you are going to be arrested in the future, you should contact your attorney and ask why the police are investigating you and what you can do to help mitigate that type of charge coming down the line.
If you are arrested, call a Culpeper drug lawyer as soon as you have an opportunity to do so. If you are let out on bond, call an attorney because you are going to need somebody to help present the case the authorities are building against you.
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