There are a few different ways local law enforcement officials can charge someone for drugs in Fairfax, Virginia. These different types of drug charges also bring different levels of severity and can also depend on the class of drug someone is charged for.
Consult with a Fairfax drug lawyer to discuss and understand the nuances of drug charges and better protect yourself should you be charged.
For possession cases—meaning just simple possession versus distribution or manufacturing type of charges—oftentimes you will see those cases derived from traffic stops that led to a search of the vehicle and then a seizure of a small amount of drugs. Also, it is pretty common to see people in their hotel rooms smoking marijuana, for example.
Someone else in the hotel subsequently files a complaint, and the officers come and find a small amount of marijuana or other types of drugs in the room.
In these cases, there is what is called a search incident to arrest, which is when an individual is arrested for a non-drug offense. Then once they are arrested and put in handcuffs the officers have the legal right to search the person. Often, people are then charged with possession once a Fairfax police officer finds drugs in someones pocket.
Also, possession of a firearm on or about your person while in simple possession, not distribution of a schedule 1 or 2 controlled substance is a two-year mandatory minimum.
Possession of a gun while in possession of drugs and also the possession of a schedule 1 or schedule 2 controlled substance is a separate felony offense and carries no mandatory minimum sentence if the sort of possession of the gun is what we call constructive possession. This means they are not actually holding it, but the evidence suggests that they have knowledge of the gun and they are exercising dominion control over it.
So, there is a whole separate family of drug offenses that deals with firearms that carries very serious penalties with them.
In cases in which individuals have a valid prescription, meaning they have a doctor give them a valid script, they have the prescription filled out, and then for whatever reason they have taken the pills out of the actual pill bottle and maybe put several prescriptions together in one bottle so they don’t travel with more than one bottle. If they get pulled over and then after they get arrested, everything is searched and those pills are found.
Under these circumstances, an officer will arrest and charge them. Then, what happens is that the defendant has a valid prescription becomes an affirmative defense. A lot of times if the attorney can get proof of the prescription before the case goes on too long they can negotiate that the case be dismissed so that is a possibility.
Therefore you can be arrested if you do not have the prescription on you even though you actually do have a valid prescription. But most of the time these types of cases derive from people using false or fraudulent prescriptions, taking them to the pharmacy, then the pharmacy is picking up on it, calling the police, and the investigation gets started. So, most of the time, it is the prescription itself that was gained either through fraudulent means or the actual paper script itself is a forgery.
A lot of well-to-do families live in the Fairfax, Virginia area. As a result, if people get charged with drug manufacturing in the area, it is usually for marijuana grow operations or small portable meth labs.
There is also another type of drug offense that Farifax drug lawyers refer to as importation types of offenses. This means the act of importing drugs into the Commonwealth of Virginia from a neighboring State or the District of Columbia.
For these types of cases to proceed in the Commonwealth, there must be more than 1 ounce of a schedule 1 or 2 type of controlled substance or more than five pounds of marijuana that is transported into the state of Virginia.
Distribution or sale also encompasses a common term of possession with intent to distribute which is under the same statute. This type of drug-related offenses are gun-related charges as well. Possession with intent to distribute a drug is a criminal offense. Possession of a firearm while also in possession of a schedule I or II offense carries a five-year mandatory prison term, which will be served consecutively.
For distribution-type offenses, usually what’s involved are long term police investigations or operations. These are situations in which the police have either engaged a confidential informant to conduct a police operation with them or the police engage confidential informants to make undercover buys with suspects to allow for the police to establish enough probable cause to obtain search warrants for a suspect’s home or office. Then, they go ahead and execute the search warrant and find a large amount of drugs and other types of evidence that support distribution offenses.
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