Drug crimes are treated very seriously in Virginia. Many offenses that are not considered crimes in other states, such as possession of small amounts of marijuana, are still treated very seriously under Virginia law.
Drug charges are considered to be intimidating because they can have far-reaching consequences. Drug charges can cause someone to lose their employment, security clearance, or driver’s license. The far-reaching consequences of having such a charge on an individual’s record, in addition to the penalties they might receive, could be scary to face on their own.
An experienced Fredericksburg drug attorney can help by investigating the prosecution’s claims and using the holes in their case to build a strong defense. An experienced defense attorney can also help by making sure your civil rights have not been violated.
The most common drug crime in Fredericksburg is possession of a controlled substance. Such substances could be marijuana, heroin, and cocaine, among other things. The second most common drug crime in this jurisdiction is possession with intent to distribute. This is when a person is caught with a quantity of drugs that suggests such drugs are intended for more than personal use. A person may also be charged with possession with intent to distribute if they are caught with drug-related items, such as baggies or scales, which suggest they may be selling or distributing drugs to others.
In Virginia, drugs are classified according to the schedule set forth by the legislature, which is a different schedule than that which is used under federal law. Under this schedule, a number of drugs are considered to be illegal, with some treated more seriously than others.
Marijuana possession seems to be the offense most frequently charged. For example, even during unrelated traffic stops, accusations often arise that marijuana can be smelled in the vehicle. While marijuana possession is frequently charged and searched for, heroin is the drug law enforcement is focused on as it is such a dangerous and increasingly large problem.
Fredericksburg law enforcement officers deal with prescription drugs very seriously, and if you are facing charges involving prescription drugs, the help of Fredericksburg drug lawyer is essential. Many prescription drugs with which individuals are charged with being in possession of are schedule two drugs, which are illegal for a person to have in their possession unless they have a valid prescription. If an officer finds a person to be in possession of these kinds of drugs without a current prescription for such drugs, that person will likely be charged with a felony, even if they have a valid prescription for those drugs that was not in their possession at the time of the charge.
The most frequent setting in which drug possession laws are enforced is during a routine traffic stop. Many cases of possession involving marijuana or some other controlled substance begin with a stop for a speeding ticket. However, a routine stop can quickly turn serious, either when a person consents to a search of their vehicle or when an officer observes or smells evidence suggesting the presence of drugs.
There are a number of constitutional issues that can arise in drug crime cases, which is why someone should get the help of an experienced drug attorney in Fredericksburg to best make a defense in line with these issues. The most frequent constitutional issue that arises under these circumstances is the Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures. Any time a person is stopped by a police officer, they are considered seized for the purposes of the Fourth Amendment. For this reason, such a stop must be based upon probable cause. This is also true of any subsequent searches performed on a person or their vehicle.
Additionally, a person has a right against self-incrimination, which means they must be issued a Miranda warning if they are placed under arrest and questioned by the police. Finally, the Sixth Amendment guarantees a person the right to have counsel present at all important points of their case. If any of these constitutional rights are violated, such violations can result in evidence being suppressed or even in the case being dismissed.
If you have received a drug charge, you should contact an attorney at the first opportunity. Drug charges are serious and can have far-reaching consequences. Attorneys can also be of significant help in significantly reducing or mitigating such charges, especially when involved early in a case. It is very important if you have been charged with a drug-related crime to contact an experienced Fredericksburg drug lawyer as soon as charges are brought against you.
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