Virginia takes drug possession charges very seriously, with potential penalties depending on the type and amount of controlled substance allegedly possessed. If you or a loved one have been charged with drug possession, a Manassas drug possession lawyer can help. Call today to discuss your case with a Manassas drug lawyer.
Under Virginia Code 18.2-250, it is illegal for a person to knowingly possess a controlled substance unless he or she has authorization to do so or has a valid prescription for the drug. The particular schedule of controlled substance determines the severity of the offense.
Possession of a schedule I or II substance – like heroin, cocaine, ecstasy and methamphetamine – is a Class 5 felony punishable by up to ten years in prison. However, the jury or court trying the case has been granted the discretion by law to reduce this penalty to that of a Class 1 misdemeanor – one year in jail and a fine of up to $2500. Because the court has the ability to so greatly reduce the penalties, it is especially important that if you are facing drug possession charges for a Class I or II substance, you have an experienced Manassas drug possession attorney fighting on your behalf.
Possession of schedule III controlled substances – like prescription painkillers and anabolic steroids – is considered a Class 1 misdemeanor, and possession of schedule IV drugs – such as Xanax and Valium – is considered a Class 2 misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and fines of up to $1000.
Possessing marijuana is still illegal in Virginia, though the law treats marijuana possession less harshly than some other drug possession charges. A person charged with first-time possession of marijuana faces up to 30 days in jail and $500 in fines. A prior drug-related conviction can cause a subsequent marijuana possession charge to be treated as a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and $2500 in fines.
In Virginia, the law permits Manassas drug possession lawyers to pursue reduced or deferred charges and penalties for persons charged with drug possession for the first time. This means that if the court agrees, and you have no prior drug-related convictions and have never been on probation for a similar offense, you may receive probation and have the case against you deferred, or placed on hold pending the successful completion of probation.
The court may require individuals placed on probation to complete substance abuse assessments, treatment and education, to submit to random drug testing, to maintain or seek employment, and to complete community service hours as a condition of probation.
Persons accused of both felony and misdemeanor drug possession charges, for all levels and types of controlled substances – including marijuana – have the potential to be placed on probation, so long as they have no prior drug-related convictions or probations. This does not mean, however, that all first-time offenders will automatically receive probation. Having an experienced Manassas drug possession attorney by your side can make all the difference.
Constructive possession is when drugs are found near an individual rather than on their person. Constructive possession most frequently arises in a vehicle or in a residence. In order for the government to prove constructive possession, it has to show that the individual knew of the presence and of the character of the drugs. In other words, the government has to prove that the individual was there and knew what the drugs were. The government also has to prove that they were subject to the individual’s dominion and control. This essentially means they have to prove that the drugs were within the individual’s reach and that they were treating them as though it were theirs.
While certain drug possession offenses are treated more harshly than others, it is important to consult an experienced Manassas drug possession attorney, no matter what schedule of controlled substance you are charged with possessing. Your Manassas drug possession lawyer can work to obtain a fair and beneficial outcome for your case, regardless of whether this is the first time you have been charged with possession of a controlled substance or not. Having experience and tenacity on your side are two very valuable assets in creating a strong defense against these charges.
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