The penalties for cannabis possession can be serious. Additionally, with the increase in the legalization of marijuana in other states, people may be wrongly accused of having THC products and in need of the services of a skilled attorney. Therefore, if law enforcement believes that you illegally had cannabis products, a McLean marijuana possession lawyer could help you fight the charges against you.
Some long-term implications of marijuana possession charges include: having a criminal record, potential jail sentence, and suspended license. Whenever law enforcement charges someone with a criminal offense, this creates a criminal record for the person.
Additionally, when someone receives a first offense possession of marijuana charge, they may face up to 30 days in jail. However, it is uncommon for the Commonwealth to seek jail time for simple possession of marijuana cases unless there are exasperating circumstances. If a person is found guilty of possession of marijuana or enters a deferred disposition program, the court may suspend this person’s license or privilege to drive in the state.
One way in which these implications have changed is through an amendment to the state’s deferred disposition statute. Now, if law enforcement charges a person with possession of marijuana and they were not operating a motor vehicle at the time of the alleged offense, this individual may avoid the otherwise mandatory license suspension through a deferred disposition under Virginia Code § 18.2-251. To avoid the license suspension, the person must agree to complete an additional 50 hours of community service, bringing the total required hours to 74 hours.
With the increase in legal sales of CBD products, such as hemp flower and a variety of cannabis that contains 0.3% or less of THC content, someone can be wrongfully charged with illegally possessing marijuana while in legal possession of hemp. This is why it is incredibly important that someone who is facing possession of marijuana charges in McLean speak with an experienced defense attorney. Other things everyone should know about facing possession of marijuana charges are:
McLean prosecutors treat marijuana charges somewhat differently from other substance-related charges. For Schedule I and II controlled substance cases, these drugs are almost automatically sent off to a Department of Forensic Science lab for analysis. This is done for the Commonwealth to prove that the alleged drug is, in fact, a controlled substance.
However, in marijuana cases, the substance is typically not sent to the lab for analysis unless someone completes a notice, motion, and order for Chemical Analysis of Alleged Plant Material pursuant to Virginia Code §§ 19.2-187, 19.2-188.1. Officers typically rely on field tests to confirm that a substance is marijuana.
So, prosecutors have law enforcement testify as to the results of a marijuana field test as long as the Department of Forensic Science has approved them as accurate and reliable. However, officers can only testify about the results of field tests if they have provided an accused person with written notice of their right to request a full chemical analysis of the substance.
Defending marijuana possession cases differs somewhat from doing so in other drug possession cases. One such difference is that suspected marijuana, especially at the misdemeanor level, may not involve a certificate of analysis, but instead the officer’s testimony regarding field tests. However, with the increase in the legalization of CBD products that do not have the requisite THC content for marijuana, these cases are becoming harder to prosecute. Lawyers working on cannabis possession cases in McLean may be able to raise issues such as the officer’s inability to determine by use of a field test if the substance was truly marijuana instead of some legal CBD product.
As marijuana and other cannabis products are being decriminalized in other states, the law surrounding this substance is becoming more complex and more individuals are wrongly accused of violating the law. If you have been accused of illegally having a THC product, you should contact a McLean marijuana possession lawyer. An attorney could build a case in your defense. To get started on your case, call today.
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