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McLean Drug Possession Lawyer

To possess a drug in Mclean means to knowingly and intentionally possess a drug.  To knowingly and intentionally possess a drug means that a person is aware of the presence and character of the drug and has actual physical possession or constructive possession.

Possession of illegal drugs is viewed as relatively serious in the eyes of law enforcement in Mclean. Quelling the spread and use of illegal drugs is a priority for law enforcement. This is due in part to the relationship between violent offenses such as robberies and drug use.

If you are facing drug possession charges, you may want to enlist the help of an experienced drug defense attorney. A dedicated McLean drug possession lawyer could fight for you and protect your rights throughout your case.

What is Actual Physical Possession and Constructive Possession?

Actual physical possession means that the substance is found on the person. If the individual has dominion and control over the substance, that is constructive possession. Where drugs are found near someone or perhaps on the property that belongs to someone, a person can be charged with possession of said drugs. In an attempt to prove this, the prosecutor will argue that the accused constructively possessed the drugs. Constructive possession of a drug requires a showing that the presence and character of the substance were known to the defendant and that the substance was subject to his dominion and control. Contact a McLean drug possession attorney for more information about how the different types of possession could impact one’s case.

Common Ways People are Charged with Drug Possession

One of the most common scenarios of an officer finding someone in the possession of drugs is during a traffic stop. For example, a driver misses a stop sign which prompts an officer to execute a traffic stop. After pulling the driver over, the officer may be alerted of the potential presence of an illegal drug, which may be due to the odor coming from the vehicle.

Another frequent way a person is charged with possessing illegal drugs is during a controlled drug buy organized by law enforcement.

Factors Impacting Drug Possession Penalties

There are several factors that can impact the seriousness of a drug possession charge. One of these factors is the type of drug.  For example, the penalty for possessing a small amount of marijuana is significantly different than the penalty for possessing a small amount of cocaine. The amount of a drug will also impact the seriousness of a charge. Using marijuana as an example, possession of less than one-half ounce of marijuana is a misdemeanor offense whereas possession of more than one-half ounce is a felony offense.  Another factor concerning the seriousness charge is where the drug was possessed. Possession of marijuana outside of a prison or jail will typically be charged as a misdemeanor under Virginia Code § 18.2-250.1, whereas possession of marijuana in a jail or prison is a felony offense under Virginia Code § 53.1-203. 

It is crucial to share facts relevant to these factors with a drug possession lawyer in McLean when seeking to defend drug charges. This is because differences in when, how, and by whom the drugs were alleged to have been possessed can be the difference between a felony with mandatory jail time and a misdemeanor offense. 

McLean Drug Possession Penalties

The severity of the penalties for being caught possessing illegal drugs in McLean will depend on the type of charge.

A person charged with a first offense of possession of marijuana under § 18.2-250.1 will face an unclassified misdemeanor that is punishable by a fine of no more than $500 and a maximum of 30 days in jail. If an individual is charged with a second offense, they will face a Class 1 misdemeanor which means that the person could face up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500.

If a person is charged with possession of a controlled substance that is a Schedule I or II, they could be charged with a Class 5 felony, which is punishable by not less than one year nor more than 10 years in jail, or in the discretion of a jury or judge hearing a case without a jury, confinement in jail for not more than 12 months and/or a fine of not more than $2,500.

Possession of a Schedule III drug is a Class I misdemeanor similar to a second charge of possession of marijuana.

The possession of a Schedule IV drug is punishable as a Class 2 misdemeanor, which includes the penalties of up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.

Possession of a Schedule V drug is a Class 3 misdemeanor, meaning that persons will be subject to a fine or not more than $500.

And Possession of a Schedule VI drug is a Class 4 misdemeanor, which means that the maximum penalty for the offense is a fine of not more than $250.

How a Conviction for Drug Possession Can Affect a Person’s Life

Being convicted of drug possession can impact a person’s life in more ways than one might think. One way in which a conviction impacts an individual’s life is by causing the revocation of a convicted person’s driver’s license. Under Virginia Code §§ 46.2-390.1 and 18.2-259.1, the Commission of the Department of Motor Vehicles must revoke a person’s license for six months when a person is convicted of possessing an illegal drug.  And of course, being convicted of any criminal offense can be damaging to a person’s career and personal life. Unfortunately, if a defendant is convicted, they may lose employment and their family’s trust.  This is why it is very important to work with an experienced attorney to attempt to avoid a conviction where possible.

Diversion Programs Available for Defendants Facing Drug Possession Charges

There diversion programs for persons charged with illegally possessing drugs. Of note, a person will still face a license suspension while undergoing a deferred disposition program for dismissal. Virginia Code § 18.2-251 allows persons charged with first-time possession of marijuana or a controlled substance to have their charge dismissed if they successfully complete a period of probation. In order for someone to have their charges dismissed, they must undergo a substance abuse assessment and complete any recommended treatment or education programs. Persons must also remain drug and alcohol free while on probation and make reasonable efforts to secure and maintain employment. 

For misdemeanor offenses, persons must complete 24 hours of community service; whereas felony offenses require 100 hours of community service.

However, if a court does not suspend person’s license for a charge of possession of marijuana, the person must complete an additional 50 hours of community service.

Contact a McLean Drug Possession Attorney

Drug possession charges can lead to severe penalties and numerous long-term consequences. If you have been charged with possessing an illegal drug, call an accomplished defense lawyer. Let a McLean drug possession lawyer advocate for you.

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