When someone is facing a criminal drug charge, the impact it can have on their criminal record could drastically affect multiple facets of their life for years into the future. Although certain crimes involving controlled substances are non-violent, the penalties that such criminal charges may carry could range anywhere from hefty fines to incarceration.
If you or your loved one were recently charged with a crime involving illicit substances, you should seek representation from a criminal defense attorney immediately. An experienced NoVa drug lawyer could protect you or your loved one’s rights while fighting aggressively on your behalf.
The definition of what is considered to be an illegal drug can be found under The Drug Control Act, codified in Virginia Code §54.1-3400 et seq. Other controlled substances are also defined under VA. Code §18.2-247. For first-time offenders, state law providers these individuals with an alternative to typical criminal penalties, including jail time or a fine. Instead, if a person has not previously been convicted of a narcotics crime, whether it is under state or federal law, they will be required to undergo drug screening following a conviction, as well as treatment or education for substance abuse.
This statute also gives the court discretion to require substance abuse treatment to other narcotics offenders, as well as those who habitually abuse drugs and alcohol. A lawyer in NoVa with experience handling drug crime cases could help someone determine how best to build and argue their defense, as well as explain what options may be available through plea bargaining.
There are several types of criminal offenses related to illegal drugs, each carrying with it severe penalties that an offender could face following a conviction. If a drug-related crime is committed, it will typically fall under one of the following criminal offense categories:
In most cases, if a person commits any of these offenses with the intent to manufacture, sell, gift, or distribute an illicit substance, they may face harsher penalties as a result. An experienced attorney in NoVa could evaluate a drug charge’s legitimacy by reviewing the facts of an alleged offender’s case.
Regardless of the type of drug crime, the penalties an offender may be subject to could have serious consequences that drastically impact their life. In many cases involving criminal substance-related offenses, the punishment will be more severe if a crime involves certain factors. Examples of such instances include when a drug crime involves minors, heavily controlled substances, or occurs on or near a school’s premises, including bus stops or at school-sponsored activities.
It is also important to note that a person could face criminal penalties for possessing drug paraphernalia, such as any equipment, products, or materials designed for or intended to perpetuate drug use. For example, those who sell or possess drug paraphernalia with intent to sell are guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor However, if a person who is 18 sells drug paraphernalia to a minor at least three years younger than they are, it is a Class 6 felony and could result in the accused facing one to five years in jail, a $2,500 fine, or both. An attorney in NoVa could help someone minimize the potential penalties they may be facing.
Convictions for crimes involving illegal substances can have a drastic impact on your life long after they occur. When facing a criminal drug charge, obtaining legal representation could help mitigate the severity of the penalties imposed. If you are struggling to find legal assistance, our team is here to help. Call today to discuss your case with a NoVa drug lawyer.
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