Stafford County Drug Lawyer
Drug charges are treated incredibly seriously in Virginia. With penalties ranging from a few hundred dollars in fines to multiples years of incarceration, these consequences have the ability to alter an individual’s personal and professional life. As such, it is important for any individual charged with such a crime to enlist the assistance of an experienced defense attorney in Stafford immediately.
A Stafford County drug lawyer can help to ensure that any and all penalties you may be facing are either reduced or dismissed. An attorney can gather the particular elements of your case, and defend you to the best of their ability in a court of law.
Common Drug Charges
The most common kind of drug charges that drug lawyers in Stafford County encounter are marijuana possession. In many cases, officers will stop a vehicle on the side of the road, encounter the smell of marijuana, and then discover marijuana in the car. In addition to marijuana, there are a large amount of prescription drugs possessed illegally, and a large amount of heroin on the street which is illegal to possess under any circumstances.
Part of the issue in Stafford County is that I-95 runs right through the center of it. This is a corridor where drugs are frequently shipped from points both north and south. Therefore, it is certainly true that the Stafford County law enforcement encounters a large quantity of drugs being moved through the county in the course of routine traffic stops.
Severity of a Drug Charge
Drug crimes are treated incredibly seriously in Virginia. With the exception of marijuana, illegal possession of the most common kinds of illegal or prescription drugs are considered felonies in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Drug charges are often intimidating because they can result in a serious criminal record. Having a drug crime charge in an individual’s background is something that any person would like to avoid if they can. This is both because of how many employers will interpret it, and additionally, how many government employers will interpret it.
Secondly, there is also a social stigma that surrounds drug crime charges. This is not just limited to the possession of drugs, but the sale or distribution of drugs as well. Many drug crimes carry the connotation that a person is involved in criminal activity, and does not have good judgment.
With these issues in mind, a Stafford County drug attorney can help minimize the impact of an individual’s drug charge by making sure that their rights have not been violated, and by challenging the government’s evidence at all phases of the case. A lawyer can also help an individual take proactive and affirmative steps to minimize or mitigate the consequences of conviction, if that is where the case is headed prior to trial.
The main constitutional issues that arise from these cases are a person’s Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure, and a person’s Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate themselves. A Stafford County drug lawyer can assist in properly defending the fact that these rights may have been violated.
Most drug charges are the result of a search of some kind. In order for the search to be legal, there has to either be a search warrant, or the search must fall within one of the search warrant exceptions. The police need to be able to articulate some kind of probable cause in order to search a person, their vehicle, their home, or even their backpack.
The Fifth Amendment involves a person’s right to remain silent. This right comes up in many cases where defendants have made incriminating statements to the police while they were in custody and being questioned. Whether a person is entitled to first receive a Miranda warning, which is triggered in a certain set of circumstances, depends a great deal on the facts of the particular case.
Benefits of an Attorney
It is important to contact a Stafford County drug attorney early in the process for many reasons. First, an attorney will assist an individual in making good decisions about interacting with law enforcement, and can help prevent the individual from making incriminating statements, or creating other evidence that may be detrimental to the case. In addition, an attorney can help you take proactive steps early on which will have an impact down the road, either in achieving a good outcome in your case, or in minimizing the impact of a conviction.