Virginia Criminal Defense Attorney
Although Alexandria is close to Maryland and DC, where marijuana is decriminalized to some extent, Virginia laws are still very harsh on those convicted of drug crimes. If you are charged, contacting an Alexandria drug lawyer as soon as possible is extremely beneficial. A drug attorney in Alexandria can help setup possible defenses, can come up with a successful defense strategy, and can help put you in a better position to have the best possible outcome at trial. Call today to schedule a free consultation with an experienced defense lawyer to discuss your case.
The most common drug charge is probably simple possession of marijuana. Obviously, in America, there is a movement to legalize marijuana. In DC, which is just 5 miles away from Alexandria, marijuana has been decriminalized. Because of that, and because it is common drug in general, Alexandria drug lawyers see a lot of possession of marijuana cases. Additionally, because marijuana omits an odor, it is also fairly easy for police to detect, which also leads to a high frequency of marijuana charges.
The legal drugs are the ones set out in the Virginia Code. Marijuana, cocaine, heroin, also prescription drugs that an individual does not have a valid prescription for are considered illegal under that statute. Marijuana is probably the most common. The second most common is heroin and more specifically, fentanyl. Those have become much more commonly abused than they were five years ago. A lot of the prosecution’s focus has to do with the ability to get those sorts of drugs, such as fentanyl, which is actually derived from a prescription medicine. The police are focused on cracking down on things like cocaine and preventing cocaine distribution.
In addition to those charges, possession of cocaine, possession of heroin, possession of methamphetamine, and possession of “party drugs” such as molly or ecstasy or MDMA are also charged somewhat regularly in Alexandria. And because those drugs are illegal to sell, if someone is possessing them they must have purchased them illegally, and the police also often charge the sale of drugs and possession with intent to sell drugs. For these reasons, those are the drug offenses that tend to appear most often for drug lawyers in Alexandria.
Most prescription drug offenses in Alexandria are listed as felonies so they are serious. They are not a huge priority but when they do come up, they are dealt with. These tend to be more on an individual basis.
Even if you have a prescription to the drug, you can still be arrested. More than likely, though, the police officer believes that someone does have a valid prescription, and they are not going to go through the trouble of arresting the person and then having to present the prescription. Often, what happens is there is such a large quantity of it that a person that there is no way it could have been prescribed.
Prescription drug cases are felonies. However, there is a first offender program for prescription drugs. With controlled substances where it is allowed to be dismissed, for prescription cases, it is only allowed to be reduced to a misdemeanor instead of a felony. Often times, they aren’t necessarily going to try to give the individual an active jail sentence; they want to get the individual to get his or her life together and they want to help the individual make personal changes.
Constitutional issues arise in any drug case because someone has been stopped, seized and searched. The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. So, anytime someone is stopped, either on foot or in a car, the Fourth Amendment is implicated. When a search is conducted of either someone’s clothes, their house, their car, or any other property, either by consent, or a search pursuant to a warrant or a warrantless search, constitutional issues arise.
Additionally, the Fifth Amendment also is involved in many criminal cases. The Fifth Amendment is the prohibition against self-incrimination. This is where Miranda warnings come into play. Before police can interrogate someone in a custodial situation, the police must inform that person of their rights.
Every criminal case has Constitutional implications, and an experienced Alexandria drug lawyer will know they law and be able to apply it to possibly help their client’s case out.
Alexandria takes drug charges very seriously and an attorney can help because they can find ways to avoid a conviction, either through a first offender or other programs. They can also minimize the effect of a conviction and minimize the jail time or other penalties that an individual has received.
If you have been charged with a drug-related crime in Alexandria, you are facing the possibility of a criminal record. Contact a drug attorney in Alexandria today to learn more about your options, how to prepare, and what a lawyer can do for you.