Drug offenses are taken very seriously in Alexandria and as such, if you are facing charges, an Alexandria drug lawyer should be consulted as soon as possible. An attorney in Alexandria can help setup possible defenses, can come up with a successful defense strategy, and can help you to maintain a positive outcome in your case to avoid any of the serious Alexandria drug penalties.
An individual is likely going to be held in custody for a brief period of time when they are arrested for a drug offense in Alexandria, and they are going to be on bond meaning they will have to put up some money in order to leave. Usually, one of the terms and conditions of the bond is that an individual cannot leave the Commonwealth of Virginia while the case is ongoing.
There can be serious penalties for Alexandria drug charges even if not convicted. Once a person is charged, if they are employed, their employer may not want to have them on staff while the case is going on because not every employer sees the difference between being charged with something and being found guilty of something.
There is less of a stigma socially for Alexandria drug offenses with lower scheduled drugs like marijuana. If an individual is charged with possession of marijuana, their employer may not be happy but, assuming they are good at the job, they might be willing to overlook it. An attorney may also be able to help a person explain to their employer what kind of outcome they are looking at.
However, with drugs like cocaine and heroin, the stigma and reputation of being charged can make an individual seem like an untrustworthy employee. If an individual is convicted of possession of cocaine in Virginia, that is a felony. That means on every application the individual fills out, they have to state that they are a convicted felon. This impacts an individual’s ability to get a job and their ability to vote, and it impacts their ability to possess a firearm.
While an individual can get those rights restored, it is difficult. They are also going to have court fines and court costs that will have to be paid. Otherwise, their driver’s license can be suspended which is already going to be suspended as a condition of this charge but then if the individual does not pay their fine, they could lose their license completely.
Diversion programs are offered to first-time offenders for possession of marijuana and sometimes to first-time offenders for possession of cocaine, or heroin, or other schedules I or II drugs. These diversion programs are specifically designated in the Virginia Code but they are not mandatory for first offenders. There are certain requirements that must be fulfilled in order to get the benefit of the dismissal at the end of the diversion period.
Among those requirements are community service, a drug counseling program, drug testing and a loss of license. It’s not completely painless for someone charged with a first-time offense who has been given the benefit of a diversion program because there are still certain requirements they must fulfill. And the diversion programs are only for first offenders. They do not apply to someone who has already been given first offender diversion treatment or someone convicted of a drug offense in the past.
Regarding Miranda rights, an experienced lawyer will know and be able to drill an officer on the important parts of the case to see what exactly has to be done to build a defense and mitigate drug penalties in Alexandria. The sooner the attorney is contacted, the better. An individual’s memory of events gets worse as time goes on and the sooner they talk to a lawyer and tell their side of the story, the sooner the lawyer can assist.
In a lot of cases, attorneys are able to point clients in the direction of drug courses, rehab and inpatient treatment, things that show the prosecutor and the judge that the client takes these matters seriously and wants they get their life straightened out. A lawyer will also be able to talk to prosecutors, talk to the police officers, and get an idea of what it is that they are looking for and what we can do to help the client.
An attorney knows the law, knows what the commonwealth has to prove, and if someone speaks to an attorney, they can get advice on whether or not this is something that can be fought or if this is something that needs to be pled out.
An individual wants to make sure that the police officers procedurally checked all of the boxes of a stop or arrest for a drug charge. For example, on a traffic stop, did they have reason to pull an individual over, and did they believe that somebody was suspected of possessing marijuana for something beyond the smell or the odor of marijuana?
Some judges believe the odor of marijuana is enough, but for other judges, it is not, but the officer has to justify that they had permission to search the vehicle. If not, they have to prove they had reason to suspect that there was marijuana in the vehicle.