Expectations following arrest for a drug-related charge in Alexandria are dependent on the type of the substance associated with the charge. With marijuana, the person charged will most likely be given a summons and sent on their way. If it is a large amount of marijuana, the officer might believe it is an intent to distribute and then they will be arrested. Most of the time, though, that doesn’t happen.
Reaching out to an experienced drug lawyer can assist in the trial process, especially if the illegal substance is cocaine or heroin, then an individual will be arrested and taken to the jail and processed. There, the magistrate will determine whether or not they should be granted a bond.
When someone is arrested, assuming they are arrested on the street and they are charged with a felony, they will go to general district court for their probable cause hearing and then, their trial will be in circuit court. If it’s possession of marijuana and charged as a misdemeanor, their case will be heard in the general district court for a trial.
Alexandria drug trials are typically bench trials. An individual has the right to a jury and in Virginia, if someone wishes to waive a jury, both the Commonwealth and the judge must agree to it. Most often, these types of cases are ones that the judge hears.
Depending on the complexity of the case and how much of the substance is found, misdemeanors are usually done within two months. Felony cases take about four to six months to process.
Drug possession trials in Alexandria are often called constructive possession cases, meaning, the drugs were not found on the individual’s person. An example of constructive possession is if the drugs were found in the person’s car and/or who else was found in the car. During the drug trial, the relevance of intent to distribute is whether or not it can be shown through the facts established that the drugs could only have been used for personal use and they were meant to be distributed.
If it is a possession case, they need to show that someone had possession or that they had knowledge of it and that they had dominion and control, meaning that it was available to them and they could have manipulated it or moved it as they wished.
If it is a distribution case, they have to show that someone not only had these drugs but that they were in the process of selling or giving the drugs to another person to be used by that person in whatever manner they chose.
Usually, with first offense drug charges, an individual is not looking at jail time. At trial, that is often treated as a warning with the Alexandria judges. They will give the individual an opportunity to keep it off their record, and that individual has an opportunity to avoid jail time provided that they can show their willingness to make changes in their life.
For drug distribution charges in Alexandria, marijuana may not necessarily lead to any jail time initially but someone does run that risk of jail time. With regards to Schedule I or Schedule II substances, the charged individual is looking at active jail time on a conviction.