The penalties for a drug charge, including the possession of drug paraphernalia, can vary within the state of Virginia. Charges will inevitably depend on the type of drug an individual is accused of possessing; they can vary from a very low-level misdemeanor offense to a very serious felony offense. A knowledgeable Fairfax drug lawyer will be crucial in cases of this magnitude because they will have the background necessary to defend their client and present any mitigating factors that will lessen their clients’ penalties.
An example of a low-level drug offense would be if someone were to be in possession of drug paraphernalia with no type of therapy or community service attached to that. An example of a high-level drug crime would be if someone were to have attained a felony possession of some type of Schedule 1 substance, which is the most serious substance.
A Schedule 1 substance is any kind of substance that has no redeeming medical value and is extremely addictive such as possession of heroin which is one of the more serious charges. Distribution of heroin is even more serious than a simple possession and these charges come with a significant amount of time in prison.
The short-term consequences of a drug charge depend on the crime and the person’s specific circumstances. With some jobs, if someone is even charged with a crime, their employer may require them to report it under their contract. In some situations, a person could lose their job immediately just by being accused of a crime. In other situations a person might face some kind of push back from their friends and family. Those friends and family members may associate the stigma of a drug arrest with negative things, and they may begin to treat the individual who has been charged more negatively.
Short-term consequences can play a negative role in several areas of an individual’s life, including:
Ultimately, even when someone is charged with the possession of drug paraphernalia it can create significant problems, especially if the person receives some form of assistance or public housing. In some cases, the drug charge alone is enough to disqualify someone from receiving government aid. This is also the case if an individual is charged with a drug crime while attending a College/University.
In certain circumstances, depending on how their aid contract is written, most schools and colleges will terminate a student from the institution or suspend them, even if the charge is dismissed; it just depends on the circumstances. A felony charge, however, will have a much more serious effect.
Besides the initial loss of salary, loss of respect in the community, problems with employment, etc., the long-term consequences include the expense of hiring a defense attorney and dealing with the arduous legal process. Drug paraphernalia charges can lead to a person’s assets can be seized depending on the nature of the offense and the extent to which the person is accused of certain things. Any proceeds from the sales of the drugs could also be seized if there is a drug distribution charge lobbied against the person.
There are certain situations where a person might be monitored. Police officers may follow the individual who has been charged as well as talk with their close friends and family members. They may harass him or her within the legal bounds of the law to the point where it is hard to go outside. An individual who is facing consequences of this severity should contact a drug lawyer immediately who will then begin preparing a plan to defend and rebuild their clients’ reputation.