Virginia Criminal Defense Attorney
In Fairfax, drug possession is a priority for law enforcement. Law enforcement cracks down on drugs more harshly in Fairfax than in the surrounding states. They are not usually going to exercise any leniency for drug offenses in Virginia. If you have been accused of drug possession in Fairfax, you may be feeling worried and overwhelmed. Drug possession charges are quite serious in Virginia. As a Fairfax drug lawyer can tell you, Even marijuana possession, which is legal in several states, can still land a person in a great deal of trouble in the Commonwealth.
Regardless of what type of controlled substance you are charged with possessing, however, our Fairfax drug possession lawyers can help. An experienced Fairfax drug possession attorney can work with you to defend any drug offense, from charges that may not seem to be a big deal – such as low-level marijuana possession charges – to those that are especially intimidating, like possession with intent to distribute a large quantity of a controlled substance.
While some may not understand the need to regulate the use of drugs, the legislature has made laws that prohibit possession and use of certain drugs in Fairfax so those substances remain illegal until those laws change. Individuals that are found to be in possession of these illegal substances will be charged and penalized to the fullest extent of the law. It is important that citizens of Fairfax are familiar with the laws of their state as well as what it means to be in possession of a drug.
Possession of a drug can be determined in multiple ways. A person can possess a drug if it is on their person or they are under the influence of a drug. A person could also be charged with constructive possession, which is when the drug is not found on his or her body or in his or her immediate vicinity, but it is in his or her control and dominion and the person has knowledge of it. This is common when a person is riding in a car with friends and drugs are found in the common area of that vehicle.
In most cases, people are found possessing drugs as part of an investigation for another crime, such as traffic stop or when the police are called to a house in domestic abuse situations. The police may find drugs on the person or there could be an indicator that there are drugs around. Because Fairfax takes the possession of illegal substances very serious, if someone is convicted of a drug offense it can impact a person beyond their sentence. The aftermath of a conviction can include:
A conviction can also affect an individual’s ability to maintain or find continued employment; a drug possession conviction can suggest that he or she has a substance abuse problem, which could cause issues with family and friends.
The penalties that follow being convicted of a drug possession can be quite severe, however, it depends on the type of offense a person is charged with. Ultimately, an individual’s offense will dictate whether they are charged with a felony or a misdemeanor drug offense. Other factors that can impact the seriousness of the penalty for a drug possession charge include:
People that are charged with a drug offense for the first time would be eligible for a first-offenders program. In Fairfax, they can have their charge reduced or dismissed, pursuant to statute, if they complete the requirements of the program, which include community service, substance abuse courses, and drug screening testing.
Drug distribution involves other people so prosecutors’ view it as putting others in jeopardy. That extends to putting distributors at risk and people at risk of becoming addicted. Accordingly, they consider someone that is alleged to have intended to distribute illegal substances to be a danger or threat to the community
The aggravating factors that can increase the severity would be prior conviction for similar offenses or other drug related offenses. Schedule I or II controlled substances could also increase the severity of a drug charge. Additionally, the quantity of drugs could increase the severity of the charge.
In Fairfax, law enforcement officers are cracking down on drug distribution. There is very little leniency when it comes to some of these offenses, specifically the higher level offenses.
For distribution offenses, just like drug possession offenses, the constitutional issues include searches, seizures, or stops, among others, all of which are situations in which an individual’s right could potentially be violated by the actions of the officers and/or the Commonwealth.
The prosecution can use all types of evidence. They test the drugs that they are accusing a person of possessing to determine if it is the drug alleged. The evidence used would depend on how the accused was arrested, but there is usually a combination of evidence, including testimony, pictures, forensic evidence, fingerprints, and any other available evidence.
Someone that has been charged with drug possession should understand that despite their wrongdoing, they have legal rights. An individual that has been charged should do the following:
Drug possession charges in Fairfax can be complex, but our firm’s experienced Fairfax drug possession lawyers can be by your side throughout the legal process you are facing, advocating for your rights in court and seeking to clear your record of unfair allegations. The earlier that the accused consults an attorney, the less likely it is that they will jeopardize their case. Often, people try to take care of the cases themselves and make things worse by admitting things that an attorney would advise them against. As such, hiring an attorney right away would be the most helpful approach.
A lawyer that has knowledge of the drug laws in Virginia and alternative sentencing available will be quite helpful when developing defenses in drug cases. The law related to possession and the constitutional issues that usually come up in drug cases is complicated. An attorney needs to be well-versed in drug laws and case law to help present a robust defense for someone being charged with drug crimes. The more experienced an attorney is in the area of drug laws, the better defense that she or he will be able to mount.