Virginia’s Marijuana Laws
In our state, it is still a crime to possess marijuana. Under Virginia Code §18.2-250.1, possessing marijuana is subject to 30 days in jail plus up to a $500 fine. A second or subsequent offense is a Class 1 misdemeanor that has the potential of 12 months in jail and a $2,500 fine. For most people, those punishments are just the beginning. A conviction for possession of marijuana can affect employment, security clearances, access to federal student loans, and college admissions. In reality, these “collateral consequences” can far outweigh the government-imposed consequences.
Legalization of Marijuana
There is currently a strong movement for decriminalization of marijuana in Virginia. Virginia NORML is one organization who pursues this goal. They state their mission this way:
“To reform Virginia’s outdated marijuana policies so that responsible use by adults will no longer be subject to criminal prosecution and penalties.”
While the advocacy organizations work toward decriminalization, most admit that goal is a long-term one for Virginia. In the meantime, these organizations continue to advocate for reduced penalties, and to make medical usage more commonly available.
Virginia Beach Marijuana Defense Lawyer
For now, there are still many jurisdictions in Virginia that treat possession (and distribution) of marijuana as a very serious criminal charge. But there are available defenses for this charge, especially where the police have not acted in accord with your constitutional rights. I am proud to defend clients charged with possession of marijuana anywhere in Virginia Beach or anywhere in the Hampton Roads area, both southside and on the peninsula. Contact me for a free consultation on your case.
How a Criminal Defense Attorney can help with your Drug Charge
If you have a pending Drug Charge in one of the courts in Hampton Roads, you may need an experienced Criminal Defense Attorney to represent you. Here’s 5 Reasons you need an attorney on a drug charge:
- To help make sense of a tough situation.
When you have a drug charge offense in Virginia, it can be a frightening, confusing, and life-altering experience. By consulting with a Hampton Roads defense attorney who has experience defending clients from drug charges, you can turn an impossible situation into a known quantity. An experienced defense attorney will be able to explain the legal proceedings to you and begin to develop a defense strategy for your case.
- To investigate whether the police followed proper procedure.
There are many ways to defend against a drug charge by challenging the way the police conducted their investigation. For example, the officer must have a valid reason for initiating contact with a person. This is known as probable cause or reasonable suspicion. Also, for a possession charge, the prosecutor must establish that the person had control of the drugs at the time the police contacted him or her. By working with you to get to the bottom of the facts, your Hampton Roads criminal defense attorney can determine whether proper procedure was followed and mount your defense.
- To zealously represent your rights to the court.
Drug charges in Virginia range from simple possession of marijuana, a misdemeanor, to felony conspiracy to distribute drugs. Regardless of the severity of the charge, the prosecutor may still seek a punishment that does not fit the crime. By advocating on your behalf and presenting the court with evidence of your good behavior and record, an experienced Hampton Roads criminal defense attorney will help the judge see past any unwarranted or severe charge that has been taken out against you.
- To help minimize punishment, if any.
Many drug charges, especially ones involving possession with the intent to distribute or transporting, involve mandatory punishments. By working with the prosecution, even in a situation where the government is able to prove your guilt, an experienced drug possession or distribution defense lawyer can reduce or limit any jail time you may be faced with.
- To preserve your good name as you attempt to move on.
By advocating for the reduction or dismissal of a drug charge, as well as by pursuing a verdict of not guilty, an experienced defense attorney will seek to keep the blemish of a drug charge conviction from appearing on your record. In doing so, your defense attorney will conduct a thorough investigation into the circumstances of the charge, bring forth evidence and testimony favorable to you, and determine the best defense strategy for your case. Contact a local Hampton Roads defense attorney so that you can fight to keep a drug charge from appearing on your record and affecting your future.