Speak with a proven Drug Crimes Attorney
At the Flynn Law Firm, we recognize how serious Virginia drug crimes are, and how they can affect you and your livelihood. They can cause problems with employers, education, and many of these charges have serious collateral consequences, such as the loss of a security clearance, loss of your Virginia driving privileges, and positive urine screens can serve as the basis for probation violations.
Possession of Marijuana
In Virginia, possession of Marijuana, under a half ounce is a Class 1 Misdemeanor, if it is for personal use. However, if it is a first offense, it is an unclassified misdemeanor, with a maximum penalty of 30 days incarceration.
It should be noted that a large quantity of marijuana is not (by itself) proof of an intent to distribute. If the Marijuana is for purposes of sale, or otherwise found to be with intention to distribute, the potential penalties change, depending on the amount recovered. If it is less than a half ounce, then it is still considered a Class 1 Misdemeanor. However, if it is between a half ounce and five pounds, then it is a Class 5 Felony. An amount between five pounds and 100kg (220 lbs), is an unclassified felony, with a penalty range of five to thirty years. And finally, any amount greater than 100kg (220 lbs) has a penalty range between twenty years to life in prison, with a mandatory minimum of twenty years of incarceration.
If you or someone you care about has been charged in Virginia for a marijuana related offense, contact the Flynn Law Firm for a free consultation. We are an African American law firm with 8 years of experience with these types of cases. Rex Flynn is licensed to practice in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. but practices primarily in Northern Virginia (Fairfax, Arlington, Falls Church, Alexandria, Prince William and Loudoun Counties). These charges are serious, you deserve to be represented by an attorney that you trust and that will fight for you to the very end. Give us a call today for a free consultation.
Possession of a Controlled Substance
If you are accused of being in possession of a Schedule I/II drug, it is critical that you contact an attorney immediately. The Virginia Code classifies drugs according to their uses, medical benefits and danger of abuse. Substances located under Schedule I are recreational “street” drugs that have no medicinal value. Substances under Schedule II have some medicinal value, but also a high risk for abuse and dependency by a user. Simple possession (meaning possession without any intent to sell or distribute) of these drugs is a Class 5 Felony. Schedule III drugs have medicinal benefits, but also a moderate risk for abuse, and are a Class 1 Misdemeanor. Schedule IV drugs have medical benefit and even less risk of dependency, and are a Class 2 Misdemeanor. Schedule V and VI have the least risk of dependency and are categorized as Class 3 and Class 4 Misdemeanors, respectively. Examples of drugs in each of the schedules include:
|Drug Schedule||Penalty Classification||Examples|
|Schedule I||Class 5 Felony||Heroin, LSD, MDMA, Crystal Methamphetamine|
|Schedule II||Class 5 Felony||Cocaine, PCP, Adderall, Methadone|
|Schedule III||Class 1 Misdemeanor||Steroids, Hydrocodone|
|Schedule IV||Class 2 Misdemeanor||Valium, Xanax|
|Schedule V||Class 3 Misdemeanor||Codeine based cough syrup|
|Schedule VI||Class 4 Misdemeanor||Inhalants such as Amyl Nitrite, Butyl Nitrite, and Nitrous Oxide|
What is Possession?
Every possession case can present problems for a prosecutor. Mere proximity of a person to some contraband (in this instance, drugs) is not enough to prove possession. The prosecutor needs to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that (1) that the drugs were in your possession, and (2) that you were aware that they were drugs. For example, if an officer pulls someone over, and they locate drugs in a car, that (by itself) would not prove that the person in the car was in possession of the drugs. They would need to prove that the person in the car was also aware that the substance in the car was a drug.
To be clear, these cases are often proven with circumstantial evidence such statements by the person (or people) who were close to the drugs (it’s not mine, it’s his), behavior (nervous, jittery behavior, sweating, stuttering) or personal items located close to the contraband (for example a wallet, ID or credit card located in the same backpack / bag that the contraband was located).
Possession with intent to distribute, is exactly how it sounds. It is the simple possession of a controlled substance, with circumstantial proof that it was intended to be distributed, sold or gifted to another. If a prosecutor can prove their case, the penalties can be significantly increased over the mere simple possession of the same substance. For example, simple Possession of a Schedule I/II substance is a Class 5 Felony. Meanwhile, Possession with Intent to Distribute a Schedule I/II substance is an unclassified felony with a penalty range of 5-40 years in prison. A second offense, calls for a penalty range of 10-40 years in prison, with a 3-year mandatory minimum sentence. A third offense Possession with Intent to Distribute a Schedule I/II substance has a penalty of 10 years to life in prison, with 10 years being the mandatory minimum.
If you or someone you care about has been charged in Virginia for a drug distribution, possession with intent to distribute (PWID) or a drug manufacturing offense, contact the Flynn Law Firm for a free consultation. We are an African American law firm with 8 years of experience with these types of cases. Rex Flynn is licensed to practice in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. but practices primarily in Northern Virginia (Fairfax, Arlington, Falls Church, Alexandria, Prince William and Loudoun Counties). These charges are serious, you deserve to be represented by an attorney that you trust and that will fight for you to the very end. Give us a call today for a free consultation.
In Virginia, residue is treated in the same manner as the drug itself. Heroin residue is Heroin. In other words, if you are found with what would otherwise be considered an empty syringe, the prosecutors will still send it to the state lab. If it returns back with heroin residue, then the owner of the syringe will be charged with Possession of a Schedule I/II drug in the same manner as if law enforcement had recovered a baggie filled with the drug. However, as discussed above, the prosecutor would still have to prove that the person not only had the syringe in their possession, but that they were aware of the residue within the syringe.
Virginia outlaws paraphernalia used for the sole purpose of illicit drugs. If a prosecutor can prove that the item recovered is paraphernalia, then the perpetrator will be guilty of a Class 1 Misdemeanor. However, proof that the item is paraphernalia is usually pretty difficult without some assistance of the person in whose possession it was found. For example, a syringe by itself is not paraphernalia. However, if the person who has the syringe admits to getting high with intravenous drugs, the syringe might be considered paraphernalia. Spoons and rolling papers, by themselves have generic, innocent uses as well. In order for a prosecutor to prove their case, they would have to successfully connect the dots on a circumstantial case. Obviously if someone saw (and testified to that fact) someone using the item in a way that is prohibited, then they may likely prove their case. Nevertheless, it is important to note with this charge, the item always has an innocent use, and it is up to the prosecutor to prove beyond every reasonable doubt that the item was not being used in that manner.
Virginia is not the most progressive state when it comes to how it treats illicit substances and people that use them. For example, there are no misdemeanor amounts of any Schedule I/II substances. If someone is found to be in possession of heroin or cocaine residue, then they will be guilty of a Class 5 Felony. Some states diminish the penalty of the crime directly related to the amount that was recovered. For example, possession of a pipe with cocaine residue on it in another state might be a misdemeanor. For that matter, officers in many surrounding states may not even process an empty pipe or syringe for residue to be tested by a laboratory.
Nevertheless, Virginia does have a first offender program as it pertains to drug and marijuana possession. For simple possession of illegal narcotics and street drugs, including marijuana, the Virginia legislature passed 18.2-251, the first offender statute. This mechanism, affectionately called a .251 disposition, permits first time offenders (if they qualify) to avoid the conviction and having the case being dismissed from their criminal record. This disposition involves supervised probation, general good behavior, intensive substance abuse treatment, community service, and any other service or program the Court feels appropriate. Completing these programs are hard work, but the benefit to the recipient is that they emerge with a clean criminal record. This disposition takes between 1-2 years, and once completed, the charge will show as “dismissed” by the Court.
If you or someone you care about has been charged in Virginia for a drug possession offense, contact the Flynn Law Firm for a free consultation. We are an African American law firm with 8 years of experience with these types of cases. Rex Flynn is licensed to practice in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. but practices primarily in Northern Virginia (Fairfax, Arlington, Falls Church, Alexandria, Prince William and Loudoun Counties). These charges are serious, you deserve to be represented by a criminal defense attorney that you trust and that will fight for you to the very end. Give us a call today for a free consultation.