Proven Marijuana Possession Defense Attorney Ready To Serve You
Being charged with any drug crime in Virginia can have a long-lasting negative impact on your life. Criminal procedure in the courts is complex and you do not want to face these charges on your own or with less-than-adequate representation. You have the right to effective legal representation and you want to exercise that right.
At Bounds and Bounds, PLLC, our experience includes having a lawyer who was a former public defender. This means having an informed perspective on how to defend drug crime cases.
Is It A Misdemeanor Or Felony?
Federal guidelines classify marijuana as a Schedule I drug. However, on July 1, 2021, the State of Virginia enacted a new law that greatly decreased the penalty for the possession of one ounce or less of marijuana to a civil penalty and a $25 fine in the form of a ticket. In addition, there is no escalation of this penalty for multiple infractions.
Although the fine for the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana has been downgraded to a civil penalty if you are arrested for the sale, manufacturing, or trafficking of even .5 oz of marijuana, the penalties are essentially the same as before, and you will be charged with a felony.
If convicted, Virginia imposes minimum mandatory sentences for the sale, manufacturing, or transportation of marijuana. For example, if you are convicted of the sale of up to five lbs of marijuana, you will serve a mandatory one year in prison all the way up to a possible 10-year sentence. The sale of between five lbs and 100 kg carries with it a minimum mandatory of five years in prison up to 30 years, and anything over 100 kg will cause you to serve 20 years to life in addition to a $100,000 fine.
Manufacturing the drug imposes a minimum mandatory of five years in prison all the way up to 30 years, and if you are convicted of transporting more than five lbs of marijuana into the state, you will serve a minimum mandatory sentence of five years all the way up to 40 years in prison.
With any drug charge conviction, you will lose your driver’s license for at least six months. However, if you were not driving, are charged with a first offense of marijuana possession and enroll in the first offender program, your license will not be suspended. The court may also place you on probation, and require you to do community service and submit to random drug testing. Ideally, you want to avoid having a criminal record. A drug charge conviction could have a lifelong impact on your options for employment, jobs, and loans.
Virginia Marijuana Possession Defense Lawyer
As your Richmond marijuana possession defense attorneys, we work to develop the best possible defenses for your case. If the officer discovered your marijuana possession during a stop for a minor traffic violation, we look to examine whether the officer performed a legal search and seizure.
Another possible defense we will explore is known as “constructive possession.” Actual possession means that the substance was found on your person. If it is found on you, then there really isn’t much of a question as to whether you knew it was there. However, whenever the illegal substance is not found on your person, the issue of constructive possession comes into play. When marijuana is found somewhere other than on your person, the prosecution must prove two things to get a conviction. They must prove that you knew the drugs were wherever they were found, and they must prove that you had control over the drugs.
For example, if you were driving a friend’s car and a substantial amount of marijuana was found in the trunk, the prosecution would have to prove that you knew the drugs were there, and that you had control over the drugs. This can be difficult to prove, particularly when you are not the owner of the car and/or there are others in the car with you who could have been responsible for the presence of the drugs. Another example would be if you had friends staying at your house and marijuana was later found in a room of the house that your friends also had access to. These situations give rise to a reasonable question of who, in fact, owned the drugs.
Our experience negotiating with prosecutors means that, under the right circumstance, we may be able to have the charges against you reduced or dismissed. It may also be possible to get your charge reduced to possession of drug paraphernalia in which case your license would not be suspended. In addition, an intent to distribute marijuana charge can sometimes be reduced to a marijuana possession charge.
Our experienced legal practitioner also handles other types of criminal charges cases, including: