Respected Criminal Defense Lawyers For Those Facing Virginia Drug Charges
Virginia is known as being one of the toughest states in terms of drug crime punishments. If your case is not handled with care from the very beginning, you risk facing serious penalties, up to and including prison time. Some of the most common felony drug charges in Virginia are possession with intent to distribute (PWID), distribution of marijuana, distribution of a controlled substance and manufacturing a controlled substance.
The criminal lawyers of Lawyer Up Virginia have handled countless felony drug cases in Fairfax and throughout northern Virginia. Each drug case in Virginia has its own set of facts and unique circumstances, which is why consulting with a criminal lawyer for drug charges is essential to building the most favorable defense for your case.
What Should You Do If You’re Accused Of A Drug Crime?
Facing criminal accusations for drug-related offenses can be scary. If you are contacted by the City Of Fairfax Police Department, Fairfax County Police Department, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) or any other law enforcement entity about a drug-related issue, take the following steps:
- Remain silent: If police try to question you, even if they say you are not under arrest, don’t speak until you have an attorney present. Police can use anything you say to them against you to get an arrest or in court to prove you guilty of violating a drug law in Virginia. If they pull you over, you only have to give them your driver’s license and proof of insurance.
- Don’t sign anything: If you’re under police custody, they may try to get you to sign documents. No matter what they are, wait to sign them until you have an attorney present.
- Call an attorney: If your drug charges lead to an arrest, call an attorney as soon as you get to jail. Make sure your phone conversation with your attorney is private.
How you handle your initial interaction with authorities can affect the outcome of your case. We value your rights, understand Virginia drug laws and want to protect your freedom. Call us today at 703-542-3616 so we can start working on your defense strategy today.
When Does Drug Possession Become A Felony In Virginia?
Drug possession charges in Virginia can come with steep penalties, and felony drug charges can carry the highest consequences. For a drug charge to become a felony, the individual must possess a Schedule 1 or Schedule 2 controlled substance without a legitimate prescription. Consequences for these charges can include a 10-year prison sentence depending on the circumstances.
Do First-Time Drug Offenders Go To Jail In Virginia?
Yes, it is possible to face jail sentencing for first-time drug offenses in Virginia. However, there are ways you can reduce or avoid jail time if you are charged. Here’s what you can do:
- Enter a drug treatment or rehabilitation program.
- Refrain from using drugs or alcohol during their probation period.
- Take random drug and alcohol tests during their probation period.
- Find and maintain a steady job.
- Complete a certain number of hours of community service.
Your ability to advocate for these jail alternatives can depend on the severity of your first-time drug charge and the circumstances surrounding your case. To learn more about how we can help you advocate for these alternatives, call us at 703-542-3616.
Criminal Lawyer For Possession Of A Controlled Substance
Virginia categorizes controlled drugs into six “schedules.” Schedule I substances have the highest chance of abuse or addiction and provide no medicinal benefit. As the schedule numbers increase, the substances present a lower risk of abuse and provide greater medical benefits. However, no matter what schedule of drug, these cases are typically complicated and consulting with a Virginia criminal attorney is strongly recommended.
Penalties for illegally possessing a controlled substance vary according to the schedule of the drug and whether you’re charged with a first or subsequent offense. Below is a list of the penalties for simple possession in Virginia, based on the schedule of the drug:
Possession of a Schedule I Substance (heroin, ecstasy, LSD, GHB):
If you possess a schedule I controlled substance, you face a Class 5 felony, punishable by:
- One to 10 years in jail; and
- A fine of up to $2,500
Possession of a Schedule II Substance (methamphetamines, cocaine, morphine, Adderall, Ritalin, PCP):
If you possess a schedule II controlled substance, you face a Class 5 felony, punishable by:
- One to 10 years in jail; and
- A fine of up to $2,500
Possession of a Schedule III Substance (anabolic steroids, codeine and hydrocodone, some depressants):
If you possess a schedule III controlled substance, you face a Class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by:
- Up to one year in jail; and
- A fine of up to $2,500.
Possession of a Schedule IV Substance (Darvon, Talwin, Equanil, Valium, Rohypnol, Xanax, tranquilizers):
If you possess a schedule IV controlled substance, you face a Class 2 misdemeanor, punishable by:
- A maximum of six months in jail; and
- A fine of up to $1,000
Possession of a Schedule V Substance (codeine-based cough medicines):
If you possess a schedule V controlled substance, you face a Class 3 misdemeanor, punishable by:
- A maximum fine of $500
Possession of a Schedule VI Substance:
If you possess a schedule VI controlled substance, you face a Class 4 misdemeanor, punishable by:
- A maximum fine of $250
How Does Drug Court Work In Fairfax County?
A lot of counties across Virginia have a drug court. However, Fairfax County drug court is incredibly unique. Instead of recommending jail time, judges suggest those charged with drug crimes enter a 1-to-2-year treatment program that involves strict court oversight. If participants complete the program, they can get their drug felonies dismissed if they are non-violent felonies.
Virginia Criminal Lawyer: Distribution Of A Controlled Substance
Distribution of a controlled substance in Virginia is a felony offense, while possession with intent to distribute (PWID) may be either a misdemeanor or felony offense. Our criminal attorneys have represented both adults and juveniles who have been charged with distribution or selling cocaine, heroin, Adderall, marijuana, fentanyl, PCP and other drugs.
Distribution of a Schedule I or II Substance is a felony, carrying a punishment of:
- Between five to 40 years in jail (with a possible life sentence for a subsequent offense); and
- A maximum of $500,000
Distribution of a Schedule III, IV or V Substance is a misdemeanor, carrying a punishment of:
- A maximum of one year in jail; and
- A fine of up to $2,500
What If I Was Arrested On Drug Charges Due To An Illegal Search?
Under the Fourth Amendment, authorities cannot conduct unreasonable searches or seizures against you. But how can you know whether they were acting lawfully? Here are a few indicators that can determine the legitimacy of their actions:
If The Officer Acted Lawfully
They would have:
- Obtained a search warrant
- Seen or smelled evidence in plain sight (a bag of drugs sitting on the kitchen counter)
- Gotten your consent to conduct a search if they didn’t have a warrant
If The Officer Acted Unlawfully
They may have:
- Searched your property without a warrant
- Searched your property without your consent
- Not seen or smelled any evidence in plain sight
- Intimidated you into complying to a search
Even if officers searched and seized your property illegally, that doesn’t always invalidate your arrest or the charges you’re facing. However, they may be unable to present the evidence they found during their search in your case.
What Are The Best Defenses To Virginia Drug Charges?
The best defense to Virginia drug charges depends on the specific facts surrounding your arrest; however, one of the most common defenses involves challenging the recovery of the drugs through a motion to suppress. A motion to suppress is a pretrial motion asking the court to exclude certain evidence from trial, usually on the basis that the evidence was seized in violation of your constitutional rights. For example, if a police officer stopped you without reasonable suspicion or probable cause, any evidence they recovered is inadmissible at trial. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you determine what defenses are available in your case.
Are You Facing Virginia Drug Charges? Speak With A Lawyer Today.
If you were recently arrested and charged with a drug crime in Virginia, it is essential that you have an experienced attorney by your side at every step of the way. At Robinson Law, PLLC, our lawyers are passionate about fighting for the rights – and freedom – of our clients and will do everything possible to ensure your arrest has as little effect on your life as possible. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation, call 703-542-3616. You can also connect with us through our online form.