MARIJUANA CHARGES ARE SERIOUS. FIGHT THEM HARD!
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In Virginia, even a charge of first offense simple possession of marijuana can result in a jail sentence. Enhanced penalties apply to second or subsequent offenses - the maximum punishment is 12 months incarceration and a fine of $2500.
Distribution of marijuana (or possession with intent to distribute marijuana) is a felony if the weight is more than half an ounce. The maximum punishment is 5 years incarceration and a fine of $2500.
Manufacturing marijuana, distribution of large quantities of marijuana, and subsequent offenses can result in very serious charges, punishable up to life imprisonment.
If you are convicted of any marijuana offense, Virginia laws requires the judge to suspend your driver's license for six months, however your attorney can request a restricted license to allow you to go to work, school and medical appointments.
Defending against a marijuana charge requires extensive knowledge and experience. The testing of marijuana involves advanced chemistry and the procedures are complicated. The prosecution must prove the chain of custody all the way from the time of arrest to the time the evidence is submitted to the court.
It is common for the police to charge the wrong person in marijuana cases, and a defense attorney will work hard to identify alternative suspects to raise the reasonable doubt necessary to beat the charge. The prosecution has to prove not only that you possessed marijuana, but also that you knew it was marijuana when you possessed it.
The law of possession is complicated. The marijuana doesn't need to be on your body in order for the court to find that it was in your possession - it can consider the evidence that the marijuana was in your "dominion and control" and determine that you possessed it even though you were nowhere near the marijuana when it was discovered.
Finally, the law offers first offenders a special way to avoid a conviction with counseling, community service and good behavior. This first offender program is not automatic or guaranteed, and different judges have different policies about granting it.
We have tried many marijuana cases all over Virginia and we have obtained dismissals of marijuana manufacturing, distribution and possession cases. If you are charged with a marijuana crime, call us NOW to schedule an appointment.