Possession of Marijuana
Any drug arrest must be taken very seriously. Even a first-offense misdemeanor charge for possession of a small amount of marijuana could land you in jail, cost you your job, or severely limit your future prospects.
But the law also recognizes that drug crimes often go hand-in-hand with addictions, and opportunities exist in some cases to undergo substance abuse screening and treatment in lieu of stricter penalties. We can help you determine if the circumstances of your case might qualify you for treatment and probation or a more lenient sentence, or if defenses exist to have your charge dismissed altogether.
Pot possession is probably one of the most common types of drug crimes seen in Virginia’s courts. Virginia law has statutes that specifically address marijuana and synthetic marijuana separately from other drugs such as cocaine, methamphetamines, or ecstasy. Simple possession is a relatively serious misdemeanor, but pot trafficking can be a felony.
- Possession of Marijuana: Virginia Code §18.2-250.1 makes it illegal to possess any amount of marijuana, unless you have a valid prescription from a doctor. The statute defines a first offense as a misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and/or up to a $500 fine. A second or subsequent conviction is a Class 1 misdemeanor, which generally is punishable by up to a year in jail and/or a maximum $2,500 fine.
- Sale, Distribution or Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Deliver: It’s a crime in Virginia to sell, distribute, or possess with the intent to deliver any amount of marijuana under Virginia Code §18.2-248.1. However, the amount of the drug involved in your case will determine whether a conviction is a misdemeanor or felony. At their most severe, penalties for the sale, distribution, or possession of marijuana with the intent to deliver the drug can include a sentence of life in prison and a $500,000 fine.
- Possession, Sale or Distribution of Synthetic Marijuana: It’s also illegal in Virginia to possess synthetic cannabinoids, or to sell, give, distribute or possess with the intent to distribute synthetic marijuana. Simple possession is a misdemeanor, but it’s a felony to sell, give, deliver, manufacture, or possess with the intent to deliver synthetic cannabinoids under Virginia Code §18.2-248.1:1.
Simple Possession of Marijuana is an unclassified misdemeanor for the first offense and carries a jail sentence of up to thirty (30) days and up to a $500 fine. In addition, if convicted you will face up to 100 hours of community service. Previously, if you were convicted of possession of marijuana then your license would be automatically suspended for 6 months. Now, instead, the new law puts the decision to impose a license suspension solely with the Judge. The Judge may now consider the facts of the case and determine whether a license suspension is appropriate under the circumstances.
If convicted of a second or subsequent offense it is considered a class 1 misdemeanor with up to one (1) year in jail, up to a $2500 fine and a license suspension of six (6) months. A first offender may receive a deferred disposition and dismissal of the charge upon completion of probation and community service. But such defendants still lose their driver’s licenses for six months.
Contact Raj Dua—an Experienced Fairfax County Drug Possession Defense Attorney
If you’re facing drug charges in Virginia, we can help explore all of your options to get the best possible result in your case.
Call Raj Dua at (703) 382-7300 or email [email protected] for a free consultation.
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