The state of Virginia defines possession as physically carrying the substance, keeping the drug within reach or containing it within a residence or vehicle’s personal space. While unique situations can affect interpretation or meaning of regulations, Virginia strictly enforces regulations regarding the possession of marijuana.
Arrest in Virginia for Marijuana Possession
Following arrest for possession of marijuana, the individual may be charged and found guilty. This, in accordance with Criminal Code § 18.2-251. Within that code, specifically at Virginia Criminal Code § 18.2-250.1., a guilty charge of a Class 1 misdemeanor will result from being found in violation of that law. The associated penalty is that of up to 30 days in jail and/or a maximum of $500 in fines. The court may also require deferment of additional proceedings with a judgment of conditional probation if the arrested party has no prior criminal history. That clean record must include no charges relative to marijuana, narcotics or prescription medications.
Assessment and Education Programs for Substance Abuse
Mandatory substance abuse assessment and/or enrollment in a drug education program may be required of individuals charged with possession. There may be mandatory entry into a drug treatment center, depending upon charge severity and individual criminal history. Any such services must be provided by a licensed agency of the Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse, the Department of Corrections, through a Commission on VASAP-certified ASAP program or a community-based agency.
Assessment and Rehabilitation Expenses
Court-mandated drug abuse assessment and rehabilitation is the financial responsibility, in all or part of the program costs, of the offender. Included expenses for which the offender will likely be held accountable are the costs of assessment, testing, screening and treatment. Such stipulations are based upon court determination of ability to pay by the offender.
During probation, any requisite educational and treatment programs must be completed by the offender. He or she must also remain alcohol and drug free throughout the period of probation. Periodic substance testing will be expected of the offender by the court to ensure compliance. These tests are performed by either probation officers or allocated agencies. Other requirements will likely include consistent employment and up to 100 hours of community service.
Placement on probation may include loss of the individual’s driver’s license for up to six months, as probation is a consideration of a guilty conviction. This is in accordance with Criminal Codes §§ 18.2-259.1, 22.1-315 and 46.2-390.1. Whether the operator’s license must be forfeited will be determined by the court overseeing the marijuana possession case. If the license is to be disposed of, the court will notify the Department of Motor Vehicles.
In the event of extenuating circumstances, an individual may be allowed to retain their license with restrictions. Criminal Code § 18.2-271.1. sets the guidelines for this determination. The court order will contain and detail any restrictions and a copy will be provided to both the offender and the Department of Motor Vehicles. Any violation of these terms of probation, whether in regard to license restrictions or not remaining drug free, will result in additional court ruling.
Offenses Involving Minors
Without authorization, distribution of marijuana or any substance to a minor under age 18 by an adult over the age of 18 is a Class 6 felony. Individuals may not influence a minor toward assistance of distribution of marijuana or other substances, either. Violation of this ordinance, with arrest and conviction, results in somewhere between 10 and 50 years in prison with up to $100,000 in fines. Conviction will carry a mandatory two years if less than one ounce was involved in the crime. Five years is mandatory if one or more ounces are involved in the crime.
We Are Ready To Represent You!
A charge of marijuana possession carries potential of serious penalties. When faced with these charges, it is key to educate yourself regarding Virginia’s regulations and laws and to not gamble with your future. The Brown Firm PLLC is ready to represent you in court. Our experienced criminal defense lawyers will represent your best interests by protecting your rights, negotiating with the court and prosecution for a lower penalty or, petitioning that your charges be dismissed entirely. It is important to hire a quality criminal defense attorney to ensure that you receive the best possible result.
If you have been charged with possession of marijuana in Virginia – call The Brown Firm PLLC or send us a message online with a description of your case.