Fairfax Drug Lawyer
Drugs are everywhere in Virginia. Our government began its “War on Drugs” in the 80’s during the Reagan Administration. Since that time, the general consensus has grown to viewing this “war” as nothing more than a colossal waste of resources which, at the end of the day, has only resulted in a marginal disruption to the drug trade. As a Fairfax drug lawyer, I am all too familiar with how the overzealous enforcement of drug laws have actually contributed to the proliferation of the most dangerous drugs (heroin, methamphetamine, etc.), as well as the drug trade’s notorious violence.
Even though drug crimes are typically of a non-violent and arguably victimless nature, they are still heavily pursued by law enforcement agencies at the local, state, and federal levels. Unfortunately, in my time as a Fairfax drug lawyer, I have come to discover that the overzealous nature in which law enforcement has attempted to obtain evidence of drug crimes has also implicated members of law enforcement in criminal activity for lying in police reports, planting drugs, and falsifying affidavits to obtain search warrants – all in the name of making an arrest in violation of your Constitutional liberties and protections. This is why it is so important for you to Know and Assert Your Rights. However, it takes an aggressive and skillful Fairfax drug lawyer to not only spot when constitutional violations have occurred, but to explain how these violations occurred to the judge and jury.
If you have been charged with any drug crimes, contact the Law Offices of Randall Sousa for a free consultation with a Fairfax drug lawyer. We also provide representation for people charged with the possession or sale of marijuana. Many times, children are led astray by peer pressure and find themselves in legal trouble for possessing narcotics. If your child has been charged with any drug crimes, we are extremely well-versed in providing representation to juveniles. To be sure, juveniles are often arrested for the possession or use of narcotics while on school property. If your child faces scholastic discipline in addition to criminal charges, our firm has a strong record of success in obtaining favorable outcomes in student disciplinary hearings.
No matter what, if you find yourself in a situation where the police are questioning you, invoke your right to remain silent and your right to an attorney. You must always take advantage of these rights and you must always remember that you should never consent to any searches. Make the police obtain a warrant. If they fail to obtain a warrant, your Fairfax drug lawyer may be able to move the court to suppress any unlawfully obtained evidence.
Why You Need a Fairfax Drug Lawyer
Possessing certain drugs in Virginia, even for personal use, is a felony which could lead to time in prison. In addition to criminal penalties, drug crimes can negatively affect a person’s employment status as well as their eligibility to receive federal student aid. Although there are major consequences associated with the sale or transportation of drugs, each of these cases are factually unique, and this gives your Fairfax drug lawyer room to argue for a better outcome. When considering the complexities and nuances of drug laws in Virginia, it is imperative that you obtain a qualified Fairfax drug lawyer if you are being investigated or charged with the possession, sale, manufacture, or distribution of narcotics.
At the Law Offices of Randall Sousa, we understand the anxiety associated with being arrested and charged with a crime, but we are here help quell that anxiety. When you retain the services of a Fairfax drug lawyer, you will be able to ensure that you receive the personal and passionate legal defense services you deserve. We want you to feel comfortable contacting us at any time. Particularly in those moments when you are alone and thinking that you are headed for the worst possible outcome. Rarely will this ever happen!
People make mistakes and people become addicted to drugs. Possessing narcotics, in most cases, is not so much of a crime as it is a symptom of a serious illness. In today’s society, prosecutors, judges, and juries alike almost universally acknowledge that addiction is an illness. Your Fairfax drug lawyer will be able to explain to the prosecutor that punishment is not how you cure an illness.
How a Fairfax Drug Lawyer Can Help
When a person is arrested and charged with a crime, their natural tendency will be to think the worst. But when you hire a Fairfax drug lawyer, you not only have someone who will aggressively fight to keep you out of jail and keep your record clean, but to also explain the possible holes in the Commonwealth’s case against you.
For example, the charges against you may be based drugs which were not actually found on your person. Many times, drug possession charges are based on situations where the drugs were found in a person’s vehicle after the police conducted a warrantless search without probable cause. Furthermore, simply because drugs were found in your vehicle does not mean that you necessarily knew about them. Indeed, after a night out with friends, someone may have forgotten their drugs in your glove compartment or center console. Likewise, a passenger may have dropped them underneath their seat and left them there without your knowledge.
These types of scenarios arise all the time, and a Fairfax drug lawyer will be able to explain this to a jury. In turn, there will be reasonable doubt concerning whether you actually knew that the drugs were even in your vehicle. This is particularly true in situations where the accused consented to a search. As a point of emphasis, you should Never Consent to a Search. But why would a person consent to a search of their car if they knew that drugs were inside of it? The simple answer is that they wouldn’t.
Your Fairfax drug lawyer can also take some of the following steps to help you fight your case:
- We will obtain all police reports and evidence to determine whether we can file a motion to suppress certain evidence
- Your Fairfax drug lawyer will speak to the prosecutor to determine whether the Commonwealth is amenable to a plea deal or even dismissing the charges completely
- We will begin an investigation and speak with any potential witnesses
- You can receive an evaluation from a medical professional who will prepare a report indicating whether you have an addiction problem and whether treatment, and not punishment, would be beneficial.
While drug possession charges are very serious, there are also many defenses available. Under some circumstances, it is entirely possible for your Fairfax drug lawyer to negotiate down to a lesser charge or even have the charges dismissed. Whether through persuasive argument, preserving your defenses, or negotiating down to a lower charge, your Fairfax criminal lawyer can work to obtain the best possible outcome in your case.
A Fairfax Drug Lawyer Explains Plea Bargaining in Drug Cases
Drug cases present two special bargaining considerations for all Fairfax drug lawyers: (1) the possible terms of probation for first offenders and in simple-possession cases; and (2) post-conviction diversion into treatment programs for defendants who are addicted. Many times, defendants are indicted on multiple counts, but in reality, they will almost never be required to plead to all of them. Accordingly, even in situations where the outcome may appear extremely bleak, a great many advantages can be obtained by pleading to one or more, but less than all, of the charged counts. The difficulties arise however when a jurisdiction – like Virginia – has mandatory minimum sentences.
I would be remiss in not explaining that, in my time as a Fairfax drug lawyer, I have come to understand that when a defendant does not accept the plea offer and instead elects to go to trial, they run at least some risk of drawing a more severe sentence if convicted than they would have received if they had accepted the plea. When criminal dockets are overcrowded, the defendant who elects to go trial when they have a very weak case may cause the judge to become upset. That is why, if your Fairfax drug lawyer cannot find evidence or legal arguments which are persuasive enough to support a strong defense to your charges, it is best avoid the judge’s ire by wasting the court’s time and resources at a trial. While it is true that judge who imposes a tough sentence on a defendant merely for exercising their right to a jury trial is categorically wrong and unconstitutional, appealing a judge’s sentence on the basis of bias, hostility, or retaliatory action are not only expensive, but they are rarely met with success.
At the end of the day, if there is evidence or legal arguments to support your innocence, your Fairfax drug lawyer will do all they can to ensure that you obtain the best outcome possible. If not, they will make sure that you receive a fair and relatively lenient plea bargain.
Virginia Drug Laws
Virginia drug laws are some of the harshest in the country. In fact, Virginia has enacted a Drug Control Act of its own which is somewhat different than the federal version. The most notable difference is that, unlike the federal version, the Virginia Drug Control Act classifies marijuana as a Schedule 6 drug whereas the federal version classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug. If you have been charged with a crime for violating any Virginia drug laws, you will want to contact a Fairfax drug lawyer as soon as possible.
Possession of Narcotics (Virginia Code § 18.2-250)
Under Virginia Code § 18.2-250, possessing drugs like cocaine, heroin, MDMA (otherwise known as ecstasy or “molly”), Xanax, OxyContin, and Percocet is a Class 5 felony. However, pursuant to Virginia Code § 18.2-251, there are circumstances when your Fairfax drug lawyer can persuade the court to defer a finding of guilt so long as the defendant enrolls and successfully completes a drug diversion program. Your Fairfax drug lawyer can help determine whether you are eligible for a “251 Disposition” while also discussing the potentially negative ramifications and limitations of accepting a plea under Virginia Code § 18.2-251.
The penalties for a conviction under § 18.2-250 are classified in the following manner:
- Possession of a Schedule I or II Substance: Class 5 felony carrying a sentence of one to 10 years in prison. However, at the discretion of the judge or jury, the defendant may be sentenced to less than 12 months in county jail and a fine of $2,500. See Virginia Code § 18.2-10(e)
- Possession of a Schedule III Controlled Substance: Class 1 misdemeanor which carries a sentence of up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. See Virginia Code § 18.2-11(a)
- Possession of a Schedule IV Controlled Substance: Class 2 misdemeanor carrying a sentence of up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. See Virginia Code § 18.2-11(b)
- Possession of a Schedule V Controlled Substance: Class 3 misdemeanor carrying a fine of up to $500
- Possession of a Schedule VI Controlled Substance: Class 4 misdemeanor carrying a fine of up to $250. See Virginia Code § 18.2-250.1
- The full text of all possible penalties for drug sales charges can be found here.
Drug sales/manufacturing charges carry much stiffer penalties than possession charges and the sentences can vary depending on the drug being sold and the amount possessed. Given the harsh penalties associated with drug sale charges, you will want to retain the services of an aggressive, affordable, and highly skilled Fairfax drug lawyer as soon as possible.
251 Disposition (Virginia Code § 18.2-251)
Pursuant to Virginia Code § 18.2-251, an individual charged with possessing a controlled substance (including marijuana) may be able to have their Fairfax drug lawyer obtain a deferral of prosecution and finding of guilt if the defendant can meet the following requirements:
- Have no prior convictions for a drug-related offense and have never been on probation for a drug related offense;
- Enter a treatment and/or education program for substance abuse and successfully complete the program;
- Be tested for drugs and alcohol during the period of probation and remain drug-free;
- Complete at least 24 hours of community service if charged with a misdemeanor and 100 hours of community service if charged with a felony
If you choose to enter a 251 Disposition, you will be required to pay all or part of the costs associated with entering and completing the program. Your Fairfax drug lawyer will be able to help you determine if you qualify for a 251 disposition.
Virginia Drug Schedule
In 1970, the Commonwealth of Virginia instituted the Virginia Drug Control Act. Unlike the federal version of the drug control act – which has five drug schedule classifications – Virginia’s version has 6 schedules of drugs.
|Schedule I||Drugs with no accepted medical use and high potential for addiction (heroin, LSD, ecstacy)|
|Schedule II||Drugs with high potential for abuse, but also are accepted for medical use (i.e. methamphetamine, cocaine, oxycodone, morphine)|
|Schedule III||Drugs with accepted medical uses and moderate potential for abuse (i.e. anabolic steroids, ketamine)|
|Schedule IV||Drugs with with accepted medical uses and lower potential for abuse and dependency than Schedule III drugs (i.e. Valium, Xanax)|
|Schedule V||Drugs with accepted medical and limited potential for abuse and dependency (i.e. cough syrups with codeine)|
|Schedule VI||Drugs with little to no potential for addiction (i.e. marijuana, inhalants)|
Distributing Controlled Substances to Minors (Virginia Code § 18.2-255)
If an individual over 18 years of age intentionally sells or distributes a controlled substance to a minor who is at least three years younger, or provides a minor with a controlled substance for the minor to assist in its distribution, then the accused shall be charged with a felony and will face a sentence of 10 to 50 years in prison with a mandatory minimum of five years and fine of up to $100,000. If the individual distributes at least 5 ounces of marijuana to a minor, a 5-year mandatory minimum will be the applicable sentence. If the individual is found guilty of distributing less than one ounce of marijuana to a minor, then they will only be subject to a two-year mandatory minimum. See Virginia Code § 18.2-255(A) In any situation which involves charges of distribution to a minor, you will want to hire a Fairfax drug lawyer to represent your interests. Many times, your Fairfax drug lawyer may be able to have these types of charges dropped if the sale was between two parties which are very close in age.
Selling Controlled Substances Near Certain Properties (Virginia Code § 18.2-255.2)
It is a felony to distribute any Schedule I, II, or III controlled substances (or marijuana) near any of the following properties:
- Upon the property of any public or private school, college, or university, or any day care center which has clearly been marked as such or any area within 1,000 feet of these properties;
- On any school bus;
- At any school bus stop or within 1,000 feet of any school bus stop during the time when school children are waiting to be picked up or are being dropped off from school or a school-sponsored activity;
- On the property of any publicly owned or operated recreation/community center or public library;
- Upon the property of any state facility or property open for public use or within 1,000 feet of any such property.
The penalty for violating this section of the Virginia drug laws is a sentence of one to five years in prison. Upon a second conviction under this section, there is a mandatory minimum sentence of one year in prison. While no Fairfax drug lawyer will condone a client’s sale of narcotics, what we will do is tell you that if you are sworn to engage in the unlawful sale of narcotics, that you at least not engage in such activities near a school or public park.
Conspiracy to Violate Virginia Drug Sales Laws (Virginia Code § 18.2-256)
If a person conspires to commit a drug-related offense or violate any Virginia drug laws, then they face the same penalties as the offense they conspired to commit. See Virginia Code § 18.2-256.
Attempt to Commit a Drug-Related Offense (Virginia Code § 18.2-257)
If a person attempts to commit a drug-related crime that is classified as a felony, then they face one to 10 years in prison. See Virginia Code § 18.2-257(a). If the individual attempts to commit a drug-related misdemeanor, then they can be charged with a Class 2 misdemeanor and face up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. See Virginia Code § 18.2-257(b)
If you or someone you know has been charged or arrested with violating any of the aforementioned Virginia drug laws, contact the Law Offices of Randall Sousa today for a Free Consultation with a Fairfax drug lawyer.
Virginia Drug Law Penalties
- Simple possession of either a Schedule I or Schedule II drug is a Class 5 felony which carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison and a fine of no more than $2,500.
- Possession of a Schedule III drug is a misdemeanor which can be punished by up to one year in jail and a fine up to $2,500.
- Possessing a Schedule IV drug carries a sentence up to six months in jail.
- Possession of a Schedule V drug is also a misdemeanor but it can only be punished by a $500 fine.
- Being found in possession of a Schedule VI drug is a misdemeanor as well, but the accused will only be subject to a penalty of a $250 fine.
Contact a Fairfax Criminal Defense Attorney Today
If you have been arrested or charged with possession of drugs in Virginia, you need a Fairfax drug lawyer to assert your rights and defenses. Whether it be suppressing evidence due to Fourth Amendment violations or preventing the state from proving an element of the crime, your Virginia criminal lawyer will do all they possibly can to fight the charges against you. Contact a Fairfax drug lawyer today for a free consultation and let us help prevent you fight these charges. 571-354-6164
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By: Randall Sousa
PASSIONATE AND PERSONAL SERVICE
The Law Offices of Randall Sousa provides clients throughout Virginia with affordable, professional, and aggressive criminal defense legal services. If you have been arrested, charged with a crime, or are under investigation, call us now for a Free Consultation.
Fairfax Criminal Defense Attorney Randall Sousa possesses a deep commitment and passion for criminal defense, and he is relentless when it comes to fighting for his clients in each and every case.
Law Offices of Randall Sousa
3007 Williams Drive
Fairfax, VA 22031