Henrico VA Possession of Marijuana Lawyer
Over the last few years, several states across the country such as Maine, Colorado, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington, have legalized recreational and medicinal use of marijuana. However, possession and distribution of marijuana remains a crime in Henrico County and other areas of Virginia. If you are arrested and charged with possession and distribution of marijuana In Henrico VA, then you will be facing penalties such as jail time and fines. You might also lose your driving privileges in some situations.
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Apart from that, if you are convicted, then you will end up with a permanent criminal record, which can negatively affect your opportunities in education, housing, and employment. Also, a criminal conviction might also affect security clearance. If you are facing any marijuana-related criminal offense, then you should talk to a Henrico VA possession of marijuana attorney. At Weiland Upton, we believe that possession and distribution of marijuana charges, should not label you as a criminal your entire life, take away your driving privileges and jeopardize your future opportunities. We will fight aggressively to ensure your future, freedom, and rights are protected.
Marijuana Laws in Henrico County Virginia
According to VA Code § 18.2-250.1, it’s a crime in Virginia to possess any amount of marijuana, if you don’t have a valid medical prescription. Marijuana possession is a misdemeanor in Henrico VA. A first offense usually attracts a fine of $500 and up to 30 days in jail. Your driver’s license will also be suspended for 6 months. For every subsequent marijuana possession conviction, you will face up to 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. You will also lose your driving privileges for at least 6 months. Even if it’s a first-time conviction, it will still go on your criminal record. And as noted earlier, a criminal conviction cannot be expunged from your records, even if you completed the first offender program and the charges were dismissed.
- Possession with intent to distribute marijuana is also illegal in Virginia, according to VA Code § 18.2-248.1. Law enforcement officers will use various ways to prove possession with intent to distribute. For instance, they might use confessions, undercover drug buys, the quantity of drugs in your possession, text messages from your phone, possession of scales, possession of large amounts of cash or presence of individually packaged drugs. The penalties for possession with intent to distribution will depend on the amount of marijuana in your possession.
- Possession with intent to distribute less than 0.5 ounces of marijuana is a Class 1 misdemeanor that attracts a maximum penalty of up to 12 months in jail as well as suspension of your driver’s license.
- Possession with intent to distribute 0.5 pounds to 5 pounds of marijuana is a Class 5 felony, punishable by up 10 years of incarceration and a maximum fine of $2,500. Your driver’s license will also be suspended for 6 months.
- Possession with intent to distribute more than 5 pounds of marijuana is a felony, punishable by up to 30 years in jail or a maximum fine of $10,000.
- Possession with intent to distribute more than 100 kg of a substance or mixture containing marijuana is a felony that attracts a jail term of 20 years to life in prison, and a maximum fine of $1,000,000.
Other marijuana charges that you might face in Henrico VA include distribution of marijuana to prisoners, distribution of marijuana to minors, causing a minor to assist in marijuana distribution, conspiracy to distribute marijuana, attempted distribution of marijuana and distribution of marijuana occurring near public property or near a school.
The First Offender Program In Henrico County VA
If you have been charged with marijuana possession and distribution, you might qualify for Virginia’s first offender program or deferred disposition. Under this program, your marijuana possession charges will be dismissed, as long as you comply with a strict and lengthy set of conditions. To qualify for this program, you must have a clean criminal record. Apart from that, you must plead guilty or enter a no-contest plea to the marijuana-related charges you are facing. Also, you must remain-drug free during the entire probation period and be ready to attend court-approved educational and rehabilitation programs. You will also be required to complete a community service program, of which the court will set the hours. Furthermore, you will be required to pay program-related costs, depending on your financial capabilities.
It’s important to note that once you enter the first offender program or the 251 program, it’s highly likely that your driver’s license will be suspended for 6 months. However, your attorney can ask the court to grant you a restricted driver’s license, which will allow you limited driving privileges. For instance, if the restricted driver’s license is granted, you will have permission to use your car to attend work, school, court sessions, medical appointments or church. Once you complete the program successfully, your charges will be dismissed and your driving privileges will be reinstated.
As much as the 251 program sounds great, you need to be aware that it has some disadvantages. First, just because the marijuana possession charges have been dismissed, doesn’t mean that they have been dropped or they have been expunged. In Virginia, a charge can only be expunged from your records if you have been acquitted or the charge was dropped by the state. This means that if someone were to pull your criminal record, your marijuana possession charges will still show up. Besides that, if you were asked during a job, school, loan or housing application whether you’ve ever been arrested, then you have to say yes. While the differed disposition is great, you should be ready to answer some questions whenever someone pulls your criminal record.
Another drawback of the 251 program is that you can still be charged and convicted, especially if you fail to complete the program or violate any of the conditions. And once you’ve been taken back to court as a result of violating the conditions of the program, you cannot defend your case or argue innocence, since you already waived those rights when you joined the program. Also, a dismissal through the deferred disposition program can also affect your immigration status. Due to these circumstances, you should not simply join the first offender program, just because the judge says the charges will be dismissed or it appears fair. Each case is unique. Therefore, ensure you talk to an experienced Henrico County VA possession of marijuana lawyer. The attorney will evaluate your case, and then advise you on how best to proceed.
Experienced Henrico County Va Marijuana Attorneys
Marijuana possession and distribution charges are serious crimes in Henrico VA. And a conviction could ruin your life forever. If you have been arrested and charged with sale, possession, distribution, manufacturing or any marijuana-related criminal violation, you are under investigation for any of the above charges, then you need to contact a Henrico County VA possession of marijuana lawyer. It helps to have a professional criminal defense attorney on your side, who knows what to expect from the charges you are facing as well as how best to proceed, to obtain a favorable outcome.
The criminal defense attorneys at Weiland Upton have a proven combination of professionalism, tenacity, and experience when it comes to marijuana-related offenses. Dealing with the Virginia legal system can be intimidating, overwhelming and daunting. However, it doesn’t have to be like that. Our criminal defense lawyers are committed to providing you with the highest level of legal representation while making sure you have the peace of mind that you deserve.
As much as no reputable attorney or law firm can guarantee results, it helps to hire and retain qualified and experienced legal counsel. Working with our seasoned criminal defense attorneys gives you a better chance of protecting your rights, and most importantly, your reputation. Once you reach out to us, we will not waste time or wait until you’ve been taken to court. We will start working on your case right away. Before your first court hearing, we will evaluate the evidence presented for your case, assess potential defenses and then identify the best approach to pursue. At Weiland Upton, we place emphasis on open communication lines with all our clients. We will always update you on all the developments taking place in your case.
Contact Us Today at 804-355-8037
If you are facing marijuana possession, distribution or any related charges in Henrico VA, then your reputation, freedom and future opportunities are on the line. Depending on the amount of marijuana in your possession, a conviction can lead to probation, jail time, or hefty penalties. Due to the severity of the penalties and consequences that come with a criminal conviction, it’s important to hire an experienced Henrico VA criminal defense attorney, who can help you fight the charges you are facing.
At Weiland Upton, it’s always our goal to provide all our clients with personalized attention. We will listen to you and ensure we understand your problem, explain the applicable laws in your case, and then come up with the most appropriate defense approach for your case. If you or your loved one is facing marijuana possession and distribution charges in Henrico VA, contact the law office of Weiland Upton for a free preliminary case evaluation.
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