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What Are The Penalties For Drug Possession?

by J.D. Garrett on July 4, 2012

Drug possession charges generally fall into one of two categories: simple possession and possession with intent to distribute. These charges can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on whether the substance is marijuana or narcotic. In Virginia, possession of any substance classified under the Federal Drug Control Act, including possession of cocaine, possession or heroin, or unauthorized prescription drug possession, is a felony. Possession of marijuana is a misdemeanor. These charges are generally referred to as “simple possession” so long as they are not elevated to the more serious charge of “possession with intent to distribute.”

In cases of simple possession of marijuana or simple possession of cocaine or other drug, and where the individual charged is facing a first offense, a skilled criminal defense lawyer can negotiate with the prosecutor to achieve a result that does not end up with a conviction. In these cases, Virginia law allows an attorney to present evidence to the Court in order to persuade the Court to allow the defendant to complete community service and complete drug counseling in exchange for a dismissal of the charges, even if that charge is a felony.

For possession with intent to distribute cocaine or other narcotic and possession to distribute marijuana cases, the penalties are much more severe, including prison time even for first time drug possession offenses. These cases are always fact specific, and each fact pointing to distribution must be vigorously challenged. A criminal attorney knowledgeable in this area will be able to evaluate the evidence and cross-examine the witnesses. In many cases, distribution cases can be reduced to simple possession cases which reduces any jail or prison time significantly, sometime eliminating it altogether.

If you have been charged with simple possession of marijuana, simple possession of a controlled substance, or possession with intent to distribute in Virginia Beach, contact our office today to speak with an experienced Virginia Beach drug possession defense lawyer. (757) 422-4646. Our attorneys are available to answer your questions 24/7/365.

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