Back to School Could Mean Drug Possession Charges for Some College Party-Goers

by J.D. Garrett on September 4, 2013

College PartyCollege is back in session in Virginia, which means that dorm parties, frat parties, and sorority events are also back in full swing. The truth of the matter is that sometimes a kegger or a beer-pong event can turn from just beer and other alcoholic drinks, to harder substances, like marijuana and other drugs. Drug possession charges can happen to anyone, at any time, and college students are no exception – even if they reside on Greek row. A story from last month demonstrates how even the son of a politician can find himself in a legal bind for possession of marijuana.

According to wjla.com, 33-year-old Marion Christopher Barry, son of D.C. Councilman Marion Barry, was arrested in Hampton, Virginia earlier in August. Reports state that Mr. Barry was driving his PT Cruiser erratically at around 9:00 p.m. when police stopped him. Washington Times reports that a police officer allegedly found marijuana on Mr. Barry’s person and in the vehicle. He also allegedly found what appeared to be synthetic marijuana in the PT Cruiser. Mr. Barry was ultimately charged with possession of marijuana and driving under the influence.

Drug Possession Charges in Virginia

Drug possession charges are very serious offenses in Virginia, and are prosecuted vigorously. Whether you are the son of a politician, or a college student with a 4.0 average, a drug possession charge may bring with it serious penalties and consequences, including jail time, penalties and fines. The use of marijuana on college campuses is no secret, but just because everyone seems to be doing it, doesn’t mean that possession of marijuana is not illegal. It is important for college students to understand possession of marijuana laws in Virginia because even a simple possession conviction may result in jail time.

Under Code of Virginia Title 18.2, Section 250.1, it is illegal for a person to knowingly or intentionally possess marijuana. The only exception to the law is if the marijuana was obtained by a prescription from a licensed practitioner, or as otherwise authorized by The Drug Control Act. It is important to note that for the purposes of prosecution of a possession of marijuana charge, the fact that marijuana was found in a vehicle or property that the person owns does not create the presumption that that person knowingly or intentionally possessed that marijuana.

Under the Virginia criminal law, violation of the possession of marijuana law is punishable by a jail sentence of up to thirty days, and a fine of $500. The sentence can include both the fine and the jail time. A second violation of the possession of marijuana law is a Class 1 misdemeanor. Under Code of Virginia 18.2-11, a Class 1 misdemeanor is punishable by up to twelve months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.

If you have been charged with any drug possession charges in Virginia, you should immediately meet with an experienced drug possession defense attorney. A criminal defense attorney can help you understand the charges against you, and can defend your case in court or negotiate with the prosecutor. Contact Garrett Law Group, PLC, today for a confidential consultation.

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