Though some states have decriminalized possession of marijuana, Virginia is not one of them. Despite the fact that many people in this country support the complete legalization of the substance, it’s still against the law. And regardless of your opinion on the matter, you can face criminal charges for being found in possession of pot under Virginia law.
Even if you only possess a small amount, you can face jail time. Though popular opinion would have you believe marijuana possession is a minor offense, it’s definitely not something you want to take lightly.
Unlike some other state laws, Virginia law doesn’t recognize differences in the amount of pot you have. If you are found in possession of less than an ounce, or several ounces, you can face the same charge.
Virginia Marijuana Possession Charge – 1st Offense
No matter how much you have on you, if you are charged with possession of marijuana and it is your first offense, you will face misdemeanor charges. This first offense misdemeanor charge carries a potential 30 days in jail and $500 in fines.
Second or Subsequent Possession Charge
If this isn’t your first time being charged with marijuana possession, you will still face a misdemeanor, though the penalties are more severe. This time you could be sentenced to up to 1 year in jail and fines reaching $2,500.
Ref: VA Criminal Statutes §18.2-250.1
Depending on the facts of your case, you could qualify for something called deferred prosecution. This is most often reserved for people charged with their first possession case and those who aren’t accused of possessing a large amount.
Deferred prosecution refers to a period of probation you serve that, when served successfully, results in the charges against you being dropped. This is a favorable outcome for many people and one that can be discussed in greater detail with a criminal defense lawyer.
How a Lawyer Can Help
When you are accused of a criminal act, a criminal defense attorney’s job is to look out for your best interests and the protection of your rights. In order to get you the best results possible on your day in court, your attorney can challenge the legality of the search that led to the marijuana and the arrest itself. The police must follow strict protocol when conducting searches, handling evidence, and executing arrests. One misstep could result in the charges being dropped.
The only certain way to know what you’re up against and what options are available to you is to consult with a local Virginia defense lawyer. Contact us today to speak with a Virginia lawyer in your area.