Being charged with a drug crime can stir up a number of emotions. It’s normal to feel nervous, stressed, or anxious about your future if you are being accused of committing a drug crime.
But, an attorney may be able to argue that you cannot be convicted of the possession charge because there is no evidence you were aware of the presence of the drugs.
If you are facing drug charges, it’s imperative to contact a Roanoke drug crimes lawyer and learn about the crimes you are accused of committing, the potential consequences, and of course, the best way to beat your charges.
What Are the Most Common Drug Crimes in Virginia?
Possession is one of the most common drug crimes in the Commonwealth of Virginia. It is illegal to have any amount of controlled substance, including marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and LSD in your possession. It is also against the law to have prescription medication in your possession if the medicine was not prescribed to you by a healthcare provider.
If you have a significant amount of a controlled substance in your possession—or if you are found with paraphernalia such as scales or plastic bags—you may face possession with the intent to sell or distribute charges. This is a more serious drug crime than simple possession since it involves the intent to sell illegal drugs to others.
Selling controlled substances is another common drug crime in Virginia. Defendants who are accused of this crime could face additional charges and enhanced penalties if they allegedly distributed drugs in certain locations such as schools, libraries, or recreation centers. Defendants can also face additional consequences for selling to certain individuals, including minors.
In Virginia, it is also a crime to manufacture controlled substances. People can face these charges if they are involved in any step of the manufacturing process, regardless of the size of the role they play.
This is an overview of some of the most common drug crimes, but it is not an exhaustive list. The laws in Virginia are complex, so it’s important to work with an attorney who can explain your charges and legal options.
What Are the Penalties For Drug Crimes in Roanoke, VA?
The penalties for a drug conviction can vary depending on a number of factors, including the severity of the charges, nature of the crime, and the defendant’s prior record. For example, a first-time offender who has been convicted of having marijuana in his possession could have the charge dismissed if he meets certain conditions set forth by the court. In this first-offender program, the defendant may need to perform community service, undergo substance abuse evaluations, enter treatment, and more in order to have his charge dismissed. However, if the defendant has been convicted of marijuana possession in the past, he is no longer eligible for this program and could face fines and jail time.
Other drug crimes, such as the possession of schedule I or II controlled substances, distribution, and manufacturing carry far more serious penalties. For example, the possession of a schedule I or II controlled substance is a class 5 felony that could lead to up to a decade in prison as well as substantial fines.
In addition to the legal penalties, offenders can also face long-term consequences for a conviction. A drug conviction will remain on your record long after the case has been closed. This conviction could affect your ability to find employment, housing, or enroll in school.
Because the penalties can vary so greatly, it’s best to discuss your charges with an attorney to determine what potential consequences you could face.
How to Beat A Drug Charge in Virginia
There are a number of different defense strategies that are often used in drug crime cases. In possession cases, criminal defense attorneys can sometimes argue that you were not in possession of the controlled substance at the time of your arrest.
Authorities may try to prove you were in constructive possession of the drug, meaning you knew of the presence and nature of the drug even though you did not have the drug in your actual possession. But, an attorney may argue that you should not face charges because there is no evidence you were aware of the drugs.
An attorney will carefully review the details of your case when developing a defense strategy. Your attorney will pay close attention to how the prosecution’s evidence was collected to determine if authorities violated your rights during their search of your property.
If your attorney finds a violation, he can ask the court to throw out any evidence that was gathered during an illegal search. This could significantly weaken the prosecution’s case and help you beat the charges.
If you have been charged with a drug crime, let a Roanoke drug crimes lawyer review your case to determine the most effective way to defend you against the charges.
Should You Accept A Plea Deal in A Drug Crime Case?
Criminal defense attorneys are often able to negotiate plea deals on behalf of their clients. In fact, the majority of all criminal cases are resolved through plea deals. In this arrangement, the defendant agrees to plead guilty in exchange for reduced charges or lighter penalties.
Agreeing to a plea deal helps the defendant quickly reach a resolution to his criminal case and avoid the stress of a trial. But, it also means the defendant will have a conviction on his record.
If the prosecution’s case is strong, accepting a plea deal may be the best possible option available. If their case is weak, however, going to trial may be the better option. Discuss your options with your attorney to determine what is right for you.
Drug Crime Lawyers Fighting For Your Freedom
If you or a loved one has been accused of committing a drug crime—or if you are simply under investigation—don’t hesitate to seek legal representation from a Roanoke drug crime attorney.
There are no guarantees in criminal cases, but hiring an experienced attorney is your best chance at avoiding many of the legal penalties that come along with a drug crime conviction.