In Virginia, convictions for Felony Drug Offenses have serious consequences. At Zinicola, Blanch & Overand, we have years of experience dealing with all types of Felony Drug Offenses. Contact us today for a free consultation before making any decision about your case, or read on to learn more:
Felony Drug Possession
A charge for simple possession of drugs can result in a felony conviction, prison time, license suspension, and years of supervision by a probation officer. Unlike neighboring jurisdictions, Virginia considers possession of any schedule I or II substance to be a Felony, and will often prosecute the possession of miniscule amounts of these drugs. Many people are surprised to learn that it is a felony to possess CBD or marijuana oil (if the oil is of a high enough concentration). Other common felony controlled substances include heroin, fentanyl, cocaine, methamphetamines, and molly/ecstasy.
The first offender program for felony drug possession the defendant to complete 100 hours of community service and a drug treatment program to earn a dismissal. But, the first offender program requires an admission of guilt which makes an expungement impossible under Virginia law – that mean that successfully completing the first offender program guarantees you a permanent felony arrest record. The first offender program (or a drug conviction) may also result in the loss of federal student aid, deportation, and other immigration consequences. As a result, the first-offender program is sometimes not a good option. If you are charged with felony drug possession, you need a lawyer to protect you from all of these possible consequences.
An attorney may be able to work out a deal to avoid a drug conviction and maintain your eligibility for expungement of the drug charge. If that’s not possible, we are prepared to take your case to trial. Each drug trial involves at least these three questions:
- Can Police Prove that the Drug Was in Your Possession?Many Possession cases are difficult for the government to prove because the police often find drugs in cars, backpacks, or other containers that are not directly in the possession of a suspect. When drugs are found in a home, or car, or another container where you are located, the police must show more than your presence in that location. It is therefore important that you should not make any statements to the police if they speak to you as a suspect. Ask to speak to a lawyer and call Zinicola, Blanch, Overand & Hart. We know the law and we can protect your rights
- Did the Police Violate the Constitution in Finding the Marijuana?Beyond proving that the drug was in your possession, the police also have to demonstrate that they found it legally. We will investigate whether the police had constitutional authority to stop you, to search you, or to ask you questions. If the police violated the Constitution in stopping you, questioning you, or searching you, then your case may be dismissed. These kinds of violations are not uncommon in drug cases, so be sure to ask your lawyer about these issues before trial or entering a plea.
- Can the Police Prove that What They Found is Marijuana?The prosecutor has to prove that the substance found by the police was actually an illegal drug. It is not sufficient for the officer merely to say that it looks or smells like drugs. The substance must be proven by a chemical analysis in most cases. If the police try to take shortcuts in your drug case, our lawyers will find out.
Distribution or Possession with the Intent to Distribute
Felony Drug Possession with the Intent to Distribute is a more serious offense than simple possession, and is much more likely to result in a prison sentence. This means you need a lawyer with a plan both to defend you against the accusation of drug dealing and also with a strategy to keep you out of jail. Your attorney should be able to explain these strategies in detail during your consultation.
All of the potential defenses in Simple Possession cases apply to Possession with the Intent to Distribute cases. This means that the police must prove that you possessed the drugs in question, that the police found them legally, and that the substance in question is in fact an illegal drug. In addition, the prosecution must also prove the intent to distribute. In many cases, this element is inferred from the amount of drugs found by the police or because the police found a scale or some cash. You need a knowledgeable and experienced defense attorney who knows the law, who protect you from wrongful conviction, and who can greatly reduce or eliminate a jail sentence.
Contact us today for a free consultation.