S & R Law Firm
Possession of Marijuana in Fairfax
As marijuana use becomes legal in more and more states across the U.S., it often feels as if marijuana possession is no longer a crime. But even as laws relax in the rest of the country, in the Commonwealth of Virginia marijuana possession remains a serious offense, even in larger cities like Fairfax. If you are found knowingly in possession of marijuana in Fairfax, you could face jail time, costly fines, suspension of your driver’s license, and other penalties. While no one wants to face criminal charges for drug possession, the good news is that by working with a trusted Fairfax possession of marijuana attorney, you can build a strong case and possibly reduce the charges against you. If you need help, get in touch with S&R Law Firm for a free in-person or phone consultation with one of our criminal defense attorneys.Marijuana Possession in Virginia Statistics
While the rest of the country may be moving toward legalization, Virginia has yet to follow suit. Although medical marijuana became legal in the state in 2019, marijuana arrests in Virginia are on the rise and other Virginia drug laws show no signs of loosening up. According to the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice, nearly 29,000 people were arrested for marijuana offenses in the state in 2018, which is nearly three times as many arrests as in 1999. Marijuana arrests make up almost 60 percent of all drug arrests in the state, and many of these happen in Fairfax County.
As laws in other states become more relaxed, marijuana use feels less like a crime to many Fairfax residents, which leads some to be less careful than they should be when it comes to marijuana possession. In addition, marijuana is more available than in previous years, which has likely had an impact on the arrest rate. If you have been arrested for marijuana possession, it is in your best interest to contact a marijuana possession attorney serving Fairfax. When you need legal help, the marijuana lawyers at S&R Law Firm will fight for your rights and help you get the best possible outcome for your case.Marijuana Possession Penalties in Fairfax County
Virginia Code 18.2-250.1 classifies marijuana as a controlled substance, and the knowing possession of a controlled substance is illegal across the state. The one exception to this is if you have a doctor’s order or valid prescription for medical marijuana. In Fairfax County, the possession of any amount of marijuana is considered a criminal misdemeanor, which means it carries especially harsh penalties. The punishment of course depends on the specifics of your situation.
For example, let’s say you were found to knowingly be in possession of a small amount of marijuana but there was no evidence that you intended to distribute it. Typically for a first offense you will be charged with simple possession of marijuana. While this may sound promising, simple possession still carries a penalty of up to a 30-day jail sentence and a $500 fine, and a 6-month driver’s license suspension.
What’s worse, a misdemeanor conviction will remain on your criminal record permanently. A second possession charge in Virginia qualifies as a Class 1 misdemeanor, which carries even stricter penalties including 12 months in jail, a maximum fine of $2500, and the suspension of your driver’s license. Our Fairfax possession of marijuana attorneys see cases like this every day.
If you are charged with possession with intent to deliver, you will likely face a harsher punishment. Under Virginia Code 18.2-248.1, it is illegal to possess any quantity of marijuana with the intent to deliver it. If you possess one-half ounce or less, you will be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor, but if you possess over one-half ounce to five pounds, the charge becomes a Class 5 felony. This can result in one to 10 years in prison and a $2500 fine. If you are found in possession of over five pounds with the intent to distribute, this is considered an unclassified felony, and can result in a five to thirty-year prison sentence. For a third offense possession with intent to distribute, you could face a Class U felony with a minimum of five years in prison up to life in prison and a $500,000 fine.Contact Our Trusted Team
As you can see, marijuana possession in Fairfax County is not to be taken lightly. Whether you want to know how to beat a simple possession charge or simply learn about your rights under marijuana laws in Virginia, getting help from a nearby marijuana lawyer is a strong course of action. S&R Law Firm’s experienced team of marijuana possession lawyers in Fairfax will fight to get you the best possible outcome for your case. Contact us today for a free consultation with a criminal defense attorney at (703) 273-6431.