In Virginia, it is unlawful to possess marijuana for personal use. §18.2-250.1 of the Code of Virginia makes it a misdemeanor to possess marijuana in small quantities less than half an ounce. On a first offense, punishment ranges from zero to thirty days in jail and/or a fine of up to $500.00. A second or subsequent conviction is a Class One Misdemeanor, punishable by zero to twelve months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500.00.
Under Virginia Code §18.2-259.1, the court takes the drivers license of those convicted for a period of six months. A defendant convicted of possession of marijuana may petition for a restricted license to drive to work, school, church and medical appointments. As a condition of the restricted license, the court may require that the person be supervised by the Alcohol Safety Action Program.
For first-time misdemeanor offenders, the court may defer all proceedings and continue the case for dismissal. Section §18.2-251 of the Virginia Code allows the court to place the defendant on probation during the deferral period. If the accused remains on good behavior during the deferral period, the court may dismiss the charges. The drivers license of the accused is suspended for six months during the deferral period. Usually, the defendant is ordered to successfully complete twenty-four hours of community service and the Alcohol Safety Action Program as a condition of probation. The court generally allows the accused to have a restricted license to drive for work, school, church or medical appointments.
Virginia Code §18.2-248.1 specifies that possession with intent to distribute more than a one-half ounce to five pounds of marijuana is a Class Five Felony. The Code states the punishment for this level of offense as imprisonment for not less than one year nor more than 10 years, or in the discretion of the jury or the court trying the case without a jury, confinement in jail for not more than 12 months and a fine of not more than $2,500.00, either or both. Under Virginia Code §18.2-259.1, the court takes the drivers license of those convicted for a period of six months.
Virginia Code §18.2-255.2 is a common charge for juveniles that exchange or distribute marijuana to their friends in school. The code section makes it a felony to possess with intent to distribute any amount of marijuana in a school, school bus, or public property within 1,000 feet of a school or other government building. A violation of this provision is punishable by imprisonment for a term of not less than one year nor more than five years and a fine of not more than $100,000.00. However, if the accused proves that the marijuana was distributed as an accommodation, and not for profit, the charge may be reduced to a Class 1 misdemeanor (punishable by zero to twelve months in jail, and/or a fine of up to $2,500.00).
There are many technical defenses to the charge of possession of marijuana and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. Marijuana cases often involve complex search and seizure defenses that only a qualified and experienced attorney can present in court. Contact Attorney Yeargan today for a complete review of your case and evaluation of any defenses that may allow the charge to be reduced or dismissed. The main line for his office is 703-352-9044.