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Marijuana Possession and Distribution in Fairfax County

Marijuana Distribution Defense Lawyer in Fairfax County and Prince William County

Virginia Law on Simple Possession of Marijuana

The laws related to simple possession of marijuana dramatically changed in Virginia. Before 2020, it was punishable by possible jail time, fines, and suspension of driver's license for six months.  Under Virginia Code §4.1-1100, it is now legal for those 21 years and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana for personal use.  The person may possess it on his person or in any public place. 

If an individual has more than one ounce of marijuana on their person or in a public place, it is punishable by a civil penalty of up to $25.00.  A violation of this is pre-payable and the person does not need to appear in court.

If a person has more than four ounces but not more than a pound of marijuana on their person or in a public place, it is punishable by a Class 3 misdemeanor.  This is a non-jailable criminal offense and the court may impose only a fine of up to $500.00.  A second or subsequent offense is a Class 2 misdemeanor.  This is punishable by jail time of up to six months and/or a fine of up to $1,000.00.

Finally, if a person has more than one pound of marijuana it is punishable as an unclassified felony.  The term of imprisonment is one year to ten years.  The court may also impose a fine of up to $250,000.00.

Convictions for drug offenses in Virginia no longer result in a mandatory six-month loss of license.  This law, Virginia Code §18.2-259.1, was repealed in 2020.

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Virginia Possession With Intent to Distribute Penalties

Persons charged with having up to an ounce of marijuana may still be charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana under Virginia Code §18.2-248.1. However, it is much harder now for the state to prove intent to distribute under the new law. There is a "rebuttable presumption" that possession of up to one ounce is for personal use.    It is a Class One Misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500.00.  The driver's license of the person may be suspended for six months if convicted.

The state may overcome the presumption of personal use by evidence that the person who possessed the marijuana had the intent to distribute to others.   The presence of scales, baggies or a large amount of money consistent with distribution may be enough to prove the intent to distribute.  In addition, statements or admissions by the accused may be introduced as evidence of intent to distribute.  Finally, witness testimony, video or photographic proof of marijuana distribution by the defendant may be introduced as evidence at trial. 

Virginia Code §18.2-248.1 specifies that possession with intent to distribute more than one 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. 

Virginia Code §18.2-248.1 further states that possession with intent to distribute more than five pounds of marijuana is a felony punishable by imprisonment of not less than five years.  The maximum prison sentence that may be imposed is thirty years. 

Manufacturing Marijuana or Possession with Intent to Manufacture Marijuana is a felony punishable by five years to 30 years in prison, and a fine up to $10,000.00.  A defense of personal use exists for this particular section of the Code. 

A third or subsequent conviction under Virginia Code §18.2-248.1 is punishable by a mandatory, minimum sentence of five years in prison or up to life in prison, and a fine up to $500,000.

There is a defense of accomodation available to someone charged with felony distribution in Virginia.  The statute states that it is a Class 1 misdemeanor to provide the marijuana to another for no compensation.  There must be no intent to profit by the transaction.   This is applicable when the defendant did not receive any money or compensation for the exchange.  It is also required that the defendant did not intend to induce someone to use, become addicted, or dependent on the drug.  It is considered a Class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by up to twelve months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500.00.

Contact a Fairfax Criminal Defense Attorney Today

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.  The laws and defenses are evolving in this state every year.  Attorney Yeargan has experience handling drug cases in both state and federal courts. He will discuss with you what steps may be taken before court to improve the likelihood of a positive outcome (community service/substance abuse evaluation and treatment).

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. He has experience throughout the state, including Fairfax County (including the Town of Vienna, Town of Herndon, Falls Church, and Fairfax City), Prince William County (Manassas, Occoquan, Quantico, Dumfries, Woodbridge), Stafford County, the City of Fredericksburg, Warren County, Shenandoah County, and the Northern Neck of Virginia.  Call or send an online message to discuss your legal options with Attorney Yeargan today.

Areas Served by the Law Firm

The law office serves clients throughout Virginia including those in the following localities: Fairfax City; Fairfax County including Annandale, Burke, Centreville, Herndon, and Vienna; the City of Alexandria; Arlington County including Arlington; the City of Falls Church; Augusta County, including Staunton; Fauquier County including Warrenton; Frederick County including Winchester; the City of Fredericksburg; Loudoun County including Ashburn and Leesburg; Clarke County, including Berryville; Culpeper County; Fluvanna County, including Palmyra; Prince William County including Occoquan, Triangle, Quantico, Woodbridge, Dumfries, Haymarket, and Manassas; Spotsylvania County including Lake Wilderness and Spotsylvania Courthouse; Stafford County including Stafford, Aquia Harbour, and Falmouth; Warren County including Front Royal; Shenandoah County, including Woodstock; Rappahannock County, including Washington; Madison County; Greene County, including Stanardsville; Fluvanna County, including Palmyra; Caroline County, including Bowling Green; Hanover County; King and Queen County; New Kent County; King William County; City of Hopewell; Prince George County; York County, including Yorktown; Chesterfield County; Henrico County; Westmoreland County, including Montross; King George County; Greensville County, including Emporia; Prince George's County; Dinwiddie County; and Sussex County.