Leesburg Drug Possession Lawyer
Drug possession is a very serious criminal charge in Leesburg, Virginia as well as rest of Loudoun County and the Commonwealth of Virginia. Many factors may impact how a drug possession case is handled and how severely it is looked upon. The most common factors that will lead to a more serious drug possession case are the type and the quantity of the drug. Virginia, like the federal system, follows a scheduling system to classify different types of drugs. Schedule 1 and 2 controlled substances, which typically include drugs of abuse such as cocaine and heroin as well as serious prescription drugs that have a high tendency for abuse such as benzodiazepines and methamphetamine groups, are all Class 5 felony offenses, even for simple possession. This means that simple possession of cocaine or simple possession of Adderall without a prescription, for example, may include 1 to 10 years in prison or up to 12 months in jail and/or a $2,500 fine. These are the penalties for any Class 5 felony.
Other drug possession charges may be misdemeanors. Simple possession of marijuana is always charged as a misdemeanor. Simple possession of a Schedule 3, 4, 5, or 6 controlled substance can be a misdemeanor as well, although for those scheduled substances the type of the misdemeanor will depend on the schedule and how far you are on the schedule. The scheduling system can be complex, and a Leesburg drug possession lawyer can help you with the intricacies. To begin building a defense contact a drug attorney in Leesburg today.
Enforcement of Possession Charges
Drugs are always a point of emphasis for law enforcement officials, whether it be Leesburg or anywhere else in the Commonwealth of Virginia. This emphasis often applies to matters involving young people, matters involving serious violence or gang activity, and matters involving traffic accidents or drivers who are impaired.
Law enforcement officers receive training on drug detection, and they put it to work on a daily basis. There are no drug enforcement “priorities” or things of that nature in Leesburg, but certain drugs are more actively sought than others. Typically hard party drugs such as cocaine, ecstasy and heroin are known to be pursued aggressively and enforced with a heavy hand.
In particular for Loudoun County, as well as this region, heroin abuse, heroin overdose and heroin addiction are a tremendous problem for local young people. As a result, law enforcement in Leesburg pursue heroin cases very aggressively and conduct thorough investigations whenever heroin turns up, either through possession, overdose or distribution.
Diversion and Alternative Sentencing
Drug possession in Virginia is one of the few crimes for which statutory diversion programs are available. If you are charged with violating Virginia Code Section 18.2 – 250 or 18.2 – 250.1, there are some diversion programs available, which a Leesburg drug possession lawyer may be able to advocate for.
This is also known as 251 Disposition. The deferred findings have different exact terms depending on the type of drugs and the circumstances of your case. The same general terms exist for all deferred dispositions. The general terms of a period of community service, substance abuse evaluation, treatment if necessary, payment of court costs, a period of time when you should violate no laws and a 6 month loss of your driving privileges are part of any deferred finding.
If you do all these things and complete this program successfully, you should expect that your charge will be dismissed. If you fail to complete everything, you would be found guilty of the charge for which you had previously entered a plea and sentenced accordingly. The 251 disposition treats young people and older people alike. It is a great opportunity to avoid a conviction in a case where you are caught in possession of drugs for the first time.
Constitutional Issues in Possession Cases
The most common constitutional issues that tend to arise in drug possession cases in Leesburg are issues with the violation of someone’s Fourth Amendment rights. The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution grants you to right to be free of unreasonable search and seizure. Unreasonable search and seizure arises in a variety of different scenarios in drug possession cases.
For example if your case results from a traffic stop, issues may arise as to whether, first, the officer had reasonable suspicion to stop your vehicle and, second, whether the officer lawfully searched your vehicle.
In addition if you are walking on the streets and stopped by an officer and searched, there may be other constitutional issues that implicate the Fourth Amendment. Search warrant cases are another example of when the Fourth Amendment may be implicated.
Importance of Contacting An Attorney
An experienced Leesburg drug possession lawyer can help with your case in a variety of ways. First, they can help examine the facts of the case and determine where legal defenses may lie. For example, in drug possession cases there may be constitutional issues regarding the search and seizure that led to the discovery of the drugs. If you do not handle these cases properly in the early stages, you may risk waiving some of those challenges and also risk not preserving essential evidence.
In addition an experienced drug possession lawyer in Leesburg can help you understand what may help mitigate your exposure in these cases. Doing proactive things such as community service, taking substance abuse counseling and treatment, and going into rehab maybe helpful in certain circumstances. If you wait until the last minute to contact an attorney, you may not have enough time to develop key mitigation strategies. These are the reasons why hiring a drug defense attorney as early as possible is important.