In Loudoun County, the most common agencies that are involved in investigating drug cases are the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office and the Virginia State Police. In certain localities, the Town of Leesburg Police Department or the Town of Purcellville Police Department may also be involved in local drug enforcement.
It is rare but federal agencies such as the Drug Enforcement Administration or the even the FBI maybe involved in certain local investigations. Additionally, Dulles Airport is in Loudoun County, therefore drug cases that occur at the airport or on airport property involving the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police (MWAA) happen in Loudoun County and are brought to Loudoun County Courts.
I think that the most common trend in how Loudoun County deals with drug offenses is that they aggressively prosecute drug distribution and possession with intent to distribute when it is a criminal enterprise rather than addiction or abuse.
Many prosecutors and judges alike consider intensive treatment as a viable option for someone that is found in possession of illegal drugs. If the person is willing to enter into treatment and to learn and grow from that experience, then they are often given the benefit of the doubt. However, when the drug offenders are seen as taking advantage of others, especially young people or old people who are addicts, there is a trend for prosecuting drug dealers and drug manufacturers very aggressively.
How the case is handled by a particular judge can vary greatly depending on the judge. For the most part, judges in Loudoun County, just like the judges in the Commonwealth of Virginia, treat drug addiction and substance abuse as very serious offenses.
Likewise, when someone is accused of drug distribution or possession with intent to distribute or manufacturing charges in which they are taking advantage of the addiction of others, the judges take that very seriously as well.
Virginia is constantly strengthening its drug laws, just as they are constantly reevaluating and strengthening and increasing the penalties for a variety of different criminal offenses. Some of the trends that I have noticed throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia are that the penalty for offenses of drug manufacturing, especially methamphetamine manufacturing, has been increased with the explosion of meth labs in the rural areas. Also, there are changes to enable prosecutors and judges to give large amounts of jail time for methamphetamine production depending on the sophistication, the quantity involved and other factors. In addition, drug distribution offenses throughout the Commonwealth are viewed as getting more sophisticated. Thus, the more sophisticated the scheme I believe the more sophisticated the punishment they are being handed down throughout the Commonwealth.
Patrick Woolley Attorney At Law