If a person is charged with a drug offense in Prince William County, they will face a wide variety of charges, ranging from a Class 4 misdemeanor to a serious Class 5 felony for simple possession. These offenses get even more serious if someone is charged with possession with intent to distribute or distribution of a controlled substance. Distribution of a Schedule I or II controlled substance carries five to 20 years in the Department of Corrections. Repeat offenses for distribution or possession with intent to distribute can receive even harsher punishment and offenses such as production of methamphetamine and other types of importation of large quantities of drugs may face special serious penalties, including significant mandatory minimums.
If a person is charged with a drug offense in Prince William County, they should expect to either be placed under arrest or be given a uniform summons. A Virginia uniform summons tells the person when they need to come to court for the drug offense. It looks just like a traffic ticket. There is a variety of circumstances as to when somebody may be given a uniform summons instead of being arrested. The most typical one is if they are charged with simple possession of marijuana.
If, however, someone is charged with a felony offense, misdemeanor drug possession with intent to distribute, or some other type of drug crime, they should expect that they will be arrested, taken to the Prince William County Adult Detention Center, processed, and eventually taken before a magistrate to make an initial bond determination.
The law enforcement officers, mostly the Prince William County Police Department and Virginia State Police are responsible for enforcing the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia and local ordinances. There may be also instances in which federal entities, such as FBI or DEA, get involved in Prince William County for drug offenses, but typically it is going to be the local and state law enforcement agencies.
Their job is to investigate and enforce the laws of the Commonwealth. If they decide that there is probable cause to arrest someone for a possession or distribution of drugs offense in Prince William County, they are going to arrest the person and take them to the Adult Detention Center where they will eventually be taken before magistrate for initial bond determination. There may also be a circumstance in which someone receives a different type of initiation of charges, which is done directly through the court system, especially directly to the circuit court in Prince William County.
What someone in a drug case in Prince William County should expect about their record and their charges will depend on what a person is charged with. If a person is arrested on a drug offense, they should expect that their record initially will show that they were arrested and charged with the certain offense.
A person will have the code section in some sort of abbreviation. It is important to note that with drug charges, some abbreviations that are used by the court system and for recordkeeping are not what occurred. The most common is someone charged with possession with intent to distribute. Their criminal record will not show possession with intent to distribute. It will likely say distribution, because possession with intent to distribute and distribution of drugs are both found under Virginia Code, and the court system and the criminal record system only abbreviate certain language.
Patrick Woolley Attorney At Law