& Criminal Defense
Under Virginia law, drug crimes are aggressively prosecuted, and people convicted of such offenses often face severe penalties. Numerous activities can lead to drug-related arrests, including possessing illicit substances, manufacturing drugs, and distributing controlled substances. People faced with drug charges often fear that the evidence against them will inevitably lead to a guilty verdict, but there are often numerous defenses they can assert. If you are charged with a drug offense, it is vital to seek the advice of an attorney as soon as possible. The skilled Fairfax criminal defense lawyers of Crowley Peritz Law possess the experience and resources needed to help you seek the best legal outcome available, and if you engage our services, we will advocate aggressively on your behalf. Our office is located in Fairfax and we are Virginia drug crimes lawyers who routinely defend people charged throughout Northern Virginia.
Under Virginia law, controlled substances are categorized into five different schedules based on numerous factors, including the likelihood they will be abused, their impact on public health, and other criteria. Schedule I drugs are those that are more likely to be abused and have no medical use, including heroin and LSD, while Schedule V drugs, like cough medicine, have a valid medical use and low potential for abuse.
Drug offenses can be charged as misdemeanors or felonies depending on the nature of the defendant’s alleged actions and the kind and quantity of the drug involved. The three most common types of drug crimes in Virginia are possession, distribution, and manufacturing.
For instance, Virginia law prohibits individuals from knowingly or intentionally possessing controlled substances unless permitted by law. Those arrested for possession of a Schedule V drug may face Class 3 misdemeanor charges, which carries the penalty of a fine of up to $500. People charged with possession of Schedule I or II narcotics such as cocaine or methamphetamine, however, typically face felony charges. The penalties for these convictions can be severe, ranging from potential imprisonment for up to ten years and fines of up to $2,500.
Manufacturing, distributing, or possessing with the intent to distribute controlled substances without legal permission is also prohibited in Virginia. Similar to possession offenses, a person convicted of distributing, manufacturing, or possessing with the intent to distribute Schedule I or II narcotics may face substantial penalties. These penalties can include imprisonment and fines and largely depend on the type and quantity of the drug involved. For example, the sale of larger amounts can result in sentences of up to life in prison and fines of up to $1,000,000.
Defenses to drug charges can vary based on the specific circumstances of each case. Certain defenses are more commonly available than others, however. For instance, law enforcement typically requires a valid search warrant to conduct a search, except in exigent circumstances. If a search that leads to drug charges was conducted without a warrant or went beyond the scope of an existing warrant, the defendant may argue that the search violated their Fourth Amendment protections from unreasonable search and seizure, potentially making any evidence found during the search inadmissible.
Moreover, many drug offenses in Virginia require the prosecution to prove that the defendant acted knowingly or with intent. If the prosecution cannot establish the defendant’s state of mind at the time of the alleged acts, it may result in a not-guilty verdict. Consult with a Virginia lawyer familiar with drugs crimes to best assess what defenses you may have.
A conviction for a drug crime can have lifelong consequences, but the prosecution must offer substantial evidence in order to obtain a conviction, and it is often unable to meet its burden of proof. If you are accused of a drug offense, it is advisable to consult with an Virginia drug crimes lawyer to assess your options. The experienced Fairfax criminal defense lawyers of Crowley Peritz Law are proficient at helping people accused of drug crimes seek favorable results, and if we represent you, we zealously pursue the best legal outcome available under the facts of your case. Our office is located in Fairfax, and we routinely defend people charged with drug crimes in cities throughout Northern Virginia and Fairfax, Frederick, Loudoun, Prince William, and Stafford Counties, including McLean, Arlington, Fairfax, Annandale, Centreville, Reston, Burke, Herndon, Vienna, Alexandria, Falls Church, Stephens City, Ashburn, Dulles, Leesburg, Manassas, Dale City, Lake Ridge, Linton Hall, Woodbridge, Stafford, and Winchester. You can reach us to set up a confidential conference by using our online form or calling us at (703) 337-3773.
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