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Defendant Unsuccessfully Appeals Drug Conviction in Probation Violation Case

In a recent case coming out of a Virginia court, the defendant appealed her conviction based on a violation of her suspended sentence. The defendant was under a suspended sentence for several years and had been reporting to drug court throughout the years to prove that she was not using any narcotics or alcohol. After several violations, the defendant argued that at least two of her positive drug tests were the result of a single incident of drug usage, thus that it was unfair for the court to use both tests against her when finding her guilty of the violation. The court considered the defendant’s argument but ultimately affirmed her original guilty conviction.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant in this case was originally convicted of distribution of cocaine in 2009 and sentenced to three years in prison with an additional three years of suspension, conditioned upon good behavior and completion of probation. Several years later, the court determined that the defendant had violated the terms of her suspension, and she was again convicted, this time of forging a public record. The defendant was sentenced to additional time in prison (one year) as well as additional suspension, conditioned upon the completion of probation (ten years).

During this time, the court again discovered that the defendant had violated her probation by overdosing on narcotics. She was re-suspended and ordered to complete drug court. For a while, the defendant successfully provided negative drug screens as a part of her duties to the drug court; however, on June 2, 2020, the defendant overdosed on heroin. Three days later, she tested positive again for cocaine.

The Decision

At trial, the court concluded that the defendant had violated the terms of her suspended sentences. On appeal, one of the defendant’s main arguments was that her positive drug screen on June 5, 2020, was likely the result of residual drugs in her body from the prior overdose on June 2, 2020. Thus, the overdose that the court had used as evidence against her should be reconsidered, based on the fact scientific evidence would almost certainly show that only one drug incident led to the two positive tests that week.

The court considered the defendant’s argument, concluding that it might be correct that the second drug test was indeed connected to the drugs in the defendant’s body from the incident on June 2. However, the court also concluded that even if the two positive tests were the result of only one incident, the fact remained that the defendant violated the conditions of her suspension. It only took one violation for the defendant to be found guilty of this violation, and since the court was certain that at least one violation occurred, the defendant’s argument was ultimately unsuccessful.

Have You Been Charged with Drug Crimes in the Commonwealth of Virginia?

If you have found yourself up against the Commonwealth of Virginia on drug charges, know that you are not alone. At Robinson Law, PLLC, we are committed to considering all of the facts in your case to explore what defenses might be available to you. For a free consultation, you can call us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 888-259-9787.

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