In a recent drug case in the Commonwealth of Virginia, the higher court affirmed the lower court’s decision to find a husband and wife guilty of distribution and possession of drugs. After the defendants were found guilty, they appealed their verdict, but the court rejected their arguments and affirmed the original verdict.
Facts of the Case
According to the opinion, the two defendants in this case were a married couple who were convicted of conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute a variety of controlled substances. They were also found guilty of distribution and possession with intent to distribute more than 5 grams of methamphetamine, which is a separate violation under Virginia law. One of the defendants, the husband, was convicted by himself of 16 additional counts of distribution and possession with intent to distribute. After the jury issued their guilty verdict, the judge in the case ordered the defendants to forfeit any remaining drugs they possessed and pay a large fine to the court.
The defendants appealed their guilty convictions, hoping to minimize the amount of money they were forced to pay as part of their sentence. One of the defendants’ main arguments was that the trial court should not have been willing to accept evidence of firearms and ammunition that police officers found while searching their home. According to the defendants, this evidence did not have anything to do with the drug crimes themselves, and all it did was bias the jury unnecessarily and unfairly.
The court disagreed with the defendants for a couple of reasons. First, said the court, firearms are “tools of the trade” in drug trafficking. It is very common for individuals who partake in drug trafficking to also use firearms or trade drugs for firearms. The government had a witness take the stand during trial who identified as an expert in investigating drug crimes; this witness confirmed that oftentimes, possession of firearms and trafficking of drugs go hand in hand.
Additionally, the court took into account that the husband himself admitted during trial that he had previously traded drugs for a firearm. By admitting this fact, the husband opened himself up to having the firearm evidence used against him. It was unrealistic, then, for him to both speak openly about having the firearm and to expect that the firearm not be used against him as evidence of drug trafficking.
Disagreeing with this argument as well as the other arguments the defendants put forward, the court denied the defendants’ appeal. Their guilty verdict was affirmed and their sentences stayed in place.
Are You Facing Charges of Drug Possession in Virginia?
If you are facing criminal charges based on drug possession in Virginia, we at Robinson Law, PLLC are here to help. Our criminal lawyers have devoted their careers to becoming experts in Virginia law, and our expertise can help you make sure your rights are well-protected. With 45 years of combined experience, our team is well-positioned to create a unique plan of attack that puts your needs front and center. For your free consultation, call us at (703) 844-3746.