The general attitude towards the possession of a small amount of marijuana has definitely changed over the past decade. So much so, in fact, that Virginia made recreational marijuana possession legal in 2021. However, selling marijuana is illegal in Virginia, and police, prosecutors and judges are out to make an example of those who do. At Robinson Law, we have a team of aggressive Virginia criminal defense lawyers with decades of hands-on experience defending clients charged with all types of drug crimes. We have the legal knowledge and litigation skills to get you the “not guilty” you’re looking for.Can My Virginia Criminal Lawyer Have My Possession of Marijuana Charge Dismissed?
Virginia offers a “dismissal” option for first-time possession convictions, known as a 251 Disposition. However, the requirements for the 251 program are strict, lengthy and must be completed in order to have the charge dismissed. Once you enter the program, you must abide by all the requirements, or you will be found guilty and sentenced accordingly.
The 251 option, though a great choice for some, may not be the best choice for others. If you accept a 251 Disposition, you will not qualify for an expungement. Some employers recognize the 251 disposition as a regular conviction because the offender must plead guilty before being approved for the program. This is why contacting a Virginia criminal attorney about your specific drug case is so important.
In order to be eligible for a 251 disposition, you must meet each of the following requirements:
- Enter a guilty plea;
- Successfully complete probation;
- Pay all court costs;
- Loss of license for six months;
- 24 hours of documented community service;
- Random drug screenings (no drugs or alcohol while on probation);
- Completion of the 10-week Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program classes (VASAP); and
- $350 VASAP enrollment fee.
Those with questions about 251 dispositions should reach out to a Fairfax criminal defense attorney at Robinson Law for additional assistance.
Virginia Criminal Lawyer Explains Distribution of Marijuana
The most common distribution-related charge is known as “possession with intent to distribute” or PWID. This is essentially the Virginia drug dealing statute. However, you don’t actually need to sell drugs to be found guilty of possession with intent to deliver.
The Virginia justice system considers numerous factors when determining whether someone intended to distribute marijuana. Some of these factors include:
- The quantity of the marijuana possessed;
- Drug-dealing paraphernalia, scales, empty packaging, ledger notebooks documenting transactions;
- Large amounts of cash, especially small bills;
- Expert testimony, and
- How the marijuana was packaged.
Of course, every situation is different, which is why you need the advice of a Fairfax criminal defense attorney to help you fight your distribution charges.Penalties for Virginia Marijuana Offenses in Virginia
Virginia Code § 18.2-248.1 makes selling, distributing, or gifting of marijuana illegal. Distributing marijuana may be either a misdemeanor offense or a felony offense. Below is a list of the possible punishments. The penalty you face after a conviction depends on the amount of marijuana you possessed.
Distributing ½ an ounce or less of marijuana is a Class 1 misdemeanor. The punishment for a Class 1 misdemeanor conviction carries:
- A maximum of 12 months in jail; and
- A fine of up to $2,500.
Distributing more than ½ an ounce (but less than 5 lbs.) of marijuana is a Class 5 felony, which is punishable by:
- A maximum of 10 years in jail; and
- A fine of up to $2,500.
Distributing 5 lbs. of Marijuana or more is a felony offense, which is punishable by:
- A term of imprisonment between five and 30 years; and
- A fine of up to $2,500
Transporting 5 lbs. of Marijuana or more into Virginia, commonly referred to as drug trafficking, is also a felony and carries a mandatory minimum sentence of three years in jail, with a maximum of up to 30 years in jail. However, if this is your second offense, you will face a 10-year mandatory minimum jail sentence, up to a maximum of 40 years in jail.
Keep in mind that the “amount” of drugs you possessed is not always easily determined. Sometimes, police will attribute drugs to someone they arrested that didn’t belong to them; however, they were the most convenient person to pin the drugs on. This reaffirms the fact that anyone facing Virginia PWID charges needs an experienced drug crimes lawyer to represent them and fight for their freedom every step of the way.Get Helping Fighting Your Marijuana Distribution Charges for an Experienced Virginia Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you face possession with intent to distribute marijuana, it’s not “just a marijuana case.” If convicted, you could be sent to prison for years. Don’t take any chances when selecting a Virginia drug crimes defense lawyer, and reach out to Robinson Law as soon as possible. At Robinson, we have decades of experience helping clients beat some of the toughest drug cases. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation, call (888) 259-9787. You can also connect with us through our online form.