Under the Commonwealth of Virginia, drug possession is a criminal offense with serious consequences. Extreme penalties and a lengthy prison sentence can result even for a first-time conviction of possession or distribution of controlled substances.
If you’ve been charged for possessing and distributing drugs in Virginia, you should take steps to defend yourself. A good criminal defense lawyer may be able to build a case that gets you out of possession and/or distribution charges or at least reduces the penalty.
Possession with Intent to Distribute (PWID)
Persons charged with possession with intent to distribute (PWID) are regarded as drug dealers by the court. This means they are involved in the manufacture, transport, delivery, and selling of drugs. These charges can destroy your educational prospects, ruin your career, and put you in jail if you are convicted.
PWID charges often arise when there is evidence that you are going to sell or distribute controlled substances. Evidence can include anything, such as witness testimony of a distribution job or the way that the substances were packed.
Most defendants are required to post a much higher bail and face extended jail time.
How to Beat a Distribution Charge in Virginia
There are different ways to help defend you against drug possession and distribution charges in Virginia.
Here are some of the most commonly used strategies.
- Applying for Virginia’s First Offender Program
Virginia’s first offender program (also referred to as a “251 program”) aims for rehabilitating instead of punishing first-time drug offenders. You may qualify for this program if you’ve never availed of it before and haven’t been charged with possession or any drug violation in the past.
- Having Your Case Moved to a Drug Court
When planning your defense, consider asking your lawyer to move your case to a drug court in your area. Drug courts are small court dockets specially designed to deal only with drug-related cases. You may request your case be moved to a city- or county-specific drug court in some parts of Virginia. Drug courts are created to provide offenders suffering from drug addiction with legal conditions aimed at recovery rather than punishment. Usually, this means you must appear in court regularly rather than face penalties and jail time. While entering a drug court, a guilty plea can be better in the long run.
- Pleading Guilty
The state attorney might downgrade your charges and recommend a lesser sentence as part of a guilty plea. Plea deals are particularly important in lesser felony cases where the charges can be reduced into misdemeanors through a plea bargain. Plea deals in Virginia are legally binding.
- Getting the Case Dropped
There are rare instances where constitutional mistakes occur, such as arresting you without probable cause. In such cases, you may be able to reason that the court should drop your case entirely.
Contact us if You Need Help Fighting a Distribution Charge
Hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney is your best chance to avoid the many legal penalties that come with possession and distribution charges.
If you or a loved one has been charged with PWID, don’t hesitate to call (757) 656-1000 or email us to schedule a consultation.