Fairfax Marijuana Possession Charges
Marijuana is a unique category when it comes to prosecuting cases as it is actually a Schedule I substance, which under every other circumstance would result in a felony charge for possession. Fortunately, they have created a separate category in relation to marijuana so that it is treated as a misdemeanor as long as the alleged crime is possession. With that said, this charge can still have a number of consequences if you are convicted, therefore it is a good idea to consult with a Fairfax drug lawyer as soon as possible after you are charged to go over your case and determine the strongest way to proceed.
Defending Marijuana Possession In Fairfax
One of the principle things that sets marijuana cases apart from other kinds of cases is the field-testing capabilities which can determine whether the claimed substance is marijuana. At least at the District Court level, field tests are sufficient to sustain a conviction.
In every marijuana possession case we engage the rights of our client under the Virginia statute, and compel a laboratory analysis of the material to determine if it is actually marijuana. That compulsion is only required in marijuana cases. Every other kind of substance seized which is alleged to be illegal automatically results in a lab trip for the actual analysis. That is not required by the law in Fairfax unless the defendant specifically requests it.
Does The Decriminalization in Nearby Jurisdictions Have An Impact on How These Cases are Prosecuted?
Absolutely not, it does not affect it in any way. Prosecutors in Fairfax look with some disdain over their brethren in D.C and Maryland. They do not understand why such a thing would be done. They do not agree with it. They absolutely do not give any credit or weight to the argument that a person might be coming from a jurisdiction where it is legal.
Long Term Implications of a Possession Charge
Long-term implications are pretty severe depending on what you want to do with your life. If you are like most people and you either have a job or want to get a job, then having a marijuana conviction on your record can certainly be detrimental. This is not to say that a person’s life is over and they may have no chance for future employment if they ultimately sustain a conviction for possession of marijuana.
However, you must understand that such a charge will obviously be viewed unfavorably by potential future employers in Fairfax and throughout Virginia, so anything a person can do to avoid getting a conviction of that nature is a smart choice.
Are Judges and Juries More Lenient Because It’s Marijuana?
Many people are currently of the opinion that marijuana is no big deal, so you might get some sympathy from the jury in that regard. At the end of the day however, if you are on trial in front of a jury for possessing marijuana, that jury will receive instructions from the judge at the conclusion of the trial which will make very clear that they are not to consider the legality of marijuana in other jurisdictions. They will be instructed to apply Virginia law in Virginia cases and are not allowed to consider anything else. While you might get a jury that felt badly for doing their job, you should expect that they will do their job and apply the Virginia law.
251 Dispossession in Marijuana Cases
The first thing you should know is that even though there is a 251 dispossession available to you, which is a first-offender treatment where you can get the charge dismissed, it is not an easy course of action to take. You will suffer some penalties for it including loss of license for a period of time. Many people think, “I will just be able to wipe this off my record and I will not have to worry about it,” but it is usually not quite that simple.
Anybody who tries to get themselves the 251 without a Fairafx drug attorney, and does not worry about a trial, Constitutional issues, or dispossession issues is making a huge mistake. Even though they will walk away from it without a conviction if they do everything they are supposed to do on probation, there will remain a record of the arrest and that will be viewable by anybody who looks at your criminal record in the future.
It is not like you are walking away completely unscathed. There will be a mark on your record showing that you were charged in this regard. It is not something that can be expunged. Therefore, it is always a good idea to at least have a drug lawyer in Fairfax look at your case and see if there are any issues that can result in a win.