Chesterfield County Drug Attorney
Drug possession is a very serious charge in Chesterfield, Virginia. It carries the possibility of a jail sentence and long term incarceration. It also comes with high fines and a license suspension that can last anywhere from six months to a year. There are many factors that affect the seriousness of this crime, including the type of drug that is found, the amount of drugs found, and the circumstances under which the drug was found. This can include whether they were found with a firearm, near a minor, or in a school area. To discuss the ways you might be able to mitigate the consequences of a drug charge, speak with an experienced Chesterfield County drug lawyer as soon as you get a chance.
Priority of Drug Charges for Chesterfield County Law Enforcement
Drug possession is a very high priority for Chesterfield law enforcement. Law enforcement officers in Chesterfield are always on the lookout for drug possession and distribution charges. In particular, they are looking for some of the harder drugs in the area like heroine and crystal meth. They are very vigorous in the pursuit of these sorts of charges and in the prosecution of those types of possession cases.
Biggest Mistakes to Avoid in Drug Cases
The biggest mistake to avoid in drug possession cases is when an individual attempts to handle these matters on their own without an attorney. In many cases, an individual believes that if it is a first offense, they will not receive a significant punishment and can be surprised by the reactions of the court.
In addition to that, one of the other big mistakes individuals make is making statements to the officers without first consulting with an attorney. A person needs to understand what they are being charged with and what the possible punishments are before speaking with the police. An attorney can often negotiate with investigators to get the charge either reduced or dismissed.
Alternative Sentencing or Diversion Programs
When charged with drug possession for the first time, there are typically a number of alternative or diversionary sentencing options. Chesterfield offers a first offender program for most drug possession charges, including marijuana. This typically requires drug counseling, drug testing, community service, and a license suspension. Chesterfield County also has a drug court, which offers very intensive counseling and treatment in exchange for the possible dismissal or reduction of a drug possession charge.
Potential Constitutional Issues in Chesterfield County
Typically in Chesterfield possession cases, the most common constitutional issues we see involve the Fourth Amendment. Fourth Amendment issues involve search and seizure and also probable cause. An officer needs to have probable cause to search you or your property. This usually comes up after a vehicle stop when an officer seeks to search your vehicle.
A lawyer might challenge whether the probable cause existed, whether the search that was conducted thereafter was legal, and if the items retrieved from that search were also legally obtained.
Contact a Chesterfield County Drug Lawyer Today
It is very important to contact a Chesterfield County drug lawyer because drug charges can have a significant impact on your life both personally and professionally. They can result in a long-term jail sentence, a fine, and a long-term license suspension. For example, if someone were to be found with a large amount of drugs on or near them, there is the possibility they will face an elevated possession with intent to distribute charge. Such a charge can irreparably damage someone’s criminal record because it is a felony and will likely result in jail time.
Additionally, a drug attorney in Chesterfield County can challenge the case and challenge the evidence being presented against you, but an experienced attorney will also have the knowledge of what options are available regarding alternative sentencing. In order to possibly avoid a jail sentence or a long-term punishment, it is always best to hire an experienced attorney who can keep you informed about your case’s process and what to expect as it progresses.
Building a defense on a drug possession charge can be very difficult, but lawyers should look for whether or not the officer had probable cause for the search of the vehicle, property or person, and then whether or not the seizure of drugs was legal.
How an Attorney Builds a Defense
Lawyers should also look for chain and custody issues. The officers have to take the drugs, seal the drugs, and then present them to the Division of Forensic Science for testing. One of the things a lawyer can do is to see if the chain of custody was maintained. In other words, is a Chesterfield County drug attorney able to track the entire life of the evidence that will be presented in a criminal case.
Lastly, a drug lawyer in Chesterfield County will look for alternative sentencing options that may exist. If it a first offense, the person might qualify for drug court, or some other option that might get the charge reduced or dismissed. Those are some ways we build the defense.
Lawyers also look for how the search occurred and how the drugs were obtained by law enforcement. This routinely comes down to constitutional issues about the search and the stop, which statements are provided to the officers and how they obtained the drugs in question.