Fredericksburg Drug Lawyer
Drug charges can be intimidating because they can lead to long prison sentences, can carry significant court fines, and, upon a conviction, a person can lose constitutional rights. Further, drug charges can damage a person’s personal and professional life due to the social stigma involved with being branded as an addict or a dealer.
Due to these consequences, it is important for a person to contact a Fredericksburg drug lawyer right away. A defense attorney in Fredericksburg can use their experience to prepare a robust defense in order to minimize the penalties the defendant is facing as much as possible.
Types of Offenses
Some of the most common drug crimes that warrant contact with a Fredericksburg drug attorney are simple possession of marijuana, simple of possession of schedule one and schedule two substances, and possession with intent to distribute marijuana.
Marijuana has become more accepted across the nation and has been decriminalized in Washington DC, but being so close to a territory where marijuana is legal leads to mistaken beliefs about the substance in Virginia. Often, people mistakenly believe that the consequences are nominal if arrested for charges related to marijuana, however, that is not the case.
Fredericksburg officers use their training and experience to find marijuana and to recognize patterns that suggest that drug-related activities exist. They use that information to obtain search and arrest warrants, which they hope will lead to bigger arrests and bigger drug busts.
Drugs are classified under Virginia Code §54.1-3446 to §54.1-3456. In general, the more serious drugs have the lowest schedule classifications. For example, possession of schedule one and schedule two drugs, such as cocaine and heroin, is a felony case, while possession of a schedule six drug is a misdemeanor.
Law enforcement officers in Fredericksburg are trying to crack down on possession, distribution, and manufacturing of all scheduled drugs. This includes codeine, methamphetamine, heroin, and/or prescription drugs, especially those without a valid prescription.
Police officers are taught to notice and recognize potential narcotic situations and, with experience, they become better at tracking them. They use informants, which they usually develop after that person’s arrest. The police encourage individuals to give more information on other offenders in the area, promising leniency in court.
There has to be probable cause to search and seize individuals, though, due to the Fourth Amendment, which protects the citizens of the United States from illegal searches and seizures. Whether or not that exists is an issue that is involved in every drug case and often requires the attention of a drug attorney in Fredericksburg.
The impact a drug possession charge is different between Schedules I and II. Anyone convicted of possession of a Schedule I or Schedule II drug is a convicted felon, meaning a person is going to lose some of his or her civil rights which include the right to vote and the right to possess firearms.
With certain drug possession charges, a person is going to lose his or her right to drive. A lot of people do not know that but an individual’s driving privileges are attached to drug possession. So, one who is convicted of possessing some form of substance by statute will lose their driver’s license and their driver’s license is either going to be suspended or removed altogether. And that is not something that comes with all felonies; that is just particular to substance and drug possession.
There is also possible jail time. If a person is in jail, he or she could lose their job and any to ever obtain a security clearance. In addition, if the person charged wants to go to college or find public housing, that will be more difficult.
An individual is also going to permanently be on police radar. Once the person is convicted of any kind of drug offense—whether it is a simple possession, a distribution, or whatever the case may be, the person is now in a “system.” So, when an individual comes across police officers in the future, that is going to affect his or her differently than it would affect others. An individual will not be given the benefit of the doubt that most people are given.
Once an individual is on the police radar, now he or she also has that social stigma that comes with it. And depending on what the person is ultimately convicted of, whether it is simple possession, the person has the stigma of being considered someone who has a drug problem, a junkie, or somebody who needs help. Or the individual could be considered a drug dealer who was poisoning the community.
How an Attorney Can Help
As soon as a person finds out that they are being investigated for a drug crime, they should contact and hire a Fredericksburg drug lawyer. If they are not aware of an investigation before an arrest, they should contact an attorney as soon as possible after the arrest.
An attorney can assist a person in pre-trial matters, including handling bonds and filing any motions that need to be filed. They will represent a person during their trial and, if necessary, they can argue the sentencing. The sooner that a lawyer is hired, the better a person’s defense will be.
Drug crimes are very serious in Virginia, which is all the more reason to contact a drug lawyer in Fredericksburg. The Fredericksburg police department devotes focus and mission teams to stopping the sale, manufacture, or possession of drugs. Consequently, an attorney is necessary to navigate, investigate, and defend the nuances and constitutional elements that are present in every case.