Severity of a Richmond Drug Possession Charge

Law enforcement officers, along with prosecutors and judges, take drug possession charges very seriously. Before proceeding with a case, talk with a local lawyer to assess the severity of a Richmond drug possession charge facing you in particular. An experienced lawyer will be able to work with you to build a defense and mitigate the damages.

Factors That Impact Seriousness

There are numerous factors that can impact the seriousness of a possession charge. The first is going to be the schedule or type of drug. Having marijuana or possessing marijuana is not going to be taken as seriously or have as big an impact on a particular case as would heroin. Also, the amount of the drugs, even when it comes to possession of marijuana, which normally is going to be a Class 1 misdemeanor, can be elevated to a felony offense if a person possesses more than half an ounce but less than five pounds.

More than five pounds becomes possession with intent to distribute. Having large amounts of a drug would not only affect the way in which a case is charged under the code, but also make the accused a primary target from the perspective of Commonwealth Attorney’s Office and the Richmond Police Department.

The presence of a variety of substances alongside one another has an impact as well. Possession, possession with intent to distribute, even a substance like marijuana as opposed to cocaine, heroin, Adderall, Percocet, or Xanax, will lead to very serious charges. In addition, possessing weapons along with the drugs, such as guns, scales, money, and cutting agents will also affect the seriousness of a charge.

Biggest Mistakes To Avoid

There are a number of mistakes to avoid in these kinds of cases. The first is assuming that prescription will save a person from arrest or other negative consequences. While having a valid prescription can be a defense to possessing Schedule I or Schedule II drugs, depending on the drug, it is important to not automatically assume that having a prescription or a pill bottle is going to get one out of the situation. If a person is contacted by the police in any way,  it is best to remain silent until there is an opportunity to speak with a lawyer or be in the presence of a lawyer during questioning.

The second mistake is speaking too much. A lot of people believe that they can talk their way out of an interaction with the police where they may have drugs on them. Silence is the best weapon when attempting to shorten a police action. Continue to walk. Do not speak. The only thing a person needs to ask to the officer is if they have the freedom to leave. If the person does, they should take advantage of it.

The third error people often make is not listening to police officers and not understanding what their rights are. Police officers have been trained in getting people to tell on themselves both in the field, like street interactions, and during custodial interrogations. They are better trained than most people when it comes to these types of interactions. Therefore, the best thing someone can do when they have been apprehended is to make the police interaction as short as possible so that the person may return home or continue on their way.

How an Attorney Can Help

When it comes to minimizing the severity of a Richmond drug possession charge, the best chance of minimizing the impact of the charges and a potential conviction will be to work with an attorney.  A skilled lawyer will be well equipped to guide and advise their clients as to the best course of action each step of the way. This includes knowing when to remain silent, when to speak, and what to say. With the help of an experienced attorney, should you be facing charges, you will be able to navigate the process with as little damage as possible.