Sentencing in Richmond Drug Cases

Virginia law enforcement officials are cracking down on drug offenses, and Richmond is no exception. Below, a Richmond drug lawyer explains certain aspects of how these cases are handled, including some potential aggravating or mitigating factors to your case. To learn more about drug cases in Richmond, call today and schedule a consultation with an experienced Richmond drug lawyer.

How Drug Sentencing is Handled in Richmond

Generally, drug offense cases can vary greatly in the City of Richmond. If it’s a first offense, an attorney can work toward treatment and community service over jail, especially if they can show that it’s an abuse issue and or that the defendant is taking active steps toward addressing it.

If it’s a subsequent offense or if it’s an offense with aggravating factors whether be associated with weapons or near a school, then the Richmond courts will move to impose active incarceration.

Common Aggravating or Mitigating Factors

The most common aggravating factors involving drug cases are if there are firearms involved, a large amount of cash, or if you were found in possession or have alleged to sell near a school or to minors.  Another aggravating factor is if there prior drug related convictions.

Mitigating factors can be if it’s a first offense or if you can show that it’s an abuse issue for which you are receiving treatment rather than a distribution situation. The defense also wants to present evidence of the client’s willingness to do community service and drug counseling to address the issue.

Trends in Drug Offense Sentencing

What is seen in sentencing toward drug offenses is more of a trend toward treatment rather than incarceration especially in first offense cases. If the defense can show that it is clearly an abuse issue and the possession in question was for personal use, the courts are a lot more open toward treatment over active jail sentences.

However, if there are multiple prior offenses or where there are aggravating factors like weapons involve, sale to minors, or near a school, the courts in Richmond will pursue an active incarceration sentence.

Where Richmond Drug Offense Cases Are Heard

Richmond drug cases are typically heard in the Richmond Criminal Court at Hull Street or if the drug offense case is associated with the traffic stop, then it will be heard in the John Marshall Courts Building.

Most drug offense cases, in particular possession case or possession with intent cases are bench trials. However, in some of the bigger cases, the volume dealer cases, those typically result in jury trials.

Typical Length of Richmond Drug Offense Case

A Richmond drug offense case if it’s a misdemeanor typically takes within 60 to 90 days. If it’s a felony case, it can usually average about 6 months.