Drug offenses are one of the many criminal charges that Virginia courts take very seriously. Possession, Possession with the intent to distribute, manufacture, sale or distribution of illegal narcotics or marijuana carry harsh penalties and compromise your future. Whether your drug offense amounts to a misdemeanor or felony charge, it is in your best interests that you build the strongest possible defense and present a compelling case to obtain the best possible outcome in court.
Kassabian & Kassabian, P.L.C., criminal defense attorney John Kassabian, has a wide range of experience representing clients who have been charged with drug offenses. He understands that drug cases can be complicated and may come with added stress and emotion, as some of these cases may involve addiction. John handles drug offense cases with compassion and care, always presents a strong defense and will fight for minimum penalties or dismissal.
Common Drug Offenses and Their Penalties
Title 18.2, Chapter 7, Article 1 of the Virginia State Code outlines the laws and penalties regarding drug offenses. One of the most common drug offense is possession of marijuana. While many states have begun reforming and decriminalizing their marijuana laws, Virginia still considers marijuana possession a criminal offense. For first-time marijuana possession, the crime is considered an unclassified misdemeanor that carries a statutory range of punishment of up to 30 days in jail, a fine of up to $500 and depending on the factual circumstances that gave rise to the charge, the possibility of 6 months suspension of your driving privileges. These penalties increase for repeat possession of marijuana offenders or for larger amounts of marijuana possessed. Learn more about the penalties associated with marijuana possession.
Possession of a controlled substance is considered a misdemeanor or felony depending on the type of drug, amount, and whether the criminal charge is a person's first drug offense or not. Penalties for these crimes carry a potential lengthy jail sentence, hefty fines, loss of driving privileges, probation and possible drug education requirements. Manufacturing, selling, distributing, or possessing with intent to sell controlled substances typically carry a statutory minimum term of confinement in prison of 5 years and a fine of no more than $500,000, in addition to probation and suspension of your driver's license.
Your criminal defense attorney at Kassabian & Kassabian, P.L.C., will help you understand your respective charge and the penalties associated with it, making it crucial that you hire an experienced lawyer to build a strong defense.
At Kassabian & Kassabian, P.L.C., we understand that drug possession is not always a cut-and-dry crime. Many offenders have a drug or narcotic addiction and may use illegal methods to fulfill their needs or to self-medicate. We understand and clearly recognize that many people may find that they have become addicted to lawfully prescribed drugs after an unfortunate illness, accident or surgery and have now turned to illegal means to obtain drugs to self-medicate when prescriptions refills run out. We understand that some drug offenders are good people who because of their circumstances may have made a bad choice, especially in the face of addiction or self-medication. Our compassionate, experienced and legally skilled attorneys at Kassabian & Kassabian, P.L.C., strive to protect your interests and will work with you to mitigate your case to receive a fair sentence, if the charges cannot be reduced or dismissed.
Virginia's First Offender Program
First-time drug offenders usually face less criminal penalties due to Virginia's first drug offender program. According to Virginia Code Section 18.2-251, individuals who have not previously been convicted of a drug offense may statutorily qualify to be placed on probation instead of receiving a drug conviction. If you are a first-time drug offender, you may be eligible for first time drug offender treatment program where a finding of guilt is deferred and upon successful completion of a substance abuse assessment, drug educational program, community service hours and drug testing; the charge will be dismissed, and you will not have a drug conviction on your criminal record. You should consult with a skilled defense attorney at Kassabian & Kassabian, P.L.C., to discuss and determine if you are eligible for Virginia's first-time drug offender program and if so, if the program is in your best interest.
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Defending Against a Drug Offense Charge
Drug offenses carry harsh penalties, making it imperative that you understand your charge and how to best defend against it. There are a variety of defenses your attorney may be able to successfully present in your case:
- The police lacked a legal justifiable cause to stop you or your vehicle
- The police did not have probable cause or did not obtain a search warrant prior to searching you or your property
- Evidence was not gathered properly or legally
- You have a valid prescription for the drug in question
- You did not intentionally and knowingly possess or distribute the drug
- The drug was not yours
- Miranda rights violation
- Chain of custody issues
- Independent lab analysis
- Motions to suppress statements and searches
- Motion to Preserve Evidence
- Motion for Discovery
- Notice and Objection pursuant to 19.2-187.1, Davis v. Washington, 126 U.S. 2266 (2006), Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts, 129 S.Ct. 2527, 174 L.Ed. 314 (2009), and Grant v. Commonwealth, 2009 Va.App. LEXIS 390 (2209).
- Right of Confrontation
- Improperly seized evidence
- Improper or unfair interrogation police action
Protect Your Future with Kassabian & Kassabian, PLC
Drug offenses can result in serious consequences, but they do not need to ruin your life. Criminal defense attorney John Kassabian has the knowledge and experience to protect your rights to help you overcome your criminal charge so that you may move forward with your life. As a former prosecutor for both Fairfax County and Prince William County, John has an in-depth understanding and appreciation of how drug offenses are investigated, evaluated, charged and presented in a court of law. He knows the legal and evidentiary strategies to build a strong and successful case to protect his client's liberty.
John has worked on a wide variety of drug cases in jurisdictions throughout the Northern Virginia area to include possession of marijuana, cocaine, PCP, heroin, and ecstasy, possession with intent to sell, possession or distribution of drugs on school property, possession of drug paraphernalia, drug manufacturing, marijuana cultivation, possession of imitation marijuana, distribution of drugs, prescription fraud, underage possession of alcohol, drunk and public and other drug related crimes. This includes both adult and juvenile drug offenses. John will closely analyze every detail of your case to build a powerful vigorous defense to defend your right and to protect your future.
Choose an attorney who will fight by your side in court to protect your rights and interests. Contact us today to begin building your defense.