Speak with a proven Arlington County Drug Possession Attorney
At the Flynn Law Firm, we recognize how serious drug possession crimes are, and how they can affect you and your livelihood. Virginia’s drug policy can be downright harsh at times. Schedule I/II drugs (Cocaine, Heroin, PCP, MDMA) are undoubtedly serious drugs that present serious health risks to their users (and society). Nevertheless, Virginia’s indiscriminate one size fits all approach to penalizing Schedule I/II possession is not the solution. Simply stated, in Arlington – and the rest of Virginia – possession of cocaine residue is charged the same (as a felony) as if a few grams were recovered. In practical terms, the recovery of an otherwise empty pipe or syringe will cause the same consequences as the recovery of the drug itself if there is residue in the pipe or syringe.
There is no such thing as a misdemeanor amount of a cocaine, heroin, or any other Schedule I/II drug, even if it is residue. If there is enough for a laboratory to identify, then there is enough for you to be charged with a felony. Schedule I/II Drug convictions can cause problems with employers, education, and many of these charges have serious collateral consequences, such as the loss of a security clearance, loss of your Virginia driving privileges, and positive urine screens can serve as the basis for probation violations. You need a proven Arlington County Schedule I/II Drug Possession Attorney to fight for you.
What is Possession?
Every possession case can present problems for a prosecutor. Mere proximity of a person to some contraband (in this instance, drugs) is not enough to prove possession. The prosecutor needs to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that (1) that the drugs were in your possession, and (2) that you were aware that they were drugs. For example, if an officer pulls someone over, and they locate drugs in a car, that (by itself) would not prove that the person in the car was in possession of the drugs. They would need to prove that the person in the car was also aware that the substance in the car was a drug.
To be clear, these cases are often proven with circumstantial evidence such statements by the person (or people) who were close to the drugs (it’s not mine, it’s his), behavior (nervous, jittery behavior, sweating, stuttering) or personal items located close to the contraband (for example a wallet, ID or credit card located in the same backpack / bag that the contraband was located).
In Virginia, residue is treated in the same manner as the drug itself. Heroin residue is Heroin. In other words, if you are found with what would otherwise be considered an empty syringe, the prosecutors will still send it to the state lab. If it returns back with heroin residue, then the owner of the syringe will be charged with Possession of a Schedule I/II drug in the same manner as if law enforcement had recovered a baggie filled with a few grams of the drug.
Possession of a Schedule I/II Drug
If you are accused of being in possession of a Schedule I/II drug, it is critical that you contact an attorney immediately. The Virginia Code classifies drugs according to their uses, medical benefits and danger of abuse. Substances located under Schedule I are recreational “street” drugs that have no medicinal value. Substances under Schedule II have some medicinal value, but also a high risk for abuse and dependency by a user. Simple possession (meaning possession without any intent to sell or distribute) of these drugs is a Class 5 Felony.
First Offender a/k/a Virginia’s .251 Program
Virginia does have a first offender program as it pertains to drug and marijuana possession. For simple possession of illegal narcotics and street drugs, including marijuana, the Virginia legislature passed 18.2-251, the first offender statute. This mechanism, affectionately called a .251 disposition, permits first time offenders (if they qualify) to avoid the conviction and having the case being dismissed from their criminal record. This disposition involves supervised probation, general good behavior, intensive substance abuse treatment, community service, and any other service or program the Court feels appropriate. Completing these programs are hard work, but the benefit to the recipient is that they emerge with a clean criminal record. This disposition takes between 1-2 years, and once completed, the charge will show as “dismissed” by the Court.
If you or someone you care about has been charged in Virginia for Possession of a Schedule I/II Drug, contact the Flynn Law Firm for a free consultation. We are an African American law firm with 8 years of experience with drug possession cases in Arlington. These charges are serious, you deserve to be represented by an attorney that you trust and that will fight for you to the very end. Give us a call today for a free consultation.