Virginia residents should be aware of the serious consequences that may await them if they are charged and subsequently convicted of a crime. Not only can these circumstances hurt an individual's reputation, but those accused could land in jail for several years and cost them thousands in fines, depending on the crime. One Virginia man may be facing such penalties now after multiple drug charges have been filed against him.
According to reports, an officer was investigating a suspicious vehicle located in a field near a hotel. As the officer investigated the vehicle and driver, he allegedly discovered drug paraphernalia and weapons. The suspect was then arrested and a further search of the vehicle allegedly led officers to drug paraphernalia, heroin, a machete and a Bowie knife.
The driver was found to have a previous criminal conviction in Virginia. In this instance, he was charged with felony unlawful possession of weapons by a felon and unlawful possession of a controlled substance. Misdemeanor charges of possession of drug paraphernalia, cannabis and hypodermic syringes were combined.
The driver is currently being held at a local jail and bond is set at $50,000. His preliminary hearing will be later this month.
The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right of lawful search and seizure prior to an arrest. If drugs are in "plain view" after a legal traffic stop, then they may be admissible as evidence. However, if the drugs are hidden in a trunk or in another compartment of the vehicle, and the officer did not have consent to search, the drugs found may not be admissible.
Courts consider a violation of Fourth Amendment rights to be harmful to the pursuit of justice; if a violation occurs, evidence may be withheld at trial. In some cases, the evidence obtained during a violation will make up the crux of the prosecutor's story, meaning the charges may end up being dropped. Each situation is, of course, different. Therefore, it is vital those who face drug charges speak with a qualified legal professional to determine what type of defense will work best for him or her.
Source: The Intelligencer, "Man faces drug, weapons charges," Matt Winte, March 12, 2014