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Drug possession convictions can lead to serious penalties

All across the state of Virginia, many people have been arrested for possession of an illegal substance. Both Federal and state laws make it illegal to willfully possess a variety of substances including marijuana, cocaine, LSD, methamphetamine and heroin. Drug manufacturing and distribution can carry strict penalties, and the consequences of drug possession are no laughing matter either.

The severity of a drug possession charge is dependent upon the type of drug, the alleged quantity involved, and the location of the alleged offense. For example, a Virginia resident caught with a small quantity of marijuana may be charged with simple possession. However, someone caught with large amounts of an illegal substance like cocaine may be charged with possession with intent to distribute. This is a much more serious charge and will likely involve the potential for stricter penalties.

To obtain a conviction for drug possession, prosecutors must prove that the defendant knew that the drug in their possession was a controlled substance. They must also show that he or she knowingly possessed the drug. Possession does not necessarily mean that the defendant has the substances on their person. Having access to or control over an illegal drug may be enough to show possession.

This area of the law can be complicated and difficult to understand. Yet, with the right defense strategy, many Virginia residents who have confronted drug charges have received reduced penalties or had their charges dismissed. Though there is no guarantee that such a result can be reached, those concerned about their future can speak with an experienced attorney to learn how to start crafting a criminal defense that is right for them.

Source: FindLaw, "Drug Possession Overview," accessed on Feb. 17, 2015

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