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Drug possession may result in serious penalties

No matter what drug charges you face, the potential consequences can be serious and life-altering. Drug penalties in Virginia will depend on the severity of the crime you are convicted of and your criminal record.

Typically, those charged with simple possession have an easier road ahead of them than those who are charged with possession with intent to distribute. The type and quantity of the drugs will also impact the consequences faced. First time offenders will likely face less severe penalties than people with multiple offenses.

If you have been charged with drug possession, you should be aware of what the prosecution needs to prove in order to convict you. For simple possession, the prosecution must establish beyond a reasonable doubt that you knowingly had possession or control over the drug and that you knew it was a controlled substance. For possession with the intent to distribute, the prosecution must present evidence to prove your intent to sell. They may introduce witness testimony, large quantities of drugs or cash and equipment used to sell drugs (i.e. scales, baggies, etc.).

Possession of drug paraphernalia is also illegal under drug possession laws. The prosecution will have to establish the primary use of the paraphernalia in order to prove their case.

If you are convicted of drug possession you may face jail time, fines and license suspension or revocation. These penalties can impact your life and your family's life for years to come. Consulting legal representation to discuss your case may be the best way to protect yourself from some of these consequences.

Source: FindLaw, "Drug Possession Overview," accessed on Sept. 12

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