Mecklenburg County Drug Lawyer
Drug crimes in Mecklenburg County run the gamut from simple possession misdemeanors to serious felonies. Those accused of drug crimes need to make sure they act to protect their legal rights, or they risk forfeiting those rights.
A Mecklenburg County drug lawyer could help someone charged with offenses involving controlled substances to protect their rights and fight the charges to work toward a positive outcome. Before pleading guilty or accepting a deal, it is always a good idea to consult a criminal defense lawyer who understands drug crimes to learn your options and the ramifications.
Overview of Drug Laws and Penalties
State and federal laws governing the possession, use, distribution, and manufacture of controlled substances seems to grow more complicated by the day. As a general rule, offenses involving possession are considered less serious crimes than those involving distribution and other activities.
However, possession of a large quantity of a substance creates the implication that the person possessing the drugs has the intent to distribute or sell them.
So, possession of a certain quantity will be treated as a much more serious offense, although an experienced Mecklenburg County drug lawyer could argue that there is insufficient evidence of intent to distribute.
Marijuana is treated differently than other controlled substances under state law, but that does not mean that the substance is considered legal unless used for as a medically prescribed treatment for cancer or glaucoma under Va. Code §18.2-251.1. Most controlled substances are classified under state law in six different schedules.
Possession of a Controlled Substance
Va. Code §18.2-250 prohibits the possession of a controlled substance without a valid prescription. To be legally in possession of a substance, a person must know it is in their possession and know of its characteristics.
The statute specifies that finding controlled substances in someone’s home or car does not create a presumption that the owner intentionally or knowingly possessed the controlled substances. That means a Mecklenburg County drug lawyer could successfully argue that someone found with drugs in the vehicle or apartment did not legally possess the drugs.
Penalties for drug possession vary depending on the substance at issue. Possession of substances classified on Schedules I or II, which includes heroin, oxycodone, and cocaine, is generally treated as a Class 5 felony.
However, possession of marijuana is treated as a Class 1 misdemeanor, and simple possession of substances on other schedules is also treated as a misdemeanor offense.
More Serious Drug Offenses
Manufacturing, selling, transporting, distributing, or giving controlled substances to others is treated as a more serious drug crime than simple possession. Possession with intent to do any of these things is just as serious an offense. Evidence of intent becomes extremely important, so a Mecklenburg County drug lawyer could work to collect and preserve the right evidence to be used in negotiations as well as at trial.
Under Va. Code §18.2-248, the sale, manufacture, distribution. and possession with intent to distribute is an offense that may be penalized by a sentence of up to 40 years in prison if the substance involved is a controlled substance on Schedule I or II. Subsequent convictions can lead to a life sentence.
Transportation of controlled substances is treated as a separate offense under Va.
Code §18.2-248.01 although the penalties are similar. The penalties for sale, distribution, manufacture or intent to distribute marijuana vary according to the amount involved. For no more than half an ounce, the crime is considered a Class 1 misdemeanor. If the quantity is between half an ounce and five pounds, the offense is treated as a Class 5 felony. Finally, if the amount is five pounds or more, the individual charged may be sentenced to up to 30 years of imprisonment.
Work with an Experienced Mecklenburg County Drug Attorney Today
Drug crimes can lead to serious consequences, including the effects of a criminal record that can haunt you for years to come. Advice from an experienced Mecklenburg County drug lawyer could help you protect your rights while you work toward the best available outcome.
An attorney could explain your options and work to exploit weaknesses in the prosecution’s case. To get started, call now.