First Time Offender

Possession of marijuana is a serious offense in Virginia with a conviction resulting in suspension of your driver’s license.

Under Virginia Code § 18.2-250.1, it is unlawful for any person to “knowingly” possess marijuana. Generally, any person convicted of a first offense for possession of marijuana (less than one-half ounce) is guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to confinement in jail for up to thirty (30) days and a fine of up to $500. Additionally, conviction under this statute requires a suspension of your driver’s license for six months. See Virginia Code §18.2-259.1.

A petition to the court for a restricted license to drive to work, school, church, and medical appointments may be filed.

First Offender: Under Virginia Code § 18.2-251, someone who has not previously received a drug-related conviction (a “first offender”) may, in the discretion of the court, receive a deferred disposition and dismissal of the charge upon completion of the statutory and court-ordered conditions of probation. The statute requires that an individual seeking a deferred disposition for dismissal undergo a substance abuse assessment (and treatment if the court deems it necessary). Further, such individual must pay all or part of his or her court costs and fines, as well as the costs associated with enrollment in an approved substance abuse program. During the probationary period, you must abstain from drug and alcohol use and are subject to random drug and alcohol screening to ensure compliance. Finally, the statute requires completion of at least 24 hours of community service.

Failure to comply with these terms will result in a finding of guilt and imposition of the penalties listed above.

Although satisfactory completion of the conditions of probation under the first offender program will result in dismissal of an individual’s possession charge, the offense remains a conviction for subsequent drug-related offenses. Therefore, if an individual, who previously received a dismissal of a possession of marijuana charge under the first offender statute, subsequently violates the possession statute, such subsequent offense will constitute a second offense for the purposes of adjudication and sentencing. Further, an expungement is not permissible even with a dismissal of the possession charge under the first offender program.

Drug possession cases often involve complex search and seizure defenses, as well as negotiation skills that generally require an experienced attorney.

As a former criminal prosecutor assigned to the drug team, I worked with and trained with law enforcement officers on numerous drug possession and distribution cases over the years. Put my years of experience to work for you and call today for a free initial telephone consultation at (757) 286-8411.