The use of marijuana has become more accepted recently. This is true for recreational and medicinal use. Currently, medical marijuana is legal to some extent in 29 states and the District of Columbia. Eight states (plus D.C.) have passed legislation to open the doors for recreational use.
With this social movement to legalize and normalize the use of cannabis, you may start to feel a little more comfortable toking up at home or private parties. However, in the state of Virginia, possession of marijuana is not legal in any situation, amount, or form. Make sure you understand the law and potential consequences of your actions.
Virginia Simple Possession Laws and Penalties
In Virginia, possession of less than half an ounce of marijuana is a class 1 misdemeanor. “Simple possession,” means the state considers the amount small enough for personal use. You may face up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine for a first offense. If you have a prior marijuana conviction, less than half an ounce of weed could cost you up to a year in jail and $2,500.
The DMV will also suspend your license for six months. There is a possibility of retaining a restricted license for driving to school or work. You will also not a concealed handgun permit for three years.
These are the maximum penalties for simple possession. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can help, though. They may be able to convince the judge to assign probation and/or a drug treatment program instead of jail time. Alternatively, a judge may allow you to serve your sentence in a way that allows you to keep your job. This would include things like weekend jail time. Be careful not to violate the terms of your probation. This may result in receiving the full penalty for your original charge.
Felony Marijuana Charges in Virginia
If police catch you with more than half an ounce of marijuana, you will face tougher penalties. The state may charge you with possession with intent to distribute (PWID). This is a felony charge with a mandatory minimum sentence of one year in jail. Additionally, THC oils and concentrates carry serious charges. Possessing even small amounts may carry felony charges if they contain more than 12% THC.
Arrested for possessing a large amount of marijuana and charged with intent to sell, distribute, or manufacture? It is very important to seek legal counsel right away. A skilled defense attorney may be able to prove that by simply carrying more than 0.5 ounces of marijuana, you did not show intent to distribute. A judge may be willing to give you a sentence for simple possession.
Arrested for Possession of Marijuana? Call a Virginia Criminal Defense Lawyer
After an arrest for possession of marijuana, consult with an attorney as soon as possible. Even a simple possession charge could throw your life off track. However, a skilled attorney will be able to recognize the defenses available to you. They’ll fight for the best possible outcome in your case. Contact our offices today.