Manassas Drug Crimes Attorney
The Commonwealth of Virginia takes the possession and distribution of illegal drugs seriously and has some of the toughest drug laws in the nation. If convicted on drug charges, you could go to jail or prison, pay heavy fines, lose your professional license, and face difficulty finding employment.
A Manassas drug crime lawyer can help you build a solid defense against your drug charges to help you maintain your innocence. At the Law Office of Michael Pignone, we work hard to ensure our clients get the representation they deserve. Contact us today to discuss your drug charges.
Controlled Substance Scheduling
To understand the different levels of drug offenses in Virginia, it’s helpful to be familiar with how the commonwealth schedules drugs.
Schedule I: These substances have a high potential for abuse, and there are currently no known medical applications. Examples include LSD and heroin.
Schedule II: These substances do have an accepted medical use, but they are subject to abuse and heavy dependence. A Schedule II drug can include fentanyl, PCP, cocaine, methadone, methamphetamine, and codeine.
Schedule III: These substances have a lower potential for abuse than Schedule II drugs and are used medically. Examples include buprenorphine and anabolic steroids.
Schedule IV: Substances in this category have a low potential for abuse and dependency and are used in medicine. Examples include Xanax and Valium.
Schedule V: These drugs have a significantly low potential for dependency or abuse, but they do have legitimate medical use. Prescription cough medicine is an example of a drug in this category.
Schedule VI: These are non-drugs that are sometimes abused or used recreationally. Paint and model glue are examples of Schedule VI drugs.
As you can see, the lower the scheduling number, the greater the restrictions the state places upon them. The scheduling, along with the quantity and surrounding circumstances of the particular case, will affect drug penalties the subject may be facing.
Different Types of Drug Crimes
What you were allegedly doing at the time of your arrest will partially determine how you are charged. Here are some of the types of drug crimes that a Manassas drug lawyer defends.
A person usually faces this charge when they have active or constructive possession of a controlled substance. In Virginia, it’s a Class V felony to possess a Schedule I or Schedule II controlled substance, a Class I misdemeanor to possess a Schedule III substance, a Class II misdemeanor for Schedule IV controlled substances, a Class III misdemeanor for Schedule V substances, and a Class IV misdemeanor for Schedule VI substances.
This type of sliding penalty system is typical of all drug offenses.
Manufacturing, Selling, Giving, or Distributing Controlled Substances
Virginia categorizes all of the above activities under one statute, but the penalties are much more severe for drug distribution or manufacturing. Again, it depends on the type and amount of the substance. For Schedule V or VI substances, it is a Class I misdemeanor. All other scheduled drugs are charged as felonies. The state can also charge with intent to distribute, manufacture, sell, or give controlled substances under this statute.
This applies to more serious Schedule I and Schedule II substances, and the penalties are quite severe. For example, if you’re in possession of 100 grams or more of a substance laced with heroin, the penalties range from 5 to 40 years in prison and up to $500,000 in fines. The same applies to 500 grams of cocaine or a cocaine mixture.
If you’ve been charged with a drug trafficking crime, you need to take the matter seriously. The penalties only get worse if you’ve had a past conviction. Talk to an experienced Manassas drug lawyer today.
WORKING WITH A MANASSAS DRUG ATTORNEY
There are many Manassas drug crime attorneys who represent clients for common drug crimes, like marijuana possession or selling drugs. However, not all Manassas criminal defense firms are equipped to handle more serious drug charges.
Attorney Michael Pignone represents clients who have been charged with drug possession, distribution, and trafficking in the Manassas area of Northern Virginia. When you retain his legal services, he will:
- Represent you in all phases of your legal matter
- Review all of the prosecutorial evidence against you
- Subpoena and depose the police officers and other witnesses involved
- File motions to suppress any evidence that the police officers discovered in violation of your constitutional rights
- Determine whether negotiating a plea deal is in your best interest
- File an appeal if you’re convicted
- Ask the court for pretrial intervention if it’s a first-time drug charge
Don’t talk to the police without first speaking to a Manassas drug crimes attorney.
DRUG CRIME STATISTICS IN VIRGINIA
According to the Virginia Department of Health, drugs were the number one cause of unnatural deaths, far outstripping motor vehicle and firearm-related deaths.
Additionally, over the past 15 years, the annual number of drug-related deaths has tripled.
Unfortunately, many individuals who have been arrested for possessing small amounts of drugs for personal use are treated like hardened criminals. If you’ve been caught with a smaller amount of illegal drugs, a Manassas drug crimes attorney can often get you into a pretrial program. If you complete the program, you can completely avoid conviction.
DRUG CRIMES FAQ
Our drug lawyer receives many questions similar to these in our Virginia law office. These are some of the most commonly asked questions asked by individuals charged with drug crimes. To discuss a drug offense that you’ve been charged with, contact The Law Office of Michael Pignone today.
Is There Another Option for a First Offender?
For first-time drug possession offenders, your defense lawyer can often work out a diversion agreement with the prosecutor. This allows you to avoid conviction if you complete a drug treatment program. This is not usually available if your offense involves intent to distribute or manufacture or some other charge that indicates the drugs in question were for more than personal use.
What Are Some Ways an Attorney Can Help Beat My Manassas Drug Charges?
There are many strategies that an experienced defense attorney can use to beat a conviction once they examine the evidence. For example, the search may have been illegal, or the police may have used a coercive technique like entrapment to get you to sell drugs to an undercover officer. The court may find that the police were conducting illegal traffic stops.
DRUG CRIME ATTORNEY IN MANASSAS, VA
If you’ve been arrested for a drug crime, you could be facing penalties such as jail or prison, fines, probation, and community service. If you get a felony conviction, you may also lose some of your constitutional rights. Your best bet for staying out of jail and avoiding a criminal record is to hire a criminal defense lawyer to handle your case. In Manassas, VA, Michael Pignone is one of the area’s top criminal defense attorneys for drug cases. Call our law firm today.