Drug crimes are some of the most commonly prosecuted cases in Manassas. While this has always been the case, the prosecution of drug crimes ramped up in recent years due mostly to the opioid epidemic. The result is that police and prosecutors take these crimes very seriously. If you face drug charges, it is important that you reach out to a dedicated Manassas drug crime attorney as soon as possible. At the Law Offices of Michael A. Pignone, we have handled thousands of cases on behalf of our clients, including drug possession and drug trafficking cases. We take a comprehensive approach to every case we handle, conducting detailed investigations into the government’s case to identify any weaknesses.

Punishments for a Virginia Drug Conviction

Virginia state law breaks down drug crimes into three categories, depending on the facts surrounding the arrest:

  • Drug possession,
  • Drug sales, and
  • Drug manufacturing.

The two most common drug crimes are drug possession and drug distribution. However, it is important to keep in mind that the government can charge you with selling drugs even if there is no direct evidence of a sale. This is because courts will look to the surrounding circumstances to determine whether you intended to sell drugs. For example, did police find empty baggies, scales, or large quantities of drugs that were not consistent with personal use?

Typically, drug possession is the least serious charge, and drug manufacturing is the most serious. However, the seriousness of an offense depends on the type of drug the government claims you possessed, the amount of the drug, and whether you have any prior drug convictions on your record.

For example, if this is your first drug crimes arrest, you may qualify for a diversionary program. A diversionary program allows you to defer the case in exchange for your agreement to participate in drug treatment. If you successfully complete the program, the government will withdraw the charges against you. However, just because you are eligible for a diversionary program does not mean you should take that route. The best option is to speak with an experienced Manassas drug crimes lawyer to evaluate the government’s case and make an informed decision from there.

If you do not qualify for a diversionary program or choose not to participate, you could face up to ten years in jail and a fine of up to $2,500 for drug possession. The punishments for selling drugs in Manassas are much more serious. For example, if convicted of selling more than 100 grams of heroin, you would face a maximum punishment of five years to life in prison.

If you face Manassas drug charges, do not give up hope. There is always something a lawyer can do to help your chances of beating the case or at least staying out of jail.

How a Manassas Drug Crimes Lawyer Can Help

After police arrest you for a drug crime, it may feel like all hope is lost. However, that is not the case. There are several legal and factual defenses that apply in drug cases. An experienced Manassas drug crimes attorney can help you determine which defense is the strongest in your particular case.

For example, one of the most successful defenses in any Manassas drug case is a motion to suppress physical evidence. When police officers investigate drug crimes, they must respect the suspect’s constitutional rights. Thus, if a police officer stopped you on the street, pulled you over, or searched your belongings without reasonable suspicion or probable cause, any evidence they recovered may not be admitted at trial.

Depending on the situation, your lawyer may be able to challenge the government’s claim that you “possessed” the drugs. For example, if police officers arrested you after finding drugs in a car with several other occupants, who’s to say the drugs were yours? It’s up to the prosecution to prove you intended to exercise control over the drugs.

These are just a few defenses that Manassas drug crime attorneys use to defeat the government’s case.

Contact a Respected Manassas Drug Crimes Attorney for Immediate Assistance

If you face drug charges in Manassas, it is imperative that you reach out to a dedicated criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. At the Law Offices of Michael A. Pignone, we help good people get out of bad situations. Our Manassas drug crimes attorney has extensive experience handling all types of serious narcotics offenses. We also represent clients charged with traffic offenses, such as DUI and reckless driving. To learn more and to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case with a lawyer, give us a call today. You can reach us at the Law Offices of Michael A. Pignone or call at 703-775-4302. You can also get in touch with us through our online contact form.