People in Virginia get arrested for drug offenses under many different circumstances. A traffic stop might lead to a vehicle search and someone’s arrest. Police might respond to a domestic violence call and see paraphernalia in plain view when someone opens their front door. Others get arrested simply because they were at the wrong place at the wrong time or kept the wrong company.
Convictions for drug offenses in Virginia can lead to numerous penalties including probation, fines and jail time. Many people accused of serious criminal violations (understandably) worry about how a judge will sentence them. They may believe that pleading guilty is the best way to protect themselves from the most severe consequences possible. However, many people accused of drug offenses can alternatively respond in ways that can potentially help them avoid a conviction.
Crafting a solid a criminal defense strategy
It is possible for people to fight pending criminal charges even when the state claims to have evidence. Sometimes, an attorney can exclude certain evidence from a criminal trial because police officers violated the law when gathering it. Other times, it may be possible to raise a reasonable doubt about whether someone actually possessed the drugs that police found or whether they may have belonged to someone else. Numerous different strategies can help those accused of a drug offense win a criminal trial, thereby completely avoiding a conviction and the risk of criminal penalties.
Seeking pretrial diversion
Virginia offers adult drug treatment courts as an alternative to criminal court in some circumstances. Those accused of certain types of drug violations who can establish that their criminal arrest relates to a substance abuse issue may be eligible for alternative court proceedings.
The adult drug treatment courts offer careful supervision and require that someone undergo treatment. Frequent meetings with court officials, randomized drug testing and counseling services all combine to help people pursue, achieve and maintain sobriety. While drug court is not always effective and not everyone completes it successfully, it is a viable option for some defendants. Successfully completing drug court means that someone avoids a criminal record and criminal penalties.
Determining the best way to respond to drug charges to more effectively mitigate the risk of having a lifetime drug charge on one’s record usually requires a careful review of the state’s case and the specific charges that someone faces with the assistance of a skilled attorney.