A possession of marijuana charge in Fairfax County is no longer a criminal offense. In Virginia, possession of one ounce or less of marijuana has been decriminalized and is a $25 civil offense. There is no license suspension nor probation. This means that simple marijuana possession is no longer a crime. However, there are still consequence to marijuana possession because the offense is still a public record. This means that it can show up on background checks and affect employment, affect immigration status, and student loans. Marijuana possession is still prosecuted in Fairfax County and it remains a good idea to speak to a criminal defense attorney. We offer a free consultation and would be happy to discuss your case. Give us a call or 703-273-4100 or use the contact form below.
The current status of Marijuana Possession in Fairfax County
Under Virginia Code §18.2-250.1, it is unlawful to possess marijuana unless obtained pursuant to a valid prescription. The penalty for marijuana possession is a $25 civil penalty which can be prepaid. In addition, the good news is that it is not reported to a person's criminal history record. There is a provision in the statute that says if a person with a Commercial Driver's License possesses marijuana while operating a motor vehicle, the violation is required to be reported to the VA DMV and be included on the driving record.
DEFENSES TO POSSESSION OF MARIJUANA
The Virginia Code governing marijuana possession provides that ownership or occupancy of the place or vehicle where the marijuana is found does not create a presumption that the person knew or had possession of it. Rather, the Commonwealth will need to show other evidence that the person is guilty of the offense. Such evidence would include statements to the effect of knowing it is present or that it is theirs, making furtive movements towards an area where the officer later locates the substance, proximity to the marijuana (though proximity alone is not enough to establish possession), etc. Essentially, if you didn't know the pot was there, you are not guilty of the offense. The police must also provide proof that the marijuana was tested in order to show it is in-fact marijuana.
In cases where it appears that the Commonwealth can prove possession, we will nevertheless work towards a dismissal of the charge through preemptive community service and/or drug testing to show the client is now drug-free.
Hiring a Lawyer for your Possession of Marijuana Charge
It is nice that Virginia and some other states have finally decriminalized marijuana possession. However, because it is not yet legal, it can still negatively impact certain aspects of your life. If you would like to fight your marijuana charge give us a call. We want to help you get the charge dismissed so that you can also get the charge expunged. We offer a free consultation and flat-fees and would be happy to help.