Virginia Drug Distribution Lawyer
Drug possession is penalized seriously because it has the potential to impair a person’s ability to maintain a healthy and productive lifestyle. However, if a person is charged with distributing drugs, that person is spreading that problem from oneself to others. For that reason, law enforcement and Virginia courts look dimly upon those who choose to attempt or complete the sale of an illegal drug to another person.
Law enforcement in Virginia has always taken drug distribution seriously and therefore if you are facing charges, a Virginia drug distribution attorney is essential to building your defense. An experienced drug lawyer will be helpful in potentially mitigating the damage of your charges and ensuring that you are prepared for each step of the legal process.
There are a number of aggravating factors that can increase the severity of a charge. The location of the event is an important thing to consider. Most notably, if a person makes the decision to sell in or near a school zone area, they will be punished far more significantly than if it was in some neutral location that does not have children nearby.
Another significant aggravating factor, especially in federal courts and in some certain circumstances in state courts, is the weight of the alleged distributed substance. In other words, if a person has a larger quantity of an illegal drug marked for distribution that person can expect a much more severe penalty than a smaller quantity of the same drug and should, therefore, consult with a Virginia drug distribution lawyer immediately.
A third aggravating factor is the presence of a qualifying predicate offense, making the charge that a person is dealing with the second or subsequent offense. Having a second or subsequent offense when charged with distribution of drugs or possession with the intent to distribute is a significant problem, because having that circumstance can, and many times, does require the government to impose mandatory minimum expenses if a person is found guilty.
Drug distribution cases often include issues relating to the Fourth Amendment. The Fourth Amendment protects citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures. That has been interpreted by the court’s to mean that the government if it chooses to search a person or their home, must have a warrant to do so unless some sort of extenuating or exigent circumstances exist.
A seasoned drug distribution attorney in Virginia will be able to explain exactly what each of those possible exigent circumstances might be. An attorney can investigate the specific details about how the police came to find the drugs in their client’s vicinity or possession. Those pieces of information are often useful in building possible defenses for the crime of distribution of drugs.
The government might have evidence of an actual hand-to-hand sale between the accused person and either a confidential informant or an undercover police officer. Other times when they will arrest somebody with a large enough quantity of a certain drug, as it enables the presumption that the quantity was too high for personal consumption. Therefore, it had to have been marked for distribution to other people. They might have testimonies from prior customers turned into confidential informants. They might have computer records. Some records from the person being accused might detail the types of transactions that they have been involved in. A Virginia drug distribution attorney can help to fight particular forms of evidence gathered and protect their client’s rights.
A person charged with distribution versus possession with the intent could be very different, but they are treated the same and punished the same. Contesting elements of the crime depend upon the kinds of evidence that the government has. As a general rule in a distribution case, there must be evidence of the actual distribution. If that evidence comes from a police officer, the courts are inclined to find that testimony more credible. However, if a person is being accused by a confidential informant as opposed to an undercover agent, generally confidential informants have something significant to gain by cooperating with the police. For that reason, their credibility can always be brought into question. The principal way that one can contest a distribution charge is by challenging the credibility of the witness alleging that the distribution occurs in the first place.
Contacting an Attorney
The most important thing when determining who is going to represent you in a case involving drug distribution is someone’s experience. Having an experienced attorney by your side that knows the kinds of evidence and tricks the government will try to employ to gain a conviction is extraordinarily useful to anybody who is faced with such serious charges. A Virginia drug distribution attorney has experience in a variety of cases and is equipped to build your defense.