STUDENT LEGAL SERVICES INFORMATION
So You’ve Been Charged With Possession of Marijuana
What is possession of marijuana?
Virginia Code § 18.2-250.1 makes it unlawful for any person to knowingly or intentionally possess marijuana unless validly prescribed by a doctor.
What are the consequences if I am found guilty?
Possession of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by up to thirty days in jail and a fine of up to $500. Second and subsequent convictions on this charge are Class 1 misdemeanors punishable by up to one year in jail, a fine of $2,500, or both.
I’ve never been charged with a drug crime before, can I get the charges dismissed?
If the court finds that the facts justify a guilty verdict, they may, without entering a judgment of guilt and with the accused’s consent, defer further proceedings and place the accused on probation upon terms and conditions. These conditions can include substance abuse screening, assessment treatment and education programs or services, drug tests, and payment for all or part of the costs and fees of any program. During probation, you may lose your driving privileges in Virginia. (Va. Code. § 18.2-259.1). Upon completion of the terms of probation, the court may dismiss the case. (Va. Code. § 18.2-251).
What happens if I do not meet the terms of my probation?
Upon violation of a term or condition, the court may enter an adjudication of guilt and proceed as otherwise provided. (Va. Code. § 18.2-251).
What if the drugs aren’t mine?
Ownership or occupancy of the premises or vehicle in which marijuana is found does not create a presumption that you knowingly or intentionally possessed such marijuana. (Va. Code. § 18.2-250.1). However, you could be found to be in constructive possession of the drugs if there is proof you were aware of the drugs and that they were subject to your dominion and control. (Eckhart v. Commonwealth).
This document was produced by Student Legal Services at the College of William & Mary. It was prepared by law students, and nothing in this document should be considered legal advice. Student Legal Services is located in room 166 of the Campus Center and provides legal information to the William & Mary community upon request. For more information call (757) 221-3304 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last updated September 2011
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