Many drug possession cases in Virginia involve misdemeanor offenses by people who simply made a one-time mistake. However, some cases involve repeat offenders who continue to break the law after their first case was resolved.

Possession and trafficking accusations

For example, on Aug. 11, a Richmond man was sentenced to over 11 years in prison after he was convicted of felony drug possession with the intent to distribute. According to media reports, police officers arrested the 29-year-old defendant as he was leaving his home. They reportedly searched his pockets and located an ounce of cocaine and $1,263 in cash. They also searched his vehicle and found a loaded pistol. After obtaining a search warrant, authorities also searched his home and found unspecified quantities of cocaine, crack cocaine and fentanyl. They also found drug-trafficking items and four additional firearms.

The defendant had several previous drug convictions on his record and was prohibited from possessing firearms. Because of his criminal history, he received a harsher sentence. The investigation was handled by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Washington Field Division and the Hanover County Sheriff’s Office. The prosecutor in the case issued a statement saying that the defendant’s sentence was intended to “send a strong message” to those who deal drugs in Virginia communities.

Seeking experienced legal assistance

While this case was very serious, most individuals facing drug charges are first-time offenders accused of committing a misdemeanor. Defendants charged with drug possession or other minor drug crimes might benefit from contacting a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. The attorney may be able to challenge the prosecution’s case and get the charges dropped. Alternatively, legal counsel might recommend negotiating a plea deal that reduces the charges, which may lead to a lenient sentence from the judge.