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Drug distribution – Fairfax criminal lawyer on sentencing risks

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Drug distribution- Fairfax criminal lawyer addresses possible sentencing outcomes

Drug distribution (DD) is a damning Virginia criminal charge that anyone would want to avoid. As a Fairfax criminal lawyer, I here tell you about your negotiating possibilities and sentencing exposure and possibilities when charged with such an offense. Because of the harsh potential sentencing from such a charge and the adverse effect that such a conviction can have on one’s reputation and livelihood, it is important to obtain a qualified lawyer early on when charged with such an offense.

Drug distribution with a schedule I or II drug carries up to forty years in prison

Drug distribution with a schedule I or II drug carries five to forty years in prison, whereby the sentencing judge is free to suspend any and all of the sentence. Virginia Code § 18.2-248. For a person with no prior criminal convictions charged with only one such count, one’s advisory / voluntary sentencing guidlines are a score of 12, under Virginia drug sentencing guidelines Section C, with the option in the judge to apply such alternative sentencing as probation, where scoring under guidelines Section D (nonviolent risk assessment) falls below 32. It is important to point out that this sentencing Section D unfairly targets males under 21 years old, by automatically elevating their score more than that of anyone else.

What is alternative punishment for Virginia DD sentencing guidelines?

Alternative punishment for those convicted of Virginia drug distribution offenses “may include, but not be limited to (i) fines and day fines, (ii) boot camp incarceration, (iii) local correctional facility incarceration, (iv) diversion center incarceration, (v) detention center incarceration, (vi) home incarceration/electronic monitoring, (vii) day or evening reporting, (viii) probation supervision, (ix) intensive probation supervision, and (x) performance of community service.”  Virginia Code § 17.1-803 Clearly, a defendant would want no worse than probation for an alternative sanction.

What are my Virginia drug distribution sentencing guidelines?

If not sentenced to alternative punishment, the sentencing guidelines for Virginia Schedule I or II drug distribution for a defendant with no prior convictions and only one criminal count, are a score of 12, which amounts to a sentencing range of 7 months to 1 year and four months in jail.

What are my sentencing prospects if my Virginia DD charge is reduced to possession of the drug for personal use?

I have been able to get Virginia drug distribution reduced to a less serious charge of possession. Possession of a Schedule I or II drug has for years remained a Class 6 felony, jailable up to ten years in prison. Virginia Code § 18.2-250.Probation, under drug guidelines Section B, is the sentencing guideline range for such a crime for someone with only one count against them and no prior convictions.

Am I eligible for a Virginia 251 sentence?

If your Virginia drug distribution prosecution is amended, through plea negotiations, to drug possession, you are eligible for no active jail and an ultimate case dismissal for successful probation completion, so long as you do not have a prior drug case disposition that precludes such an outcome. Virginia § 18.2-251.

How can my lawyer get my Virginia DD charge amended to a drug possession charge?

Arguments in favor of amending a Virginia drug distribution charge to possession can include: Weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and strengths in the defendant’s defense. Only one or two distribution events, for only a small quantity of drugs at a small price. If the defendant is selling some of his or her own stash, that can indicate that this defendant’s action was more an effort to offset the price of the stash, rather than to earn a hefty profit. Furthermore, if the drug involved is less serious than opiates, it can be helpful to point that out. Engaging in such self improvement as a very high number of voluntary community service hours, drug treatment and drug education can help convert a DD charge to possession, in negotiations.

Fairfax criminal lawyer Jonathan Katz pursues your best defense against Virginia DUI, drug, felony and misdemeanor charges. Call 703-383-1100 for your free in-person initial confidential consultation with Jon Katz about your court-pending case.