Feb 18, 2017 Virginia marijuana defense – Legislative efforts fail (and later win) to exempt marijuana 251’s from mandatory license suspension
Even though a Virginia 251 disposition (enabling dismissal of a first-time drug possession case after successful probation completion) can be a Trojan Horse, a 251 ordinarily is preferable to a conviction.
Recently, the Virginia House of Delegates and Senate made efforts to convert mandatory driving license suspensions for marijuana 251’s from mandatory to discretionary by the presiding judge. However, it seems that this measure failed based on the Senate’s deletion of the House version’s provision making license suspension mandatory when the marijuana possession is committed during operation of a motor vehicle, and requiring at least 100 hours of community service (rather than 24 hours of community service) when a license suspension is not part of a marijuana 251 disposition. The House and Senate passed their respective versions unanimously, and then the House rejected the Senate’s above-referenced substitute bill by a vote of 3 yeas and 95 nays.
Consequently, marijuana defendants — as well as all drug defendants — must continue to remember that a six-month driver license suspension (with the option to seek restricted driving privileges) remains a part of a 251 disposition.