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Virginia drug dismissal conditions should not be taken lightly

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Virginia drug dismissal conditions are taken very seriously by judges, says Fairfax criminal lawyer

Virginia drug dismissal conditions under the Virginia Code are taken very seriously by judges for § 18.2-251 / 251 dismissal option sentencing. As a Fairfax criminal lawyer, I know you proceed at your own possible peril to wait until your dismissal date for the first time to ask for more time to fulfill the terms and conditions of dismissal, which typically are completing court-required drug treatment, random urine drug testing, community service, and court costs, on top of being of general good behavior, which ordinarily means not committing crimes while on probation. This week, the Virginia Supreme Court confirmed that trial judges have sound discretion on how to proceed under such circumstances. Smallwood v. Virginia, ___ Va. ___ (Jan. 13, 2022).

Virginia drug dismissal conditions merit setting the time and money aside early on for being granted ultimate case dismissal

No judge is required to agree to a 251 disposition, geared to achieving a Virginia drug dismissal. When they do, the dismissal that is the ultimate 251 result for a defendant cannot be achieved without successful completion of probation. Do not wait until your probation period comes to an end to start fulfilling your dismissal conditions. Unexpected events may happen along the way, including reduced assets and income, extraordinary competition for your time obligations, and waitlists for drug education / treatment programs. If your case is in Circuit Court — for instance for a Schedule I or II drug, prosecutable as a felony offense — court costs can easily exceed $1000, versus the much lower court costs for drug misdemeanor cases in Virginia District Court. If you successfully complete your probation conditions early enough, perhaps the prosecution will even join in a request to shorten probation and dismiss your case early.

Choose paying your court costs before paying for Netflix, weekend vacations and lottery tickets

Competition for our dollars continually dogs us when pursuing a Virginia drug dismissal. While it can help our mental health to invest in the diversion of a movie, a weekend getaway or the fantasy of winning millions of dollars on a lottery ticket, we can get more peace of mind by simply setting aside the money for our court costs. Robert Lee Smallwood learned how humorless his trial judge — and the appellate courts — would be over his not having paid even a dime towards his court costs, when he was earning a modest income and provided no good explanation for making no such payments. After giving one time extension to Smallwood and issuing a warning to satisfy court costs by the next court date, Smallwood’s trial judge made good on his promise by enrolling a conviction for heroin possession, when Smallwood’s 251 arrangement would have enabled an ultimate case dismissal for him had he simply timely paid his court costs, which exceeded $1000.00. On the day that the court entered Smallwood’s conviction, the defendants stated that “‘I just haven’t had the money yet'” and that was unable to pay. Smallwood.
unable to pay.

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