Defense Lawyers for Marijuana Charges in Norfolk, VA
Our law firm knows what to do after your arrest
Marijuana is legal in Virginia. And yet, you can still be arrested on drug charges involving marijuana in the Commonwealth of Virginia. How is that possible? And what are the penalties for a marijuana conviction in Virginia?
The entire legal process can seem confusing, especially if you thought you didn’t break any laws by possessing marijuana in Virginia. This is why it’s critical that you talk to a lawyer right away if you have been charged with a criminal offense involving marijuana. This is why we want to meet with you.
Our Norfolk, VA defense attorneys at Welch & Wright, PLLC are experienced in handling drug charges and thoroughly understand the most up-to-date laws that apply to marijuana in Virginia. Our trial lawyers also have extensive courtroom experience in the Hampton Roads area and throughout Virginia. When you have our legal team on your side, you can be sure we will aggressively advocate for your legal rights. Our mission is your freedom, on your terms.
Is marijuana legal in Virginia?
Yes, but only in certain situations. In 2021, the Commonwealth of Virginia legalized the possession of less than one ounce of marijuana for personal consumption for adults 21 years old and older, according to the Virginia Cannabis Control Authority.
- Adults can legally consume marijuana in a private residence.
- Adults can legally grow up to four marijuana plants per household.
- Adults can share or give up to one ounce of marijuana to another adult, provided the marijuana is not sold for money or any other remuneration.
Is it legal to possess marijuana in Virginia?
The short answer is yes. However, many restrictions still apply to marijuana possession in Virginia. And in certain cases, it is still illegal to possess marijuana in Virginia. According to Virginia Code 4.1-1105.1, it is against the law to possess marijuana in Virginia in the following circumstances:
- Possession of more than one ounce of marijuana.
- Individuals under 21 years old possessing any quantity of marijuana.
- Consuming marijuana in a public place.
- Selling any quantity of marijuana in Virginia for recreational purposes.
Unlike many other states that have legalized marijuana, there are currently no marijuana dispensaries in Virginia that sell marijuana for recreational use. Such sales will be allowed in Virginia no later than Jan. 1, 2024. In the meantime, the only way anyone can legally purchase marijuana in Virginia is from a medical cannabis dispensary.
What are the penalties for marijuana possession?
The penalties for a marijuana possession conviction in Virginia vary depending on a variety of circumstances and factors. Such penalties can be found in Virginia Code 4.1-1100 and include:
- Possession of 1 ounce or less for personal use in private residence – No penalty.
- Possession of 1 ounce or less of marijuana in public – No penalty.
- Possession of 1 to 4 ounces in public – $25 fine.
- Possession of 4 ounces to 1 pound in public, first offense – $500 fine.
- Possession of 4 ounces to 1 pound in public, second or subsequent offenses – Up to 6 months in prison, $1,000 fine.
- Possession of more than 1 pound in public – 1 to 10 years in prison, $ 250,000 fine.
- Possession of marijuana for adults 18 to 21 years old – $25 fine, plus enrollment in a substance abuse treatment program and/or drug education program.
- Possession of marijuana for minors under 18 years old – $25 fine, plus enrollment in a substance abuse treatment program and/or drug education program.
What are the penalties for other marijuana charges in Virginia?
Penalties for other marijuana charges in Virginia vary depending on many different factors, including the quantity of marijuana and whether someone has previously been convicted of a marijuana charge. Such penalties include:
- Marijuana distribution of more than 1 ounce but less than 5 pounds – 1 to 10 years in prison, up to $2,500 fine.
- Distribution of more than 5 pounds but less than 100 kilograms of marijuana – 5 to 30 years in prison.
- Distribution of more than 100 kilograms of marijuana – 20 years to life in prison.
- Manufacture of marijuana not for personal use – 5 to 30 years in prison, up to $10,000 fine.
- Trafficking of more than 5 pounds of marijuana with intent to distribute in Virginia – 5 to 40 years in prison for first conviction, 10 to 40 years in prison for second conviction, plus up to $1 million fine.
Can I get my Virginia marijuana charge dismissed?
Yes. But just because you can does not mean it will be easy to have your charges dismissed. Many Virginia judges take a very strong stance in criminal cases involving drug charges, including cases involving marijuana.
Each criminal case presents its own unique legal challenges. That’s why it’s important to talk with a Virginia drug crime lawyer right away if you have been charged with a criminal offense involving marijuana or cannabis.
What’s the best defense for a marijuana charge?
If you have been charged with a crime involving marijuana in Virginia, there are many different ways your lawyer may be able to successfully resolve your case and perhaps even have your charges dismissed or reduced. Such legal strategies can include your defense attorney proving:
- You did not violate any laws since you were legally in possession of marijuana at the time of your arrest.
- You have a medical marijuana prescription that allows you to legally possess marijuana for personal use.
- Police conducted an unlawful search that resulted in your arrest.
- Police misconduct, including violation of your civil rights or failure to read your Miranda rights at the time of your arrest.
- The marijuana involved in your arrest does not belong to you.
- You were not in possession of marijuana at the time of your arrest.
- The amount of marijuana seized during your arrest was less than the amount the police claim you had at the time of your arrest.
Take back control. Contact our law firm
Virginia’s marijuana laws can be confusing. What’s legal or illegal has been constantly changing in recent years. This is why it’s important that you have an experienced Virginia criminal defense attorney on your side who knows the law and who can vigorously fight for your rights.
Our Norfolk, VA marijuana defense lawyers at Welch & Wright, PLLC know the law and understand how the legal system works in Virginia. Our trial attorneys have extensive courtroom experience and can get right to work on your legal case.
Don’t take chances with your future. Take action. Contact us to learn more about your legal options. Schedule a free case evaluation with one of our experienced Norfolk, Virginia drug charge defense lawyers today.