Drug Cases in Virginia
A recent Supreme Court decision has altered the way prosecutors approach drug cases. The case is called Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts, and it requires prosecutors to call as a witness the analyst who dealt with the chemical test administered at the time of arrest.
All drug possession cases in Virginia are eligible for first offender treatment under 18.2-251. Your case can be dismissed after 1 year probation if you:
- Have a substance abuse assessment and enter and complete a treatment program including drug testing.
- Make efforts to have a job and complete100 hours of community service; (24 hours for marijuana.)
- Drive on a restricted license for 6 months without mishaps.
Drug distribution cases are not eligible for first offender treatment but if the charge is reduced to possession you are eligible.
They must prove that the drugs are in your possession not just that the drug was there and you were there. This is not as easy as it sounds. For instance; 18.2-250 of Virginia Law says ownership or occupancy of a premises or vehicle upon which or in which a controlled substance was found shall not create a presumption of possession. So even if they find drugs in a house or car you are in they need more evidence.
They must prove the drug is a drug. This requires a full forensic analysis which is done in a laboratory. ( except marijuana cases ). The department of forensic science produces a certificate of analysis which, until recently, was easily admissible in court A recent Supreme Court decision has altered the way prosecutors approach drug cases, especially those involving marijuana. The case is called Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts, and it requires prosecutors to call as a witness the analyst who dealt with the chemical test administered at the time of arrest if you assert your rite to demand it.
19.2 – 187.1(A)(1) of the Code of Virginia requires that the police give you notice twenty-eight days before trial that they intend to use the certificate in court. If they do, you must object to the certificate within fourteen days. If you object, they can’t use it. You must meet this deadline or lose your right to object. Get to a Fairfax drug possession lawyer immediately.