Virginia does have diversionary program for possession of marijuana charges. I don’t normally recommend that people do those programs if they can be avoided. They do provide for a person’s drug charge to be dismissed after a completion of community service, substance abuse treatment, an evaluation, 6 months loss of person’s license, and staying out of trouble, but if you do those diversionary programs, it makes you ineligible for an expungement of your charge later on. You can still get your charge dismissed, but you’re not eligible for an expungement.
If it’s not your first offense drug charge, then unfortunately, that program would not be available to you. Depending on how creative your attorney can get, it can open up the doors for having charges amended to other charges where there is the eligibility for diversion programs but again, if you do a diversion program, you would not be eligible for an expungement of the charge later on and your record would always reflect the fact that you were charged.
How Does Probation Work in a Drug Related Case?
It differs from case to case. If you are doing some sort of plea agreement that you need to work out with the prosecutor, or if you’re having a trial, that’s for the judge to decide and it can be argued. You don’t necessarily have to be on supervised probation for a drug charge; it can be an unsupervised probation, which is also essentially known as “uniform good behavior,” which is the court telling you, “Hey, stay out of trouble and you don’t have to worry about any of your back up jail time.”
There are a number of cases where the court will impose jail time that’s just hanging over a person’s head and they will suspend that jail time for a period of time. However, if you do get in trouble again, then they can potentially bring you back into court and you will have to argue to the judge why he shouldn’t give you your backup jail time.
What Are the Potential Consequences of Violation of Probation?
When you violate probation, there are a couple of things that could happen next. Once you are notified, you could be taken into custody and be held until you can have a probation violation or a bond motion hearing. Another option is that the court would just set a date and they would issue what’s called a “rule to show cause.”
What that does is that you are brought in the court and you have to show cause as to why the court should not give you some of the suspended jail sentence or suspended fine that you have hanging over your head. You would be brought back in front of the judge who originally convicted you or put you through one of the diversion programs and you would have to talk to that judge and give the judge a reason why he either shouldn’t throw you in jail, issue a conviction if it was a diversion program, or make you pay some of the suspended fine.
The best course of action is always to do what your probation officer or the court tells you to do so that you don’t get that probation violation, but if you do, you would need an experienced attorney with you who can argue on your behalf to the judge as to why they should not impose a sentence on you, put you in jail or enter a conviction.
Should Someone Ever Plead Guilty to a Drug Charge in Virginia?
We always recommend that people fight and try to get the best outcome possible. People make mistakes every single day, but just because you made a mistake does not mean that you should be suffering for the rest of your life, and depending on what the drug charge is, it could have lifetime consequences.
Most people who have drug charges are just misguided, who have gone down the wrong path and need help. One of the things that we try to do for our clients is recognize those people and try to give them the help that they need in order to learn from this experience and to grow from it. We always try to help people and, if they do have a drug problem, overcome their drug issues.
In almost no circumstances do I recommend that a person just give up and throw themselves to the mercy of the court because when they do that, they could potentially be facing consequences that could be affecting them for the rest of their life.
For more information on Diversionary Programs for Drug Offenders, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (703) 548-1462 today.