Possession Of Marijuana Penalties

With the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and with many other states considering decriminalization or full legalization, it is still important to remember that it is still illegal to use or possess marijuana in the state of Virginia. A marijuana conviction has very serious penalties, as well as numerous ramifications to your future.

Possession of less than half an ounce of marijuana is called simple possession or possession for personal use. But if you are convicted of knowingly or intentionally possessing marijuana, it is a Class 1 misdemeanor. First offenses are punishable by imprisonment for up to 30 days and/or a fine of up to $500. Subsequent offenses may be punishable by a term of up to 12 months and/or a fine of up to $2500.

Being arrested with a large quantity of marijuana is not automatically ‘intent to distribute’ in the state of Virginia. The burden of proof is still on the state. However, the severity of punishment for conviction varies based on how much marijuana was present.

For a quantity more than half an ounce and less than 5 lbs, this qualifies as a Class 5 felony, punishable by 1-10 years of jail time. There is some leeway for first offenders. A judge may, at his or her discretion, sentence an offender to a jail term of not more than 12 months and a fine not to exceed $2500.

Distributing more than 5 lbs, but less than 100 kg is punishable by 5-30 years in prison, and a conviction with more than 100 kg of marijuana is a mandatory 20 year minimum sentence

Marijuana and other drug arrests may have very serious consequences on a person’s long-term goals. At the very least all drug convictions require a 6 month suspension of driver’s license. For these reasons alone it is worth talking to a qualified marijuana and drug attorney with extensive experience in the Fairfax court system. Call our offices today for a free consultation:  (703) 934-0101.

Virginia Dwi vs Dui

One of the most common questions I hear in my work with DWI/DUI clients is “What’s the difference between a DUI and a DWI?”

This is a very good thing to know because it underline the difference between commonplace usage and legal usage of terms.

In commonplace language, DUI and DWI mean pretty much the same thing: Driving or operating machinery under the influence of some substance that impairs your abilities, usually alcohol. It’s a very loose designation.

Legally, DUI stands for “Driving Under the Influence” and DWI stands for “Driving While Intoxicated.” You might even occasionally see the acronym DUID, or “Driving Under the Influence of Drugs.”

Virginia law, under section 18.2-266, generally writes the charges on the official paperwork as DWI. But many people in the legal system say DUI, just because it rolls off the tongue more easily.

18.2-266 is a fairly broad statute. It prohibits operating a motor vehicle — any kind of motor, even a forklift, if you’re under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or any kind of substance that alters your abilities, like cold medication. Even a prescription medication can cause a DUI.

So whether you’ve been charged with a DUI or a DWI, it’s pretty much the same offense because it’s breaking a specific law. Regardless of the circumstances, however, you should have an experienced DUI/DWI attorney go over your case for you. I have seen many cases where the defendant received penalties that could easily have been avoided with experienced legal counsel.

To discuss your specific case, call us at for a free consultation at (703) 934-0101