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

Virginia Embezzlement laws

Embezzlement is a type of theft where a person has been entrusted to the care or monitoring of someone else’s property and then steals some or all of that money or property. The key item that differentiates embezzlement from regular larceny is that the defendant had legal right to access the money or property, and then stole it.

An example might be a person who is taking care of a trust for underaged children and takes some of it for their own purposes, or a bank teller who handles customer’s money as a part of their job, but also steals from the till.

The penalties for embezzlement differ depending on just how much money or property was taken.

Value up to $200 (excluding firearms): If convicted, the defendant faces up to a $2500 fine and/or up to a year in jail.

Value exceeding $200 and firearms regardless of value: The judge has a certain amount of discretion and may allow crimes in this category to be charged as misdemeanors (as above) or may give the defendant a heavier penalty of 1-20 years in prison.

As you can imagine it is extremely important to have an experienced criminal defence lawyer to handle your case for you if you involved in any embezzlement crime.

If you are facing this situation, Faraji Rosenthall offers free consultations to discuss the matter. Simply call (703) 934-0101 where we will happily discuss your case, either face to face or over the phone. We have three offices to serve you in Fairfax, Manassas and Alexandria VA.

Dealing With Shoplifting Charges in Virginia

Shoplifting is a very common crime in Virginia. Unfortunately, many people are not aware of the consequences of being convicted of shoplifting.

There are two main types of shoplifting: misdemeanor larceny (also known as petit larceny) and felony grand larceny. The benchmark for felony grand larceny is very low; it is any theft valuing $200 or more. Thus, if you are caught shoplifting, you could easily be facing felony charges.

Shoplifting is not considered a violent crime, but it is considered a “sign of moral turpitude”, and a shoplifting conviction can have serious consequences. Not only can it never be expunged, it will affect future employment (in any job requiring security clearance) and will reflect poorly on your credibility in custody disputes, for instance, or when giving testimony.

Even if it is your first offense, the consequences can be enormous. That is why it is very important to have an attorney experienced in handling these types of cases. They will know every avenue of defense and work very hard at getting you off. Even if the evidence against you seems overwhelming, make sure to fight it. There may be avenues of defense you do not see. Don’t let one mistake ruin the rest of your life

If you are facing this situation, Faraji Rosenthall offers free consultations to discuss the matter. Simply call (703) 934-0101 where we will happily discuss your case, either face to face or over the phone. We have three offices to serve you in Fairfax, Manassas and Alexandria VA.

Shoplifting In Virginia

If you are being charged with shoplifting, you may be confused as to the legal process and what the charges will entail. Here are some things that you should know about shoplifting in Virginia.

A simple charge of shoplifting is far from being a slam-dunk case for the prosecutor if the accused is ably defended. Before being granted a conviction, the prosecutor must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused took the property without the owner’s consent, and that the defendant actually carried out the the crime of which he or she was accused– not an altogether easy thing to do.

The definition of shoplifting, in addition to the obvious act of acquiring merchandise without paying for it, can include altering price tags on merchandise, disarming alarm tags, transferring merchandise to a different container, charging merchandise to unaware or fictitious people, or passing along tips on how to shoplift to someone else. If the goods in question have a total value of less than $200 dollars, you can be charged with petit larceny. If the value exceeds $200 dollars, that becomes grand larceny, often classified as a felony.

Furthermore, merchants can recover a civil judgment against anyone who shoplifts from them, ranging from a minimum of $50 dollars to twice the unpaid retail value of the merchandise. A merchant could demand such repayment in exchange for refraining from pursuing criminal action.

As you can see, many aspects of the case can affect the proceedings and the potential penalties. If you are facing this situation, Faraji Rosenthall offers free consultations to discuss the matter. Simply call (703) 934-0101 where we will happily discuss your case, either face to face or over the phone. We have three offices to serve you in Fairfax, Manassas and Alexandria VA.