It is no secret that the United States is in the throes of a public health crisis. The opioid problem has reached epidemic levels within the last three to four years. It affects every city and town in Virginia, including Virginia Beach. With the substitution of the powerful painkilling drug Fentanyl for heroin, or used in combination with heroin, addicts have been overdosing at an alarming rate. Some people overdose multiple times. They have the chance to overdose multiple times because of police officers and other emergency personnel, and even some private citizens, carry multiple doses of Narcan with them.
People who are overdosing clearly have a problem and need help, but they only get help because the criminal justice system was forced to intervene.
Communities are suffering as a result of the rampant drug addiction. Drug-dependent people need to get money for drugs. They cannot work, or if they do, they cannot work enough to make the money they need to chase their high. As a result, people turn to burglary, robbery, theft, fraud, and other property crimes to steal the money they need for drugs. Often, addicts will turn sexual favors to get the drugs they need to get high. No person in their right mind would act this way if they were not solely focused on buying drugs. Drug addicts will cast aside all inhibition and reason and do whatever they need to do to get their drugs. They steal from their family, their friends, their neighbors. They leave a swath of pain and destruction that no family should endure.
Drug addicts are not only using heroin. They are using crystal meth, cocaine, crack, marijuana, and many prescription painkillers as well as other pills like Klonopin and Adderall. Some also abuse alcohol. Sometimes people present with what is known as a dual diagnosis. A dual diagnosis is a substance abuse problem coupled with a mental health illness.
Attorney Hardt understands this problem many of her current and former clients face. She fights vigorously for her clients to get the treatment they need instead of going to jail. While many people will find themselves in the district or circuit courts facing drug charges, repeat offenders might be eligible for Drug Court. Notwithstanding the court, in Virginia, first offenders can receive probation instead of going to jail for possessing narcotics. Section 18.2-251 of the Virginia Code establishes a comprehensive scheme for first-time drug offenders to have their case dismissed after completing all of the requirements of probation. Those requirements include drug treatment, drug testing, complete community service, and make reasonable attempts to get and keep a job. Failure to satisfy these requirements will cause a guilty finding to enter, and you can be sentenced. Possession of marijuana may be punished by 30 days in jail or a fine.
Various sentences may punish possessors of other drugs. For example, a person is guilty of a Class 5 felony for possessing any narcotic listed on Schedule I or II. There are lesser penalties for other drugs less dangerous than Schedule I or II.
Drug users need to get their drugs from some source. Many people deal drugs because they are selling to feed their habit. Other people deal drugs because of the socio-economic situation in which they find themselves. Irrespective of the person’s motivation, drug dealing is severely punished in Virgina.
Virginia law prohibits manufacturing and distribution of narcotics. Penalties range from a minimum of five years to a maximum of 40 years incarceration. Minimum mandatory sentences may be applicable depending upon the weight of the substance or the number of previous convictions for drug dealing. The law allows the judge or jury to use some discretion not to impose minimum mandatory sentences if the accused meets the statutory criteria.
The sentencing scheme for drug distribution in Virginia is very complicated. You need an experienced, dedicated Virginia drug attorney to fight to protect your rights. Otherwise, you or your loved one could spend decades in prison for a relatively minor crime. Additionally, an experienced Virginia drug defense attorney knows who to defend cases before the accused is found or pleads guilty. A seasoned attorney, like Attorney Patricia Hardt, will scrutinize the police work and potentially argue that the police violated your constitutional rights. Also, Attorney Hardt has experience winning acquittals for her clients in drug trial by arguing that the government cannot prove that her client possessed the drugs the government says they did.
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Attorney Patricia Hardt has the experience you or your loved one needs to fight your Virginia drug charges. Call Attorney Hardt today at 757-962-5588 to schedule and meeting and begin mounting your defense today.