Based on news coverage, today’s world presents more threats than ever: violent crime, criminal gangs, illegal drug trade, and economic crimes of desperation. In such a dangerous environment, it makes sense that over 40% of Americans own a firearm, and the number of concealed carry handgun permits has dramatically increased over the last decade, from about 2.7 million in 1999 to 4.6 million in 2007 to 11.1 million in 2014. However, many people do not know that concealed weapon laws apply to more than just handguns.
For years, Police have added charges for refusal to consent to alcohol breath or blood tests using “implied consent” laws. Recent changes from the U.S. Supreme Court may have a big impact upon testing for drunk and drugged driving.
Virginia’s Marijuana Laws
In our state, it is still a crime to possess marijuana. Under Virginia Code §18.2-250.1, possessing marijuana is subject to 30 days in jail plus up to a $500 fine. A second or subsequent offense is a Class 1 misdemeanor that has the potential of 12 months in jail and a $2,500 fine. For most people, those punishments are just the beginning. A conviction for possession of marijuana can affect employment, security clearances, access to federal student loans, and college admissions. In reality, these “collateral consequences” can far outweigh the government-imposed consequences.
Legalization of Marijuana
There is currently a strong movement for decriminalization of marijuana in Virginia. Virginia NORML is one organization who pursues this goal. They state their mission this way:
“To reform Virginia’s outdated marijuana policies so that responsible use by adults will no longer be subject to criminal prosecution and penalties.”
While the advocacy organizations work toward decriminalization, most admit that goal is a long-term one for Virginia. In the meantime, these organizations continue to advocate for reduced penalties, and to make medical usage more commonly available.
Virginia Beach Marijuana Defense Lawyer
For now, there are still many jurisdictions in Virginia that treat possession (and distribution) of marijuana as a very serious criminal charge. But there are available defenses for this charge, especially where the police have not acted in accord with your constitutional rights. I am proud to defend clients charged with possession of marijuana anywhere in Virginia Beach or anywhere in the Hampton Roads area, both southside and on the peninsula. Contact me for a free consultation on your case.
What to do when you’ve been accused of a crime.
If someone has accused you of a crime, there are some important steps you should take to protect your rights. In this article, we’ll discuss the things you should do when anyone — a police officer, citizen, your boss, etc. — accuses you of doing something criminal. We’re talking here about the threat of criminal prosecution. Some of these tips may also apply after you’ve been charged with a crime, but the main point here is to address situations where you have not yet been charged, but someone is threatening to have you charged.
As soon as the subject of criminal charges comes up, don’t talk. It is shocking how many people refuse to follow this simple advice. Each year prosecutors charge hundreds of thousands of people based only on things they admitted to, even when there is very little other evidence of a crime.
Everything you say — even what you say to other citizens, your friends, or your boss — can all be used against you in court. When someone accused you of a crime, it’s time for you to give them the silent treatment. Do not discuss the subject at all. You could unknowingly admit to important parts of a criminal offense. In one case, a defendant admitted to being in a particular city at a particular time, and the judge found him guilty of a crime that he otherwise would have been found not guilty of, if he had not admitted to his location. Simple innocent admissions can be placed into a context that hurts you. Just don’t talk when you’re accused of a crime.
Try to Resolve it Through A Lawyer
This method of avoiding criminal charges is common to financial crimes like embezzlement. Let’s say your boss accused you of misusing company money for your own personal expenses. This would be the crime of embezzlement. However, you could hire a lawyer to negotiate with your boss on your behalf and perhaps avoid a criminal prosecution. The lawyer would contact your boss and determine if he might accept a repayment of some or all of the money he says was misused, and in exchange agree not to press for criminal charges. This is sometimes referred to as an “accord and satisfaction”.
This negotiation, however, must always take place through your lawyer. If you attempt this alone, you may admit wrongdoing, which could be used against you in a criminal prosecution. Remember that an honest conversation with your own lawyer cannot be used against you. So the lawyer you have retained is the only person you can safely talk to openly.
Lower the temperature
When someone accused you of a crime, he or she was likely very angry. This is especially true if they accused you of domestic violence. Your goal should be to defuse and descalate the situation however you can. Threats or anger on your part will only make it worse. Try to remain calm, offer an apology, and if you are the target of anger, remove yourself from the situation until things calm down.
Virginia Beach Criminal Defense Attorney Braden Carroll has been recognized as a Super Lawyer “Rising Star” by the national Super Lawyers magazine. He continues a tradition of excellence by protecting his clients’ rights and helping those accused of a crime get their lives back and protect their good names. He serves Virginia Beach and all of Hampton Roads with top-notch criminal defense representation. Mr. Carroll is listed as a “Top Rated Criminal Defense Attorney” on Superlaywers.com, an honor he does not take lightly.
“Being known as a Rising Star in a legal market like Virginia Beach is an amazing opportunity. I’m proud that my firm provides excellent representation on such a wide range of criminal charges, and I like the opportunity to help my clients get second chances,” Carroll says. Running a busy criminal practice is a challenge, but exceptionally bright and well-connected lawyers like Mr. Carroll can make the court system more accessible and friendly to clients.
Mr. Carroll fights for clients in Virginia Beach, and all of the Hampton Roads area. Whether a misdemeanor or felony, every Virginia criminal charge is serious and you should have an excellent defense attorney on your side. Our firm represents people facing all kinds of traffic and criminal offenses and we’re proud to help people get a second chance and protect their constitutional rights.
BC Law is proud to be recognized in the legal community, and proud to serve each client with excellence.