Halloween Performer Charged with Possession of Marijuana in Purcellville
A performer from Maryland was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana at a Halloween block party in Purcellville, Virginia, according to an article by the Loudoun Times-Mirror. In addition to the drug crime charges, this Halloween performer also faces a driving charge.
This incident occurred on October 26th at approximately 6 p.m. Near the intersection of 21st and West Main streets, the Halloween performer drove up to the block party and attempted to park. An officer with the Purcellville Police Department who was working security detected the odor of marijuana and stopped the vehicle.
Upon further investigation, the police officer discovered marijuana inside the Halloween performer’s vehicle. After the arrest, the authorities charged the Halloween performer with possession of marijuana. Thereafter, the Halloween performer secured a bond for his release from the Loudoun County Adult Detention Center.
While the Halloween performer awaits the next steps in his legal case, it seems like a good time to examine Virginia laws against and penalties for possession of marijuana.
Virginia Laws Against Possession of Marijuana
The laws against possession of marijuana appear under Code of Virginia Section 18.2-250.1. This section makes it unlawful to knowingly possess marijuana. In order to qualify as a crime, a person must know — or have a reason to know — that they are in possession of marijuana.
There are several exceptions to Section 18.2-250.1. A person with a valid prescription may possess medical marijuana under specific circumstances. The Virginia Drug Control Act also allows certain individuals and businesses to possess marijuana in tightly controlled circumstances. And law enforcement officers are allowed to possess marijuana when necessary to perform their official duties.
Virginia Penalties for Possession of Marijuana
Section 18.2-250.1 also establishes the penalties for unlawful possession of marijuana. Depending on the number of previous offenses, if any, the penalty can become much more severe. For example:
- First Offense — Constitutes a misdemeanor offense, punishable by a maximum of 30 days in jail and $500 in fines.
- Second or Subsequent Offense — Constitutes a Class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum of 12 months in jail and $2,500 in fines.
In addition to the standard penalties above, Code of Virginia Section 18.2-251 provides a special program for first-time offenders. Instead of a conviction, this section authorizes the Virginia courts to place a first-time offender on probation. The offender must satisfy all probationary requirements, including drug and alcohol screening and substance abuse training. Otherwise, they can face a conviction and the criminal penalty structure described previously.
Do You Need Legal Help?
If you have legal questions about charges for unlawful possession of marijuana in Virginia, it can be thoroughly constructive to speak with an adept criminal defense lawyer. The Leesburg drug crime lawyers at Simms Showers LLP have many years of combined legal experience in matters of criminal defense, including drug crimes like unlawful possession of marijuana. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free initial consultation.