Traffic Search and Seizure, Methamphetamine Charges
Recently in Abingdon, Virginia, a young woman was pulled over by police because it was noted that her car had an improper front license plate, according to the Bristol Herald Courier. The sheriff’s deputy who pulled her over found out that she also had an expired driver’s license, and that the passenger’s license was expired as well. Because of that, he searched the vehicle and found three small plastic bags of methamphetamine, as well as several empty bags. The woman was charged with possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.
Was the Search and Seizure Legal?
In Virginia, it is considered unlawful to search a person or their vehicle without probable cause. In other words, there must be reasonable grounds for making the stop, searching, or making an arrest or pressing charges. In the case above, the grounds for making the stop was that the license plate was incorrect. A defense to these charges, however, could be in the discovery that the license plate was just fine, or that the woman’s driver’s license was either up to date or never checked by the police officer. If it is found that there was never probable cause and that the search was illegal, charges, such as possession of drug charges, will not stick. An experienced attorney will explore every available option in your defense, including the possibility of an unlawful search.
Meth is a Schedule II Drug
Methamphetamine, or ‘meth’, is classified as a Schedule II drug in Virginia, meaning that it is considered by the state to be a highly addictive and dangerous substance. Because of that, the penalties for possessing, distributing, and manufacturing methamphetamine are very high. The level of punishment varies, depending on how much of the substance was found on the defendant’s person, property, or within their control. In the above news story, the woman will still face possession charges even though the bags of methamphetamine were not found on her person, but in her car.
A charge of simple possession of methamphetamine can result in one to 10 years in prison, or up to 12 months in jail at the discretion of the judge, according to Virginia statute 54.1-3448. If a larger amount of methamphetamine is possessed, the defendant may be charged with possession with intent to sell or distribute, which is a much harsher penalty.
Possession with Intent to Sell or Distribute Methamphetamine
Manufacturing methamphetamine or a mixture of methamphetamine, selling, giving, distributing, or possessing with the intent to carry out one of those objectives is punishable by five to 40 years in prison, or five years to life in prison depending on the quantity produced. Fines can be up to $500,000 or up to $1,000,000, according to Virginia statute § 18.2-248.
Call the Criminal Defense Attorneys of Simms Showers Today
If you have been charged with possession of a scheduled substance or have been the victim of an unlawful search that lead to your arrest, do not hesitate to call the criminal defense attorneys at Simms Showers, LLP today at 703-997-782.