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Loudoun County Attorneys > Blog > Criminal Defense > Woman Sentenced To Eight Months For Drug Trafficking

Woman Sentenced To Eight Months For Drug Trafficking


According to prosecutors, the 37-year-old woman sold a mixture of fentanyl and heroin to a confidential informant.

According to court documents and statements made in court, the woman sold a quantity of heroin to a confidential informant at a Shady Spring residence where she was staying. State police confirmed the controlled substance contained heroin and fentanyl.

United States Attorney Will Thompson made the announcement and commended the investigative work of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) and the Beckley/Raleigh County Drug and Violent Crime Unit. The Beckley/Raleigh County Drug and Violent Crime Unit consists of officers from the West Virginia State Police, the Raleigh County Sheriff’s Department, and the Beckley Police Department.

Informant Testimony

A few confidential informants are more like whistleblowers. They voluntarily step forward to expose criminal activity. However, almost all CIs have much less lofty motives. Paid informants often receive tens of thousands of dollars for a single tip. Other CIs provide information to law enforcement officers hoping for leniency in their own cases. Still others have an ax to grind and simply want the defendant to get in trouble.

In other words, most CIs provide information for love or money. Many people will say practically anything for love or money. Therefore, courts scrutinize informer tips very closely. Some factors to consider include:

  • Track record,
  • Corroborating proof, even if it’s unrelated to the information provided (e.g. the drug dealer drives a red pickup),
  • Recency of the tip, and
  • Informer’s identity (“anonymous” tips are almost per se unreliable).

When evaluating CIs, only the process matters. Prosecutors cannot argue that if the CI provided accurate information, that information must have been reliable.

If a search or arrest warrant over-relies on less-than-credible CI testimony, a Fairfax criminal defense attorney may be able to get the matter thrown out of court.

Sentencing Options in CI Drug Trafficking Cases

Inaccurate chemical tests are another possible defense in drug trafficking cases. The results or process may be tainted. However, this defense usually isn’t available. If the judge finds that the CI’s testimony is reliable, a Fairfax criminal defense attorney usually starts looking at plea bargain options.

Probation is usually available in state court offenses, even if the defendant has a criminal record. No one wants to go to jail, but probation may not be the best option in some situations. Quite simply, many people aren’t good candidates for probation. They have issues with authority or they have trouble being at certain places at certain times.

An attorney can file a motion for early discharge once the defendant completes part of the probation. That means an early end to court supervision. However, judges usually only grant such motions if the defendant has a near-perfect record.

In these situations, a brief jail sentence may be a better option. That’s especially true if the offense is a misdemeanor, which means the defendant serves time in the local county jail.

Most jails are either overcrowded or borderline overcrowded. In these situations, county sherrifs often offer incentives like three-for-one credit to reduce the jail population.

Other jail alternatives, like work release, are usually available as well. The defendant checks out of jail early in the morning so s/he can shower and otherwise get ready for work. Usually, the defendant need not check back into jail until late in the evening, perhaps around 8:00.

That’s certainly not an ideal solution. However, two or three weeks of work release might be better than eight or nine months of probation, especially if there’s a good chance the defendant will violate probation and serve jail time anyway.

Reach Out to a Compassionate Loudoun County Lawyer

There’s a big difference between an arrest and a conviction in criminal law. For a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Fairfax, contact Simms Showers, LLP, Attorneys at Law. The sooner you reach out to us, the sooner we start fighting for you.



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