Possession of a controlled substance, such as cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, or methamphetamine, is a Class 5 felony in Virginia, punishable by up to ten years in prison, a $2,500 fine, and a mandatory six month loss of your driver’s license. People are often shocked to discover that even the residue of a controlled substance can lead to a serious felony charge. More so than nearly any other area of the law, a possession of a controlled substance charge requires an attorney who stays up to date on the ever changing case law in this area and who is experienced in filing motions to suppress the Commonwealth’s evidence that was obtained illegally.
ACTUAL VS. CONSTRUCTIVE POSSESSION OF A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE
Possession of a controlled substance in Virginia can be either actual or constructive. Actual possession is exactly what it sounds like—holding a drug in your hand or having it in your pocket or purse. Constructive possession is when you are in the vicinity of a drug and you are deemed to have knowledge of both the fact that it is present and knowledge of what the substance actually is. For instance, if a police officer performs a search of your vehicle and discovers cocaine in your glove compartment, you might be accused of constructively possessing the cocaine if it can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that you knew the cocaine was in the glove compartment. A constructive possession case presents a number of opportunities for a skilled defense attorney. There are thousands of appellate cases dealing with constructive possession. A constructive possession case requires close coordination with your attorney, as even the smallest facts can be critical in winning a constructive possession case.
Any possession of a controlled substance case requires a careful analysis of how the drug was discovered in the first place. More so than any other area of the law, a possession case can frequently be won without even going to trial in a motion to suppress hearing. Obviously, the police are not allowed to perform searches without some compelling legal justification. Frequently, people are charged with possessing a controlled substance after a traffic stop. This presents an opportunity to suppress the Commonwealth’s evidence—meaning that the Commonwealth would not be allowed to even mention discovering a suspected controlled substance at trial because a constitutional or other legal right was violated in the process. This results in the dismissal of the charge, as the Commonwealth would then have no evidence that the law was broken.
WHY GOFF VOLTIN?
The attorneys at Goff Voltin have handled, and won, numerous cases involving possession of a controlled substance. We have won possession of a controlled substance cases in Newport News, Williamsburg, Hampton, and in numerous other jurisdictions throughout Hampton Roads.For a small sample of some of our victories in this area, check out our Case Results. We always offer free consultations to listen to your issue and explain how we can be effective advocates for you in court. Call the office today to set up a free consultation.