Drug Charge Defense Lawyer

Richmond Drug Charge Lawyer Fights for Your Rights

Drug ChargesIf you have been arrested and charged with a drug offense in Virginia, you will be facing serious consequences, as many drug charges carry the possibility of a prison sentence. In addition, a conviction means having a criminal record that may forever affect your education, job, housing possibilities, and your family and social relationships.

With penalties so severe, this is not something you should attempt to fight on your own. If you have been accused of a drug crime, you need a skilled lawyer to fight for your rights and your freedom.

Drug defense attorney Cody Villalon has 12 years of experience successfully fighting for the rights of people who have been accused. He knows the courts, the prosecutors, and the system, and will explore your defense options to negotiate or litigate for a dismissal or a lesser penalty.

Why Call Cody Villalon?

Cody is a hard-working solo practitioner who genuinely cares about clients’ well-being. He takes a personal interest in every case and never hands his cases off to another attorney. He believes that everyone charged with a crime is guaranteed rights under the law and deserves to be treated with basic human dignity. He will be there for you throughout the entire legal process, addressing your questions and concerns, and aggressively fighting to have your drug charges lowered or dismissed.

Our firm offers a free consultation to analyze your case and determine the best way to move forward. Take the first step in protecting your rights by calling us today.

How Our Drug Charge Defense Lawyer Can Help You

Virginia drug laws are especially strict. Arrests can be made for drug possession, manufacturing, distribution, or possession with the intent to manufacture or distribute. Even simple possession of many substances can be a felony. However, being arrested and charged with a drug offense doesn’t have to mean you’ll be found guilty. With the help of an experienced criminal defense lawyer who knows Virginia criminal and constitutional law, you may have a basis for a drug charge defense that can allow you to obtain a favorable plea bargain agreement, reduce charges to avoid prison, or have your charges dropped completely.

When you have the Cody Villalon legal team on your side, we will:

  • Listen to you explain what happened and examine the evidence available to find the best way to defend you based on the facts of your drug arrest
  • Look for mistakes made by the police or prosecution in the handling of your case and violations of your rights and use them to build your case
  • Examine police reports and testing and lab reports to see if mistakes were made or they were done improperly
  • Prepare you for all hearings and court appearances so you know what to expect and how to act, and prevent you from saying or doing anything that would hurt your case
  • Ensure all required forms are filed correctly and in a timely manner, and that all court appearances and requirements are met
  • Negotiate and plea bargain with prosecutors for a lesser charge
  • Build your defense and take your case to trial if necessary

Cody Villalon knows that you have many rights under the law, including the right to remain silent and not answer questions by police unless an attorney is present. You have the right to refuse to say anything to incriminate yourself, to confront witnesses against you, to have a public, speedy jury trial, and to be represented by an attorney. We will aggressively fight to make sure your rights are upheld.

Richmond Drug Crimes Lawyer Explains Virginia Drug Laws and Charges

Is it a Controlled Substance?

According to Virginia’s Drug Control Act, (Va. Code § 54.1-3401) a controlled substance means a drug, substance, or immediate precursor listed according to their potential for abuse, harm, and medical use in Schedules I through VI. Virginia’s Act reflects the drug classifications used in the federal Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970. Schedule I and II offenses are considered to be felonies and are punished the most harshly.

Schedules are as follows:

Schedule I (Va. Code § 54.1-3446) covers substances with a high potential for abuse and no safely accepted medical use. Common Schedule I substances include recreational drugs such as heroin, LSD, and ecstasy.

Schedule II (Va. Code § 54.1-3448) covers substances that have a high potential for abuse and may lead to severe psychic or physical dependence, but have currently accepted medical use with severe restrictions.  These include opium and opiates, fentanyl and hydrocodone, morphine, oxycodone, adderall, methamphetamine, and cocaine are in this category.

Schedule III drugs have less potential for abuse, a potential for moderate dependency and an accepted medical use. Anabolic steroids and codeine fall into this category.

Schedule IV drugs have less potential for abuse than Schedule III drugs, a limited potential for dependency, and are accepted in medical treatment.

Schedule IV drugs include Valium, Xanax and other tranquilizers and sedatives.

Schedule V drugs have a low potential for abuse, limited risk for dependency and accepted medical uses. These include drugs like cough medicines with codeine.

Schedule VI includes certain substances which are not “drugs” in the conventional sense but are nonetheless used or abused recreationally. These include toluene (found in many types of paint, especially spray paint) and similar inhalants found in many types of aerosol cans.

Schedules III to V include drugs that have less potential for abuse than Schedule I or II and they have more medical purposes, so include many prescription drugs such as Xanax and Ambien and cough medicines with codeine. Possession without a prescription, or selling, manufacturing, or distributing these drugs and substances are considered criminal acts.

What are Types of Drug Crimes in Virginia?

The three major types of drug crimes are drug possession, drug distribution, and drug manufacturing.

Drug possession occurs when a person possesses any controlled substance without a valid prescription.

Drug sale or distribution occurs when a person sells, provides, gives away, delivers, or distributes a controlled substance.

Drug manufacturing occurs when a person produces or possesses chemicals used in the manufacture of a controlled substance with the intent to manufacture.

Drug Defense Lawyer Knows Potential Punishments for Drug Crimes

Penalties Vary According to the Circumstances of the Case

According to Virginia law, possession of any controlled substance without a prescription classified in Schedule I or II of the Drug Control Act are a Class 5 felony and carry the stiffest penalty compared to other schedules of drugs. Possession of any Schedule III through Schedule VI controlled substance is charged as a misdemeanor.

Potential penalties depend on the schedule of controlled substance and whether the crime involves possession, sale or distribution, or manufacturing drugs, as follows:

Possession

  • For Schedule I or II, possession is a Class 5 felony. Penalties include imprisonment of one to 10 years, or jail for up to 12 months and a fine of up to $2,500. If the possession involves simultaneous possession of a firearm on or about the person there is a mandatory 2 year prison sentence.
  • For Schedule III, it is a Class 1 misdemeanor, with jail for up to 12 months and a fine of up to $2,500.
  • For Schedule IV, it is a Class 2 misdemeanor, with jail for up to six months and a fine of up to $1,000.
  • For Schedule V, it is a Class 3 misdemeanor, with a fine of up to $500.
  • For Schedule VI, it is Class 4 misdemeanor with a fine of up to $250.

Intent to Sell or Distribute

  • Schedule I or II is a felony, with five to 40 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000. For a second conviction, there is the possibility of life imprisonment. A third offense can carry up to life and a mandatory 10-year prison sentence.
  • Intent to sell a schedule I or II substance with a firearm carries a mandatory 5-year prison sentence.
  • Schedules III, IV, or V is a misdemeanor, with jail for up to one year and a fine of up to $2,500.
Cody Villalon knows how these punishments can ruin a person’s life and will do everything possible to build a defense that results in a lesser charge or a dismissal of these charges.

How to Fight a Drug Charge in Virginia

Defense Strategies We Use to Help Your Case

When you are faced with drug charges, it’s important to do everything possible to avoid a conviction. Depending on the circumstances, there are several approaches we can take, including showing:

  • Lack of evidence that you were aware of the drugs or that authorities violated your rights during their search of your property for evidence. We can ask the court to throw out any evidence that was gathered during an illegal search.
  • You did not have the drug in your actual possession when arrested. We may be able to build a case if you were in the vicinity of a drug but did not actually have it on your person.
  • Arresting officers or prosecutors did not do things according to law, such as failing to read you your Miranda rights to remain silent or to have an attorney during questioning.
  • There was a lack of reasonable suspicion or probable cause. Without this, your resulting drug arrest can be deemed invalid, and charges against you would be dismissed.
  • You qualify for Virginia’s First Offender Program. This program (called a “251 program”) is to rehabilitate rather than punish first-time drug offenders. You must have permission from the judge and will be given a probation period. If you are successful, you can still have the case dism
  • You are able to have your case moved to a specific drug court that deals exclusively with drug-related cases and focuses on recovery. You will have to plead guilty and make regular court appearances.

Lawyer for Drug Charges Answers Questions and Addresses Concerns

Being faced with drug charges is a frightening experience, as consequences are potentially severe. It’s natural to have concerns and wonder just what you are up against. Here are some answers to questions Cody Villalon is often asked:

Should I make a plea deal?

This depends on the circumstances of your arrest. To advise you we would need to understand the entire case and your individual needs. Before you agree to a plea deal, we would explain everything involved and tell you whether it was a good idea.

When can I get my case dropped?

Not every case will get dropped but we will always pursue this option first if available. You may be able to argue that the court should entirely drop your case. Sometimes the Commonwealth will agree to this if they agree a mistake was made or if they can’t prove the charges. Other times it needs to be argued in court. For example, this can happen if you were arrested without probable cause and the evidence against you becomes inadmissible. Alternatively, it could potentially result at the end of a trial or after agreed rehabilitation.

What if I possess or distribute drugs at school?

The school is required by law to notify the local law enforcement agency when any student has committed certain offenses, including a controlled substance violation. You will be subject to both school disciplinary action and criminal action, which can include expulsion.

Does driving while intoxicated include drugs or just alcohol?

In Virginia, you can be charged with a DUI/DWI while you are under the influence of any controlled substance. The statute says that it is illegal for any person to drive a car while under the influence of any narcotic drug or any other self-administered intoxicant or drug or any combination of such drugs, to a degree which impairs ability to drive or operate any motor vehicle. You can be charged even if you have a valid prescription.

What is drug trafficking?

Drug trafficking is the possession of large quantities of illegal drugs associated with sale for profit of the drugs rather than personal consumption.

When can I be charged with possession?

For you to be charged with drug possession, you simply must be aware of the drugs and have them under your control. However, if officers find illegal drugs in your possession, they will also look for signs that you actually were involved in distribution, such as having large quantities of the drug, or having packaging or scales. In this case, charges and consequences will be increased.

What if a law enforcement officer finds drugs in my possession?

The law enforcement officer will confiscate the controlled substance and charge you with possession of a controlled substance. You should always invoke your right to remain silent.

How much do lawyers charge for drug cases?

Legal fees vary, depending on the seriousness of the charges, whether the offense is a felony or misdemeanor, the evidence against you, and the complexity of the case. When you contact Cody Villalon, we will speak to you to find out the facts and review the evidence against you and determine what will be involved to resolve the case. We will then work out a fee structure that allows the time and effort needed to get the best outcome. Consultations are free and you will receive a quote before you proceed.

Call Cody Villalon for the Best Drug Defense Strategy

Cody Villalon believes that we are guaranteed rights under the law, but they exist only as long as there are people that are willing to defend them. As an experienced Richmond defense lawyer, he is proud of the work he does and will aggressively fight for your rights and the type of world he wants his own children to live in. He provides skilled, aggressive legal representation to ensure that his clients have been treated fairly.

Don’t risk your future. Call us today for a free, confidential consultation if you are facing any type of drug charges and let us show you what we can do to help. Time is of the essence when you are placed under arrest; the sooner you contact us, the sooner we can start working for you and fighting for your rights and freedom.

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    I offer free confidential consultations and am available in Richmond and all surrounding counties. I am willing to make jail visits as well.