The opioid epidemic has made the possession and distribution of fentanyl a major focus of law enforcement. As a result, someone found in possession of fentanyl must be aware that their case will garner extra scrutiny from police, prosecutors and judges.
Possession of Fentanyl
In Virginia, the possession of fentanyl is an extremely serious offense. A conviction for possession marks a person with a felony record. This conviction deprives a person of their rights and creates difficulties securing employment. The penalties for possession include incarceration for up to 10 years and a fine for as much as 2,500 dollars.
As a result of these serious consequences, Dischley Law’s attorneys will fight to secure your best possible outcome. This can be in the form of a “First Offender” disposition or negotiating with prosecutors for an alternative disposition.
As an alternative to saddling a person with a felony conviction for the possession of fentanyl, the Court has as an option the “First Offender” program. Generally, if this is your first time charged with a drug offense, you are eligible to have your charge dropped pursuant to meeting certain conditions of the Court.
In the “First Offender” program, a person will plead guilty to the charge in question but the Court will withhold a finding of guilt. Instead the case will be continued for a year and a person will be put on probation. They will be required to meet with their probation officer, attempt to secure employment, complete 100 hours of community service and take drug screens. After a year of good behavior and meeting all the requirements of the Court, the charge will be dismissed.
Distribution and Possession with the Intent to Distribute Fentanyl
Due to the gravity of the opioid epidemic, law enforcement and prosecutors treat the Distribution and Possession with the Intent to Distribute Fentanyl very seriously. The penalties for such offenses are severe. For a first conviction, a person can be sentenced to not less than five years and not more than forty years of incarceration along with a fine not to exceed 500,000 dollars. Consequently, a person charged with such an offense needs the best possible legal team to fight for their charge to be dropped or reduced.
Distribution offenses are generally involve the selling of a substance to a undercover police officer. Under those circumstances, we will review discovery to ensure that a person was not entrapped by law enforcement and thereby induced to commit a crime they otherwise never would have committed. If such inducement can be shown, we will fight to have the case dismissed.
Possession with Intent to Distribute Fentanyl cases require a different type of analysis. In those cases, it must be shown that the fentanyl possessed was not for personal use. An expert will need to testify that what a person possessed was inconsistent with personal use. Experts will point to:
- The weight of the substance seized,
- The manner it was packaged,
- The presence of paraphernalia consistent with drug distribution,
- Evidence located upon a person’s cell phone indicative of distribution,
- The presence of large amounts of currency,
- The presence of firearms.
As a result, Attorneys with Dischley Law will examine every factor and piece of evidence in possession of the Commonwealth. We will fight to prove that the drugs in question cannot be connected to a person or that the evidence simply does not support the conclusion that possession was with the intent to distribute.