If you have been charged with Possession of a Schedule I Controlled Substance, you may be concerned about your future and what the consequences may be. Knowing what to do after your charge is an important part of ensuring that you make wise decisions about how to handle your case and set yourself up for success.
The Penalties Of A Schedule I Substance Charge
In order to determine the penalties that an individual may be subject to for a possession charge, you must first understand the drug schedule. This ranking system serves as a hierarchy that categorizes controlled substances based upon a number of factors: how addictive they are, whether they serve a medicinal purpose and whether they are safe under medical supervision. Schedule I controlled substances rank at the very top of the hierarchy as the most dangerous; they serve no medical function, so they are only used for their addictive properties.
Individuals have no reason to possess these substances since they do not serve a medical purpose; therefore, the penalties associated with this charge are the most severe. Possession of a Schedule I substance is typically considered a felony, and for a first offense you may still face penalties as serious as one (1) year in jail and/or up to a fine of $2,500. These are not mutually exclusive; you may receive both.
Steps To Take When You Are Charged
Once you have been charged with Possession of a Schedule I Controlled Substance, it is important to act quickly to protect your best interests. A Schedule I possession charge does not have to have a negative impact on your plans for the future, but you must wisely approach your next steps so that you can see the best outcome possible.
Find A Criminal Defense Attorney
The first step you should consider after being charged with Schedule I possession is to choose a criminal defense attorney to represent you. An attorney’s job is to represent you through the legal process of your case. It may involve a strategy to cast reasonable doubt on the case presented by the prosecution. That may include challenging the type or amount of the substance that you possessed or arguing the validity of the possession.
Understand Your Charges & Possible Consequences
It is also critical that you understand the charges and their potential consequences. Felony crimes are subdivided into six classes. Each class carries different penalties involving minimums and maximums with regard to imprisonment and fines.
If you were found to have intent to sell or distribute the Schedule I substance, your penalties will be more severe than a simple possession. In some cases, your assets may be seized, which can include relevant property.
Don’t Speak To Law Officials Without Attorney Present
You have the right to remain silent during your interactions with law enforcement officers. It is encouraged to remain silent and not to speak with anyone in the absence of your attorney. Your statements will be used in the case against you. Your attorney will advise you of what you may discuss and with whom.
Seek Drug Treatment
Enrolling in a drug treatment program can be an important step after your possession charge. It will provide you with valuable life skills, demonstrate to the court your intent to avoid repeat offenses and that you are taking the charge seriously. This can lead to more favorable sentencing.
Look Into First Possession Program
Depending on where you live, you may be eligible for Virginia’s first time offender program. If this is your first charge of possession of a controlled substance, you may be eligible to have your penalties reduced or your case dismissed.
In exchange, you will be required to agree to a variety of stipulations, such as submitting to random drug tests, temporarily having your driver’s license suspended, performing community service (for a felony, this is typically for about I00 hours and up to 24 hours of community service for a misdemeanor.), or attending a drug remediation and education program. Your attorney will provide more details about how this option may benefit you if it is available in your area.
Reach Out To Our Professional Criminal Defense Attorney
As you consider what to do next after being charged with Possession of a Schedule I Controlled Substance, be sure to discuss your situation with an experienced criminal defense attorney to achieve the best outcome. The Law Offices of Kermit A. Monge will gladly represent you and explain all of the options available based on your specific situation. We will advocate for you to secure the most favorable result in your case.