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Monday, October 29, 2007

WOLFTRAP AND MARIJUANA POSSESSION

The public should be aware that there are Fairfax County Officers and United States Park Police routinely patrolling the parking areas and concert grounds looking for individuals and groups smoking marijuana as well as looking for underage consumption of alcohol.

Gross & Romanick, P.C. has represented a number of individuals charged with possession of marijuana and underage possession of alcohol at the Wolftrap National Park for the Performing Arts. The majority of these officers are in plainclothes and not easily identifiable. Persons charged are typically detained for a short period of time and issued a summons to appear in either Federal or State Court.

Those charged by Fairfax County officers will have to appear in the Fairfax County General District Court. Under state law, possession of marijuana in an amount less than ½ ounce is a misdemeanor offense in Virginia. If convicted, first time offenders face the possibility of being sentenced to up to thirty days in jail, being fined up to $500, and losing their driver’s license for up to six months. They will also be required to partake in a probationary treatment program consisting of drug education courses and mandatory drug screenings. Multiple time offenders and those caught with larger quantities of marijuana face more significant penalties.

Those charged by federal officers will have to appear in the U.S. District Court in Alexandria. Under federal law, marijuana is a Schedule I substance under the federal Controlled Substances Act, and possession of marijuana is a misdemeanor offense. If convicted of possession of any amount, first time offenders face the possibility of being sentenced to up to one year in prison and being assessed a minimum fine of $1,000. For a second conviction, the penalties increase to a 15-day mandatory minimum jail sentence with a maximum of two years in prison and a minimum fine of $2,500. Persons charged may also be subject to an onerous pre-trial probationary period involving mandatory drug screens.

Possession of Marijuana is illegal under Virginia and Federal Law and a person should never illegally possess and smoke marijuana. It is particularly foolish to engage in such illegal conduct on federal property such as the Wolftrap National Park. If you are charged with possession of marijuana or underage possession of alcohol, whether wrongfully or rightfully, it is imperative that you retain an attorney to represent you in Court. The attorneys at Gross & Romanick, P.C. are experienced in this area and can use their expertise to zealously defend your rights.

Contact Gross & Romanick today at 703-273-1400 to retain an attorney.