This is the fourth post in my series on what out of town residents need to know about marijuana laws in the Commonwealth of Virginia. My last post discussed specialized issues military members face when they are arrested and charged with marijuana possession in civilian court. In this post I will be discussing information out of town guests need to know about how to handle your case following an arrest in Virginia.
Misdemeanor marijuana possession charges can frequently be handled without having to return to Virginia
Out of town guests who are arrested on possession charges frequently wonder if they will be required to spend an excessive amount of time traveling back to Virginia in order to handle their legal matter. In some states it is possible to handle a misdemeanor without having to appear in court. However, in Virginia, all class 1 misdemeanors require the appearance of the defendant. In rare cases, it may be possible to petition the court ahead of time to proceed in the defendant’s absence, but this would require special circumstances. The bottom line is if you are arrested for marijuana possession in Virginia, you will likely have to travel back to the state to handle the offense.
If you plea or are found guilty of a misdemeanor charge, your permission to drive a vehicle in Virginia is automatically suspended for six months. Whether or not your driver’s license will be suspended in your home state is dependent on the state you live in and whether or not Virginia exercises reciprocity with your state. Virginia’s DMV has the option of sending a notice to your state’s DMV. Your state DMV may then send you a notice informing you that your driver’s license has been suspended. Until the notice is issued, you are free to continue driving in your own state and other states except for Virginia. It is possible that your home state will not suspend your license at all. However, do not attempt to dodge a notice from your DMV- if the notice is issued, your license will be suspended whether you receive their letter or not.
Persons who are arrested and live outside of Virginia must not ignore their legal issues
The biggest mistake you can make is to ignore the charges against you once you go home after being arrested in Virginia. Following your arrest, you will be given a court date for your next hearing. If you do not hire an attorney to represent you, and do not show up for your scheduled court date, a warrant will be issued for your arrest. This warrant will be entered into a national data base and will apply throughout the United States. You will be arrested on site if you are stopped for a traffic ticket or attempt to board an airplane. You will also face further legal consequences for not appearing in court when scheduled. Do not make your legal situation worse by attempting to dodge the law. If you live outside of the state and require the services of a Virginia attorney then contact our office today. We are able to conduct phone consultations. In addition to Virginia Beach, we service Norfolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Newport News, Hampton, Williamsburg, and Yorktown, as well as in the surrounding counties of Northampton, Isle of Wight, York, and James City.