Law Offices of Christie A. Leary P.C.

Fairfax/Manassas Criminal & Personal Injury Blog

People in Virginia who are dealing with drug charges must fully grasp all the various issues they will face from the time they are charged all the way through to the trial. A concern that must be factored in to any arrest related to drug offenses is whether the accused will face federal charges. One potential crime that can lead to federal charges is if there is an accusation that the defendant maintained a drug-involved premises. The penalties for this crime can result in serious consequences if there is a conviction.

It is against the law to open, lease, rent, use or maintain a location while knowing that it is being used to manufacture, distribute, or use a controlled substance. Moreover, it is illegal for a person to manage or control a property, and knowingly rent, lease, profit from, or allow others to use it for the distribution, storage, manufacture or use of a controlled substance. Both of these laws are in effect whether the location was being used for these purposes permanently or temporarily.

The criminal penalties that a person who is convicted on these charges will face are a jail sentence of up to 20 years, a fine of up to $500,000 or both. The civil penalties for maintaining a property used for drug offenses can be a fine of up to $250,000 or two times the gross receipts - known or estimated - that came from the violations that can be attributed to that person. If the civil penalties are in conjunction with criminal penalties and there is more than a single defendant, the court can spread the penalties among multiple defendants.

It is possible that a person was completely unaware that a property was being used for drugs in any way. He or she might not have understood that simply being involved by leasing, renting or providing a location for drug activities, could result in drug charges. No matter the circumstances, speaking to an attorney experienced in providing a defense on federal narcotics charges is imperative when arrested on drug offenses.

Source: deadiversion.usdoj.gov, "Part D -- Offenses and Penalties -- 856. Maintaining drug-involved premises," accessed on Jan. 10, 2016

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