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Many people in Virginia get charged with multiple counts of drug possession and distribution, depending on the quantity of the drugs and paraphernalia found, the type of drugs found and the circumstances surrounding the arrest. However, anytime a person is charged with drug possession, it is the prosecutor's job to prove all elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.

According to Virginia law, possession refers to having access and control to a drug or any paraphernalia that is primarily used for drug use or manufacturing. If a prosecutor charges a person with possession, he or she will have to prove that the accused was aware that they were possessing a controlled substance and that it was reasonably within their control. If a person is charged with simple possession, it means that the prosecutor has reason to believe that the accused only had the drugs for their own personal use.

However, if a person is charged with possession with an intent to distribute, this means that the prosecutor thinks that the accused had the intent to later sell the drugs to others. Prosecutors may determine that a person has the intent to distribute based on the quantity of the drugs they possess. The law is focused on punishing and stopping drug dealers, so possession with intent to distribute will often carry more significant penalties than simple possession.

The type of drugs a person possesses will also impact their potential consequences. For example, possession of marijuana generally results in less severe consequences than possessing cocaine or heroin. It is important to understand the potential consequences a person may face if they are convicted of drug possession charges.

Source: FindLaw, "Drug Possession Overview," accessed April 8, 2018

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