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Marijuana charges: Less chance of arrest in Virginia?

If you've been caught with marijuana in your possession in Virginia, you might think that you won't be penalized heavily, but the truth is that the manner in which people are arrested and prosecuted can vary in the state. The last thing you want to have to deal with is a case where you're being used as an example, which could happen if it's found that the police are being too easy on those caught with the drug. In any situation where you're in trouble with the law, working with your attorney can be helpful for protecting your reputation while you await a trial.

Marijuana arrests are down in the state of Virginia, which is interesting for those who are working toward legalization. The number of people arrested and charged with marijuana-related offenses has dropped by 14 percent over the time period between 2013 and 2015. In 2016, the number of arrests is expected to drop again.

One reason for a lower number of arrests may be due to changing perceptions of the drug in American culture. As it becomes legal in other states, it forces state law enforcement agencies to look at how they're treating offenders in their own state. While it may not be legal yet, it could be in the future, and that's something the police and attorneys have to look at. As of December 2016, around 60 percent of people in America believe marijuana should be legalized.

Another possibility is a lack of resources for prosecution purposes. Prosecutors in Hampton and New Port News reported that between 2012 and 2013, they no longer would prosecute adult misdemeanor marijuana possession cases, saving their resources for other felony prosecutions.

A lack of prosecution doesn't mean there's a lack of arrests or that police aren't stopping those who are found smoking or carrying marijuana. Tickets are still a possibility, and fines can add up.

Source: Daily Press, "Enforcement up in smoke? Marijuana arrests down sharply across state, region," Peter Dujardin, Dec. 03, 2016

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