Thanks for the information.
1. Will your son be able to travel home for the holidays?
If the case is still pending, it is entirely up to the judge as to whether your son can travel home. Your son's attorney can ask the judge to allow him a travel permit to travel home. The judge will require the date he will be leaving WV and the date he will be returning. The judge will also require who your son will be staying with as well as a telephone number that he can be reached. The judge may also require how your son will travel home (eg. plane, car, train, etc.) and who he will be traveling with. All of these things may be required so that the judge has assurance that your son will return to court
to resolve the pending case.
If the case has been resolved (doubtful, but possible), and your son is on probation, it will be up to the probation officer as to whether s/he will make a recommendation to the judge to allow your son a travel permit to return home for the holidays. If your son is is compliance with any terms of probation set forth by the judge, it is more likely that your son will be allowed to return home.
If the case is pending (more likely than not), then your son's attorney can present an argument to the judge as to why your son should be allowed a travel permit to return home. For example, your son has never been in ANY trouble, he will be staying with you, you will make sure that your son returns back to WV to resolve the case, etc. Your son may have to take a drug test before he is allowed to leave WV and again when he returns. Again, the final determination will be made by the judge.
2. With respect to the likely outcome of the case, it is impossible for me to give you a specific answer. I do not know the facts of the case, the evidence that the prosecutor has against your son, any defenses your son may have, etc.
That being said, being arrested for the intent to distribute drugs faces substantial penalties if convicted. That is because West Virginia takes the unlawful selling and distribution of drugs very seriously. Police arrest on charges of unlawful intent to distribute based on the amount of drugs in the suspect’s possession. Distribution applies to the “local” dealer who sells in a limited area, just as it applies to those higher up in the distribution chain who sell across the country or even into other countries.
Distribution charges may also be made against a suspect if law enforcement finds drug distribution paraphernalia such as a large amount of cash, a scale, baggies, or other tools of the trade in a suspect’s possession. Depending on how the drug is packaged and where it was found, a suspect may face a distribution charge along with a drug possession charge. Distribution does not just mean the sale of drugs, but also includes the transportation of drugs.
Various factors can affect the penalties for a charge of intent to distribute drugs. Some of those factors include the type of drug, the amount of drug, and the suspect’s previous criminal record. Attempted sale to minors is also a very significant factor that enhances the penalties, along with distributing drugs near a school, park, or playground.
THERE IS A CHANCE THAT YOUR SON MAY BE ELIGIBLE FOR A CONDITONAL DISCHARGE FOR FIRST OFFENSE OF POSSESSION. If your son's attorney is able to enter into a plea bargain with the prosecutor, it is POSSIBLE that if your son pleads guilty, if he complies with any and all terms of a probation as set forth by the court, at the end of probation the charges will be dismissed and he will NOT HAVE A CRIMINAL RECORD.
The above is VERY important. If your son has a drug conviction, it can SERIOUSLY impact his ability to obtain employment, he will lose his drivers license, he will lose any government student loans and/or grants, he may be denied admission to graduate school and may be prohibited from obtaining professional licenses or other work related licenses.
Below is the WV statute for a conditional discharge.
§60A-4-407. Conditional discharge for first offense of possession.
(a) Whenever any person who has not previously been convicted of any offense under this chapter or under any statute of the United States or of any state relating to narcotic drugs, marihuana, or stimulant, depressant, or hallucinogenic drugs, pleads guilty to or is found guilty of possession of a controlled substance under section 401(c), the court, without entering a judgment of guilt and with the consent of the accused, may defer further proceedings and place him or her on probation upon terms and conditions. Upon violation of a term or condition, the court may enter an adjudication of guilt and proceed as otherwise provided. Upon fulfillment of the terms and conditions, the court shall discharge the person and dismiss the proceedings against him or her. Discharge and dismissal under this section shall be without adjudication of guilt and is not a conviction for purposes of this section or for purposes of disqualifications or disabilities imposed by law upon conviction of a crime, including the additional penalties imposed for second or subsequent convictions under section 408. The effect of the dismissal and discharge shall be to restore the person in contemplation of law to the status he or she occupied prior to arrest and trial. No person as to whom a dismissal and discharge have been effected shall be thereafter held to be guilty of perjury, false swearing, or otherwise giving a false statement by reason of his or her failure to disclose or acknowledge his or her arrest or trial in response to any inquiry made of him or her for any purpose. There may be only one discharge and dismissal under this section with respect to any person.
Hopefully, your son will speak to his attorney about the possibility of trying to enter into this type of agreement. If however, he is NOT GUILTY of the charges, then he has the right to have a trial before a judge or a jury. Based on the evidence admitted in the trial, the judge or jury will determine whether your son is guilty or not guilty.
Good luck to your family.
It has been my pleasure to assist you today with your information needs. It is my goal that you are satisfied. No expert can promise you an answer that is favorable to your circumstances. But I will do my very best to explain the legal principles that are related to the facts you’ve described so that you can better understand the “why” of things.
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