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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 117367
Experience:  Attorney with over 20 years law enforcement, prosecution, civil rights and defense experience
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New Supreme Court ruling in Va on June 15 2015 says that

Customer Question

New Supreme Court ruling in Va on June 15 2015 says that govt has to prove that defendant should kniw conclude that substance was similar in structure and effects to a controlled substance to be convicted .What does this mean in terms for products such as herbal incense.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
The ruling has to do with analogous substances and it means that if the defendant did not know the herbal incense had drug like effects and did not know that it could be used for drug substitute, the defendant could not be found guilty under the new laws. These new analogous substance laws are very over broad and are very new and the VA court ruling is one of the first to come out saying that when people are selling these products if they do not know they are capable of being used as substitutes for illegal drugs, they are not liable under the new statutes.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for your answer but if you could google recent synthetic drug convictions you could see the judgement .It says since the government could not prove that the so called substance was chemical and effect wise similar it was not an analogue .They had recordings of him explaining the strongness of the product .Is this supreme court judgement a precedent for future analog prosecutions .Do not mind paying more need a detailed answer .
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your reply.
Yes, the ruling is precedent for future rulings, it is a VA supreme court ruling. These chemical substances change constantly and there has to be proof that it is an analogue. This VA Supreme Court ruling is based on what many defense and constitutional law attorneys have been saying, a person should not be convicted for selling a product that they had no way of knowing was against the law. The analogous drug laws are so over broad, they make substances illegal and do not even say what those substances are, so a defendant would have no way to know if the bath salts or incense he was selling was legal or illegal under those laws and that is what the VA Supreme Court is now saying, you as the defendant have to know it is an illegal substance under the analogous or synthetic law in order to be liable (so if it is not clear in the law that the composition of the substance you are selling is prohibited by that law, you could not be liable).

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