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I got pulled over for a tail light and the cop smelled and

Customer Question
found weed in my car...
i got pulled over for a tail light and the cop smelled and found weed in my car if i get my tail light fixed and license reinstated can i beat the weed charge
JA: What state are you in? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: virginia
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: i was charged with possession
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: he didn't give me a ticket for tail light or driving on suspended I'm about to enroll in my classes and i work full time
Submitted: 10 months ago.Category: Criminal Law
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Answered in 10 minutes by:
12/30/2016
Criminal Lawyer: RobertJDFL, Lawyer replied 10 months ago
RobertJDFL
RobertJDFL, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 14,043
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Criminal Lawyer: RobertJDFL, Lawyer replied 10 months ago

Good afternoon,

Although I don't enjoy giving bad news to people, the answer is most likely no. Assuming the stop was valid (which it sounds like it was because of the bad tail light), then the officer had probable cause to pull you over. If they then smelled weed in the car/on you, that gives them probable cause to then search the car.

About the only way I could see beating this would be if the officer didn't have a reason to pull you over (e.g., there was nothing wrong with your tail light, and you weren't breaking any other traffic laws). In that case, it could be argued that the weed found was "fruit of the poisonous tree" and should be excluded.

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Criminal Lawyer: RobertJDFL, Lawyer replied 10 months ago

Generally, any person convicted of a first offense for possession of marijuana (less than one-half ounce) is guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to confinement in jail for up to thirty (30) days and a fine of up to $500. Additionally, conviction under this statute requires a suspension of an individual’s license to drive a motor vehicle for six months. See Virginia Code §18.2-259.1.

However, an individual whose license is suspended may petition the court for a restricted license to drive to work, school, church and medical appointments.

Under Virginia Code § 18.2-251, an individual who has not previously received a drug-related conviction (a “first offender”) may, in the discretion of the court, receive a deferred disposition and dismissal of the charge upon completion of the statutory and court-ordered conditions of probation.

The statute requires that an individual seeking a deferred disposition for dismissal undergo a substance abuse assessment (and treatment if the court deems it necessary). Further, such individual must pay all or part of his or her court costs and fines, as well as the costs associated with enrollment in an approved substance abuse program. During his or her probationary period, an individual must abstain from drug and alcohol use and is subject to random drug and alcohol screening to ensure compliance. Finally, the statute requires that an individual complete at least 24 hours of community service. Failure to comply with these terms will result in a finding of guilt and imposition of the aforementioned penalties.

In other words, if this is a first possession charge, there's a way for you to get it dismissed from your record by complying with the terms set forth by the court.

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Criminal Lawyer: RobertJDFL, Lawyer replied 10 months ago

Was there anything I could clarify about my answer or did you need more information? If so, please reply without rating and I'll be happy to assist further however I can!

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