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Hanover Virginia Drug Offense Lawyers Violation Code 18.2-248.1

Simon v. Commonwealth


Defendant was charged with two misdemeanor drug offenses of distributing less than a half-ounce of marijuana in violation of Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-248.1. Subsequently, defendant was indicted on two felony offenses of selling marijuana on school property in violation of Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-255.2, which were based upon the same acts as misdemeanor offenses.

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The Virginia Court made the following holding:
  • Although the language of Va. Code Ann. § 19.2-294 does not state that it provides a defense of former jeopardy, it amounts to such a defense in purpose and desired effect. Like the U.S. Const. amend. V bar of former jeopardy, § 19.2-294 prevents the Commonwealth from subjecting an accused to the hazards of vexatious, multiple prosecutions. By its terms, the statute does not apply to simultaneous prosecutions, because only a prior conviction for the violation of an act will bar a later prosecution for the same act.
  • The procurement of arrest warrants on different dates does not automatically trigger the successive prosecution bar of Va. Code Ann. § 19.2-294. Since the bar is intended to protect an accused from the hazards of vexatious, multiple prosecutions, the bar does not preclude the prosecution of charges in a single, evidentiary hearing, even though the arrest warrants were obtained on different dates. In such a situation, the accused is not subjected to a greater burden than when the charges are brought simultaneously and heard together. The accused conducts his defense based on the same trial sequence and faces the same potential for anxiety, expense, and punishment.
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