Summer in Northern Virginia means the start of the concert season at the Wolftrap National Park for the Performing Arts.
For individuals that attend concerts and events at Wolftrap, it is important to realize that Wolftrap is not your ordinary concert venue. Unlike Jiffy Lube Live or the Patriot Center, Wolftrap is considered a “federal enclave”. This means that any conduct at Wolftrap that leads to criminal charges can result in those charges being filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria Division and not necessarily in the state courts of Fairfax County. Depending upon where you are located on the Wolftrap property and what officer issues you a citation impacts whether you must appear in the Fairfax County Courts or in the federal court.
Put more simply, simple possession of marijuana and underage possession of alcohol quite literally can become a federal case if committed at Wolftrap. Moreover, the United States Park Police are routinely patrolling the parking areas and concert grounds along with Fairfax County Police Officers and are usually in plainclothes and not easily identifiable. These officers can sometimes be rather aggressive in attempting to ferret out marijuana and alcohol possession. In one recent case, our attorneys successfully persuaded that United States Attorney’s Office that the arresting officer had been overly aggressive and had violated an individual’s constitutional rights. It is therefore extremely important that individuals charged in federal court retain an experienced attorney to ensure that their rights are fully protected.
Under federal law, marijuana is a Schedule I substance under the federal Controlled Substances Act, and possession of marijuana is a misdemeanor offense. If convicted of possession of any amount, first time offenders face the possibility of being sentenced to up to one year in prison and being assessed a minimum fine of $1,000. For a second conviction, the penalties increase to a 15-day mandatory minimum jail sentence with a maximum of two years in prison and a minimum fine of $2,500. Persons charged may also be subject to an onerous pre-trial probationary period involving mandatory drug screens. Certain individuals may be eligible for a first-offender program that, in some limited circumstances, may result in dismissal and expungment upon completion of the program.
The attorneys at Gross, Romanick, Dean & DeSimone, P.C. has represented a number of individuals charged with possession of marijuana and underage possession of alcohol at the Wolftrap National Park for the Performing Arts. If you are charged with possession of marijuana or underage possession of alcohol, whether wrongfully or rightfully, it is imperative that you retain an attorney to represent you in Court. The attorneys at Gross, Romanick, Dean & DeSimone, P.C. are experienced in this area and can use their expertise to zealously defend your rights.