Beware of Virginia Marijuana 251 Dismissal

According to Fairfax Marijuana Defense Attorney Paul McGlone: In Virginia, any 1st Offender Drug Case is subject to a dismissal upon completion of probation, in the discretion of the Courts.   This is known as a "251 Dismissal", and is most commonly used for Marijuana Possession cases. I have 5 good reasons that I always tell clients that a 251 Dismissal is not as good as a finding of Not Guilty or even a straight Dismissal without prejudice:

  • A 251 Dismissal will require a period of supervised probation. 
  • A 251 Dismissal will require ongoing drug testing.
  • A 251 Dismissal will almost always include a 6 month suspension of license.
  • A 251 Dismissal will require completion of classes mandated by the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program, even if the case had nothing to do with Alcohol, which usually costs at least $300.00.
  • A 251 Dismissal will require completion of Community Service, up to 24 hours or more for a Marijuana possession charge, and 100 hours or more for a Felony charge. 

In addition, such a "dismissal" will require payment of Court costs, drug testing fees, lab tests, and court appointed attorney's fees, (when applicable). Finally, failure to complete any of the above conditions will result in the 251 dismissal being revoked, followed by conviction and then, the uncertainty of a misdemeanor sentencing by the Judge.   

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Our Mission is to get the best possible result for each client, while including the client in the decision-making process along the way.  Every case is different, so we strive to gain detailed knowledge of the special facts and then find all of the relevant law to help get the best result either at trial or by negotiation.

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