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Do I Have to Show up For Court if I'm Charged with Possession of Marijuana?

Oct. 9, 2017

It Depends.

Some Virginia courts will not issue a bench warrant (capias) if you don't appear in court on a charge of simple possession of marijuana. Some courts will issue a bench warrant (capias) if you fail to appear in court. You should contact a local criminal defense attorney to see whether your appearance is required. Most courts will allow an attorney to appear in court on your behalf.

Possession of Marijuana Carries the Possibility of Jail Time.

The reason you may be required to appear in court is possession of marijuana carries the possibility of jail time. A first offense carries a maximum of 30 days. Almost no courts in Virginia will give you active jail time for possession of marijuana, but some courts will give you a suspended jail sentence.

If you're being charged with possession of marijuana for the sixth time, it's likely that you'll need to appear in court because jail time is a strong possibility.

Also, if you want to do the first offender program, you definitely have to appear in court.

If You Plan to Fight the Charge, You Probably Need to Appear in Court.

Most prosecutors will waive jail time if you plan to plead guilty. If a prosecutor agrees to waive jail time, that means you don't need to appear in court and failing to appear in court will not result in a bench warrant (capias).

But if you plan to fight the charge, the prosecutor will probably tell the judge that they are not waiving jail time. That means that you must appear in court.