When you decided to go to college away from home, part of you wanted to do so to experience all there is to the college experience. Unfortunately, part of your college experience has been getting a drug charge after being caught with marijuana. You don’t think it’s that big of a deal, because it’s legal in other states, but the truth of the matter is that it’s not legal in Virginia. Those charges could have a serious impact on your future.

Fortunately, as of 2017, several new laws went into effect that could help you with any marijuana charges you face. One of those laws has made it possible to keep your driver’s license, which is one thing you could have lost in the past.

Losing a driver’s license is a serious problem for some people, especially if they drive for work. In the past, Virginian law allowed for the automatic suspension of a person’s license if caught in possession of marijuana. It didn’t matter if the individual was in a vehicle at the time of the arrest, either.

That law simply didn’t make sense. Around 22,000 people are arrested each year in Virginia in possession of marijuana. These individuals used to lose their licenses, but that could also mean losing their jobs. Around 40 percent of defendants did just that, which severely impacted the low-income community. Today, that’s changed, because the law allows for a judge to opt for additional community service instead of suspending a license for six months.

Maybe a license isn’t your biggest worry. If you’re worried about going to jail because of your one-time mistake, you may not need to. Your attorney may be able to help you seek an alternative penalty, like completing a drug-rehabilitation program or participating in community service.

Marijuana laws are changing slowly across the United States. If you have any questions about them, it’s vital that you educate yourself on your rights.