If you have been charged with a drug crime in the Commonwealth of Virginia, you probably have many questions. Will you be required to serve a jail sentence? If convicted, will you be faced with a misdemeanor or felony? Will you be forced to pay fines, perform community service, or participate in a drug rehabilitation program? What will your life be like from now on? Will you lose your job, and perhaps have difficulty obtaining employment or even housing in the future?
While these are valid concerns for anyone facing drug charges in Virginia, your first order of business should be to determine how to fight the charges. The best way to do this is to acquire the assistance of an experienced Virginia drug lawyer.
Our legal team has extensive experience combating drug charges, even those that initially seemed hopeless for the defendant. Many drug charges are overcharged and can be defended due to failure to follow procedure on the part of law enforcement.
A Virginia drug attorney look at all the details of your case and utilize every available resource in order to create a strong, robust defense. Read on to learn more about the various drug offenses with which you could be charged in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Information on Drug Charges and Cases
- Drug Charges
- Possession with Intent to Distribute
- Approaching Drug Offense Cases
- Classifications of Drug Offenses
- Drug Offense Penalties
- Actual vs. Constructive Drug Possession
- Drug Schedules in Virginia
- Rights During An Arrest
Manufacture, Sale, and Distribution Drug Crimes in Virginia
Illegal narcotics are broken up into six categories, which are called schedules, in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The categories are determined based on the likelihood of the drug user to develop an addiction as well as the accepted medical uses of the substance. The substances in schedules I and II are the most highly addictive with little to no accepted medical use, while the substances at the other end of the spectrum in schedules V and VI have little to no risk of dependency and applicable medical uses. The schedule, and the amount, of the drug involved in an offense will determine the severity of the charges you could face.
Crimes involving the manufacture, sale, or distribution of drugs, or involving the possession of drugs with the intent to carry out these activities, is prohibited by Virginia criminal code Section 18.2-248.
These crimes are among the most serious drug offenses handled by the criminal justice system in Virginia, and carry some of the toughest penalties as a result. If you are found with a large enough quantity of a Schedule I or II drug that is deemed appropriate for sale and distribution, you could be convicted of a felony and be forced to serve a prison term ranging from five to 40 years, and potentially pay a fine of up to $500,000, as per code Section 18.2-248(C).
The criminal code also imposes the same maximum fine on second-time offenders, as well as a sentence of up to life in prison. The mandatory minimum prison term for a second-time offender is three years. Third-time offenders face the same maximum fine, up to life in prison, and a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 10 years.
This code also states that a felony conviction, a fine of up to $1 million, and a prison term of up to life (with a five-year mandatory minimum) can be brought upon those found guilty of possessing the following drugs in the stated quantities, even for first-time offenders:
- 100 grams or more of heroin
- 500 grams or more of cocaine
- 10 grams or more of methamphetamine
As is evident, manufacture, sale, and distribution drug charges must be taken very seriously, even for first-time offenders, as they can immediately result in a lengthy prison sentence along with insurmountable fines. A skilled Virginia drug lawyer will assist you in fighting these charges by utilizing every defense available while protecting your constitutional rights.
Possession Drug Crimes in Virginia
Crimes involving drug possession are covered by Virginia state criminal code Section 18.2-250. This code makes it illegal to possess a controlled substance without a valid prescription from a medical practitioner. The charge classifications and associated penalties will vary depending on the type of drug found in your possession, as well as its quantity:
- Schedule I or II – Class 5 felony
- Schedule III – Class 1 misdemeanor
- Schedule IV – Class 2 misdemeanor
- Schedule V – Class 3 misdemeanor
- Schedule VI – Class 4 misdemeanor
The associated penalties vary as per state code Sections 18.2-10 and 18.2-11. For example, a Class 5 felony is punishable by one to 10 years of prison time and/or a fine of up to $2,500. A Class 2 misdemeanor, as another example, carries up to six months of jail time and a fine not to exceed $1,000.
Marijuana Possession Crimes in Virginia
Crimes involving marijuana possession are handled by state code Section 18.2-250.1, which is separate from the code that covers other drug possession crimes. If you are found guilty of marijuana possession, you will be convicted of a misdemeanor carrying a fine of up to $500 as well as up to 30 days in jail. If you are convicted of subsequent marijuana possession offenses, you will receive a Class 1 misdemeanor, which carries a fine of up to $2,500 as well as up to one year in jail.
Contact a Qualified Virginia Drug Lawyer
In addition to the drug-related offenses already mentioned here, there are myriad other ways in which an individual could be charged with a drug crime in Virginia. For example, Section 18.2-248.01 of the Code of Virginia outlines the criminal offense of transporting illegal narcotics into the Commonwealth.
Anyone who transports at least one ounce of cocaine, one ounce of a Schedule I or II controlled substance, or at least five ounce of marijuana into Virginia with the intent to sell or distribute that substance risks being convicted of a felony offense. That is punishable by five to 40 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million.
As you can see, the penalties for drug offenses in the Commonwealth of Virginia are especially harsh, and there is an extremely wide range of offenses that you may be accused of committing. With the help of a reputable Virginia drug lawyer, you can fight marijuana drug possession charges, as well as other charges involving drug possession or manufacture and sale.
Drug attorneys in Virginia have the knowledge and the proven track record you need to help assert your innocence and protect your future. Contact our law office today to schedule a free consultation and to learn more about the charges you are facing as well as potential strategies for defense.