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Virginia Drug Crimes Lawyer
Drug offenses vary widely based on the drug involved in the charge and other factors such as the severity of the alleged crime — for example, simple possession offenses normally carry lesser penalties than drug distribution and trafficking charges. Criminal code Section 18.2-250 covers possession of controlled substances, making it illegal for a person to intentionally acquire a controlled substance not prescribed to them by a medical practitioner. Section 18.2-248 deals with distribution of controlled substances.
We also have several pages examining the Virginia laws regarding:
- Marijuana and Synthetic Cannabinoids
- Possession of Controlled Substances Generally
- Manufacture, Sale, and Distribution of Controlled Substances
Controlled Substances Generally
In Virginia, controlled substances are divided into six schedules. Schedule I substances are deemed the most dangerous while Schedule 6 substances have been reported in few cases of addiction, if any at all.
- Schedule 1 (dangerous and addictive, no medical use): GHB, Heroin, LSD, and Ecstasy
- Schedule 2 (highly addictive, some medical use): Methadone, Methamphetamine, Cocaine, PCP, Morphine
- Schedule 3 (highly addictive, frequent medical use): Steroids, Ketamine, Vicodin, Hydrocodone
- Schedule 4 (some risk of addiction, prescription drugs): Rohypnol, Valium, Xanax
- Schedule 5 (minor addiction risk, cold medications): Codeine
- Schedule 6 (little to no risk of addiction): Marijuana
Virginia is one of the few states to include a Schedule 6 of controlled substances. These drugs carry the lightest penalties for convictions, and may result in deferred sentences. For more information on controlled substances and Schedules, visit this link here.
Aggressive Drug Crimes Attorney in Virginia
Simply owning or residing in a dwelling or vehicle where drugs are found to be present is not necessarily evidence that a person knowingly possessed the illegal controlled substance. As such, more proof is often required to secure a conviction under local drug laws. In addition, a skilled drug lawyer will often argue that simple drug paraphernalia, such as a glass pipe or rolled up dollar bill, was not intended for the use of illegal substances. Normally under state law, ownership of drug paraphernalia is illegal and denotes any equipment, material, or product for the use or concealment of drugs.
In paraphernalia cases, prosecutors must prove that the items suspected in drug use were primarily used in relation to drugs, which usually requires more evidence than the mere presence of paraphernalia.
Penalties for Virginia Drug Law Convictions
Possession of both Schedule 1 and 2 drugs is considered a Class 5 felony, and can carry a possible prison sentence of up to 10 years as well as up to $2,500.00 in fines. A Schedule 3 drug possession conviction is a Class 1 misdemeanor with a potential 12 month jail sentence and up to $2,500.00 in fines. Schedule 4 drugs are the last tier of drugs that carry a potential jail sentence, and can result in up to 6 months in jail and/or $1,000.00 in fines. Possession of Schedule 5 and 6 controlled substances are both misdemeanors and carry the potential of fines up to $500.00 and $250.00, respectively.
Drug distribution carries much harsher penalties than simple possession, and vary based on the amount the accused intended to sell and the specific controlled substances involved in the alleged crime. Intent to distribute a Schedule 1 or 2 substance carries a minimum prison sentence of five years (up to a maximum of 40) and a fine of up to $500,000, for example. State code Section 18.2-248 covers each of the associated penalties for Virginia drug distribution in full.
Dial (703) 278-2800 For More Information About The Services We Provide
Drug laws are difficult to get a full understanding on because they vary so greatly depending on a number of factors. They include the type of controlled substance in question, the amount, your perceived intent with these substances and even your past criminal history. If you are the subject of an ongoing investigation in this area, we suggest you call us today and set up a free consultation where a drug lawyer with our firm will be able to explain what you might expect from the process that lies ahead. Even if you have been formally charged, it pays to have a qualified legal professional help you understand why you face the charges you do, and what penalties could accompany a conviction in your case.
Once you and your attorney are on the same page, they can help you build a defense strategy going forward. They will also work hard to keep you involved throughout the judicial process as possible to help you feel as comfortable as possible during a very difficult time. A drug charge can have some serious impacts on your life, and not just the legal penalties of a conviction. Let one of our attorneys work tirelessly on your behalf.
Karin Riley Porter in Her Own Words
Below are several links to question-and-answer pages excerpted from an interview with Karin Riley Porter in which she discusses drug charges in the Commonwealth of Virginia.