There are many different drug crimes in Virginia and the penalties are tough. Obtaining legal representation by an equally tough defense attorney is an absolute must. Drug convictions can jeopardize your ability to find employment, find housing, qualify for student loans, and obtain professional licenses.
The Arlington drug lawyers with Karin Riley Porter Attorney at Law have handled countless controlled substance cases and have had great success in negotiating with prosecutors or going to trial in pursuit of the best outcome for their clients. En Español.
The landscape of drug use, availability, and repercussions changes frequently. While very dangerous Schedule I substances are still in demand (e.g., heroin, LSD, MDMA), an increasingly high percentage of arrests and drug-related deaths also involve prescription medications.
It is illegal to be in possession of medicinal drugs prescribed to another person. Prescription drug abuse is a top public health concern. Local law enforcement, government, and health officials are determined to minimize abuse and are aggressively working to reduce this public health issue in the community.
Drug laws can be complicated and prosecutors weigh many factors when deciding how to prosecute the accused. The penalties are unique to the substance involved, the amount of the substance, paraphernalia found, and the jurisdiction in which the arrest was made.
The Federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA) designed the controlled substance Schedules I through V used across the country, including Virginia. More information on this Drug Enforcement Agency webpage.
There are six Schedules of drugs distinguished by their danger, addictive qualities, and accepted medical uses. Schedule I substances are the most dangerous category of drugs as they usually have no medicinal purpose and are highly addictive, whereas Schedule VI is the least dangerous. Very few states include a Schedule VI, Virginia being one of them, and convictions of Schedule VI drugs may result in deferred sentences. An Arlington attorney could help someone prepare their defense depending on the severity of the drug charges.
Schedule I contains controlled substances with no currently accepted medical use and high potential of abuse. The majority of the substances in Schedule I are also dangerous and unsafe for use. Heroin, LSD, ecstasy, and GHB fall under this category, and a possession conviction of these substances is a Class 5 felony. The punishment carries a maximum of 10 years in prison, or in the court’s discretion up to one year in jail and/or fines that could potentially reach $2,500. Section 18.2-250.
Possession of Schedule II drugs such as methamphetamines (crystal meth), cocaine, morphine, PCP, methadone, and even Ritalin is also a Class 5 felony. While some Schedule II drugs have medicinal purposes, they are also very addictive and can be quite dangerous. Up to 10 years in prison, or in the court’s discretion up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500 are possible consequences of illegal possession on Schedule II substances.
Schedule III drugs such as ketamine, hydrocodone, vicodin, steroids, and other barbituates and depressants can be legally obtained through doctors’ prescriptions. However, illegal possession of these drugs is a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a $2,500 fine.
Valium, Xanax, Rohypnol and other tranquilizers are categorized as Schedule IV drugs and also can legally be obtained with a doctor’s prescription. Illegal possession of Schedule IV drugs is a Class 3 misdemeanor and can result in a charge up to $500. Certain Schedule V substances, including cold medicines containing codeine, are Class 4 misdemeanors with fines up to $250. Schedule V substances are relatively safe alone, but contain limited quantities of more dangerous substances.
In Virginia, Schedule VI is a unique category that includes all other substances that require prescriptions but fall outside Schedule I through V. This includes substances used by veterinarians, dentists, and doctors.
Marijuana falls into its own unique category under Virginia law. The amount in one’s possession generally has no bearing on the consequence, though there are enhanced penalties for amounts consistent with distribution or possession of serious weight. The first offense is an unclassified misdemeanor with the potential of 30 days in jail and a $500 fine. There may also be a deferred disposition available pursuant to Section 18.2-250.1. Subsequent simple possession charges may potentially be punished with a maximum of 12 months in jail and a $2,500 fine. A lawyer in Arlington could explain someone’s legal options if they have been accused of a marijuana-related drug crime.
When searching for an attorney, it is important to find one with strong negotiation skills. Penalties for drug convictions can include fines and prison time, but can also be limited to probation and community service subject to prosecutorial discretion.
While many drug charges come with mandatory minimum penalties to which a judge must abide, the other types of penalties can be plea bargained making the help of a dedicated and determined Arlington attorney of the utmost importance. Our lawyers are experienced and highly capable of assisting you by working with you and local prosecutors to reach satisfactory common ground.
There are numerous drug laws and they rely on many factors that can be confusing, intimidating, and detailed to a non-lawyer. Your Arlington drug lawyer could parse the intricate details so you understand each step of the process and the charges against you. Call Karin Riley Porter Attorney at Law today for a free consultation.
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