Virginia Drug Attorney
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. If you are facing drug charges in the Commonwealth of Virginia, you should consult with an experienced Virginia drug lawyer who can explain the charges you face and discuss your options.
Virginia Drug Statutes
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.
Although only a Virginia drug lawyer can explain how the law may apply to fact-specific circumstances, we have provided a brief overview of the major statutes and Virginia laws regarding:
- Marijuana and Synthetic Cannabinoids
- Possession of Controlled Substances Generally
- Manufacture, Sale, and Distribution of Controlled Substances
In Virginia, controlled substances are divided into six Schedules. Schedule I substances are deemed the most dangerous while Schedule VI substances have been reported in few cases of addiction, if any at all.
- Schedule I (dangerous and addictive, no medical use): GHB, Heroin, LSD, and Ecstasy
- Schedule II (highly addictive, some medical use): Methadone, Methamphetamine, Cocaine, PCP, Morphine
- Schedule III (highly addictive, frequent medical use): Steroids, Ketamine, Vicodin, Hydrocodone
- Schedule IV (some risk of addiction, prescription drugs): Rohypnol, Valium, Xanax
- Schedule V (minor addiction risk, cold medications): Codeine
- Schedule VI (little to no risk of addiction): Marijuana
Virginia is one of the few states to include a Schedule VI 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.
Penalties for Virginia Drug Law Convictions
Possession of both Schedule I and II 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 in fines. A Schedule III drug possession conviction is a Class 1 misdemeanor with a potential 12 month jail sentence and up to $2,500 in fines. Schedule IV drugs are the last tier of drugs that carry a potential jail sentence, and can result in up to six months in jail and/or $1,000 in fines.
Possession of Schedule V and VI controlled substances are both misdemeanors and carry the potential of fines up to $500 and $250, 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 I or II 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.
Defenses Against Drug Charges
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 Virginia 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.
Contact a Virginia Drug Lawyer Today
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 Virginia 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.
By: Grateful Mom
Title: Professionalism, Empathy, Diligence, Concern, Responsiveness and a Strong Work Ethic.
My son was charged with several misdemeanors during his first year in college including possession of marijuana, possession of a schedule IV drug, destruction of property as well as several other charges. This was an extremely stressful time for us. All I could think about was how my son's future was in jeopardy. I performed an internet search for a lawyer in Fairfax and came across Karin. I read all of her reviews; researched her background; as well as performed other searches to ensure this would be a wise decision. Based on my research, we decided to hire Karin to handle my son's cases. Once we made this decision, my son called Karin's office and she returned my son's call within a couple of hours. She was extremely pleasant and helpful during his initial call. As a mother, I greatly appreciated the care with which Karin handled the case. She responded to all of our calls and emails expediently. I do not want to be redundant so I am going to sum my review up with this … what other reviewers experienced is precisely what we experienced: professionalism, empathy, diligence, concern, responsiveness and a strong work ethic.