The laws regulating drug-related offenses in the Commonwealth of Virginia are very strict, and enforcement of those laws is a very serious matter. According to the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services Research Center, the arrest rate for drug offenses in Loudoun, Virginia in 2009 was 297.7 per 100,000 residents.
Every drug offense should be taken seriously, so if you find yourself facing drug charges, it is important to contact an experienced Loudoun drug lawyer to advise you and advocate on your behalf during the criminal justice process.
There is a wide variety of drug-related offenses with which you could be charged under Virginia law. Common drug-related offenses include:
The various types of drugs are classified into six Schedules, with Schedule I being the most serious and Schedule VI being the least serious. Schedule I drugs are classified as not having any currently accepted medical use, having an increased potential for users developing abuse problems, and are typically considered the most dangerous drugs causing severe dependence.
Heroin, LSD, ecstasy, and peyote are all examples of Schedule I substances. Schedule II drugs have less of a potential for abuse than Schedule I drugs. This category includes cocaine, methamphetamines, methadone, and oxycodone.
The potential for dependence of Schedule III drugs is moderate to low and substances include ketamine, anabolic steroids, and various types of testosterone. Schedule IV drugs have an even lower potential for abuse and dependence than Schedule III drugs. Xanax (alprazolam), Valium (diazepam), and Ambien (zolpidem) are all considered Schedule IV drugs.
Schedule V drugs often contain limited quantities of narcotics. Examples of Schedule V drugs are quantities under 200 milligrams of codeine, pyrovalerone, and ezogabine. Schedule VI drugs include precursors and any drug not included in any other schedule, but which requires a prescription.
Drug-related offenses carry the possibility of severe punishment under the Commonwealth of Virginia’s criminal code, including both fines and imprisonment. Penalties for the manufacture, sale, or distribution of illegal substances range from five to 40 years in prison and up to a $500,000 fine for Schedule I and II drugs. Trafficking at least 100 grams of heroin, 500 grams of cocaine, or 10 grams of methamphetamines can carry a maximum penalty of five years to life in prison and/or a $1 million fine.
Simple possession of marijuana is considered a misdemeanor offense in Virginia, the penalties for which include up to 30 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $500. Possession of Schedule I and II drugs is classified as a Class 5 felony. Sentences for such offenses can range from between one and 10 years in prison, or up to 12 months in jail and up to a $2,500 fine. Possession of Schedule III drugs is considered a Class 1 misdemeanor with potential penalties of up to 12 months in jail and up to a $2,500 fine.
Possession of Schedule IV drugs is also considered a Class 2 misdemeanor, with a penalty of up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Possession of Schedule V drugs is classified as a Class 3 misdemeanor, carrying a maximum fine of $500, while possession of Schedule VI drugs is a Class 5 misdemeanor that results in a maximum fine of $250.
The sale, distribution, or possession with intent to distribute marijuana carries penalties that may change depending on the amount of marijuana involved. For less than half an ounce, the penalty is incarceration of no more than 12 months and/or a fine of no more than $2,500. If the amount measures between half an ounce and five pounds, the penalty includes imprisonment of up to 10 years and/or a fine of no more than $2,500.
For more than five pounds of the drug, the punishment is imprisonment of between five and 30 years. The manufacture of marijuana can incur a penalty of between five and 30 years in jail and up to a $10,000 fine. In many cases, repeat convictions and aggravating circumstances can increase these penalties.
No matter the amount involved or the type of substance, any drug-related criminal charge can have a significant negative impact on your life. A drug offense conviction can cause extreme long-term difficulties in terms of obtaining employment, housing, education, loans, or financial aid. A qualified Loudoun drug lawyer can advise you of the penalties you face and the consequences that a conviction could have on your future.
Karin Riley Porter and her experienced team of defense attorneys are ready and willing to fight to protect your rights and minimize the potential negative impacts of a conviction. Call her law office today to schedule a no-cost consultation and explore your options for a strong defense.
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