Charges associated with trafficking drugs are typically brought under Virginia Code § 18.2-248.01. This statute makes it illegal to transport a controlled substance into Virginia, by any means, with the intent to sell or distribute “one ounce or more of cocaine, coca leaves or any salt, compound, derivative or preparation thereof as described in Schedule II of the Drug Control Act.” it also prohibits transporting any other Schedule I or II controlled substance or five or more ounces of marijuana.
In order for a person to be found guilty of drug trafficking, the Commonwealth must prove that the person by some means transported a triggering quantity of a controlled substance from outside of Virginia’s jurisdictional authority into the Commonwealth of Virginia.
A McLean drug trafficking lawyer could fight for you if you are facing charges. Reach out to an accomplished drug attorney today.
Being found responsible for endangering people by transporting dangerous controlled substances can play into drug trafficking charges in that this can be taken into consideration when it comes to the penalties. While Virginia’s Congress has introduced legislation such as HB2528 to lead to harsh penalties for drug dealers whose distribution leads to the death of a user, such legislation has been vetoed. The logic being that such a bill may punish addicts for their addiction or inhibit the willingness of persons to seek help for someone who may be overdosing out of fear of prosecution.
Mclean law enforcement is cracking down on drug trafficking by working with task forces created specifically to combat drug crimes such as the Fairfax County Opioid Task Force. This includes lobbying for harsher penalties for those involved in drug trafficking and targeting areas where drug trafficking is likely to occur. Law enforcement is also cracking down by increasing traffic stops that often lead to vehicle searches where drugs may be found. They are also utilizing surveillance and setting up investigations based on confidential informants and tips.
Drug trafficking cases often involve multiple defendants. For example, a person may be charged with drug trafficking for having mailed a prohibited amount of a controlled substance to a Virginia address. In that instance, the person who sent the mail and the person who accepts it may both end up being charged with a drug-related offense. Another situation in which multiple defendants may be involved in a drug trafficking case is when multiple people physically transport drugs into Virginia either on their persons or in vehicles. If a vehicle is pulled over after crossing the Virginia state line, everyone in the vehicle may end up being charged with a crime.
The inclusion of multiple defendants in drug trafficking cases can be significant when it comes to witnesses. Some defendants may be offered lesser sentences or other plea deals if they agree to cooperate against other defendants. This is one of the reasons it is important to work with a drug trafficking lawyer in McLean. An experienced attorney could guide an accused person through the process and help the person weigh the costs and benefits of cooperation.
One important thing about drug trafficking charges that everyone should know is that these are serious felony charges. Punishment ranges from five to 40 years in prison, three of which are mandatory, and a fine of not more than $1,000,000.
In addition, if a person is convicted of a second or subsequent offense, the mandatory minimum sentence increases to ten years imprisonment. Due to the severity of the potential penalties and because there are many factors that play into drug trafficking cases including the specific drug allegedly trafficked, multiple jurisdictions potentially being involved, and the potential involvement of multiple defendants, it is important that a person accused of such an offense works closely with a skilled McLean drug trafficking lawyer.
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