Drug manufacturing charges, either in the Commonwealth of Virginia or the federal jurisdiction, are serious criminal offenses. The charges and penalties you may face depend on the circumstances of the case, including what you are charged with manufacturing (or growing, if it is marijuana). Charges can jump to higher level felonies depending on several other factors, including your proximity to schools or other specified locations at the time of the alleged manufacturing.
If you are facing such charges, it is in your best interest to contact a Virginia federal drug manufacturing lawyer who has the skills and resources to protect your liberty.
There can also be charges – other than possession – if you own, lease, or otherwise possess the property or location in question and have no knowledge of illegal drug activities. Even growing a small amount of marijuana can result in serious prison time and a criminal record that makes it very difficult to find employment, secure a business or home loan, and can threaten many other common benefits normally available to those without criminal records.
If you are facing drug manufacturing charges in Virginia, the federal government may opt to take over the case. Therefore, any drug manufacturing charge in Virginia begs for the representation of an experienced federal criminal attorney who has a successful track record of defending individuals who are being investigated – or charged – with these serious felonies.
Crimes of drug manufacturing – like distribution and sale – raise the stakes in the eyes of prosecutors who aggressively pursue drug crimes. Virginia criminal code establishes that it is illegal to “sell, distribute, cultivate or manufacture a controlled substance.” Often, possessing a large quantity of controlled substances casts suspicion in the eyes of the law upon such people and makes it less difficult for the prosecution to prove manufacturing charges because, “where there’s smoke there’s fire,” just based on the quantity in your possession.
The quantity minimums established for Virginia drug manufacturing charges include, but are not limited to, the following:
• 100 grams of heroin (or combination including heroin)
• 10 grams of methamphetamines (or 20 grams of methamphetamine mixture)
• 500 grams of cocaine (or combination including cocaine)
The same formula that Virginia uses for classifying the severity of drug possession penalties is used to compute punishment for drug manufacturing. To compare:
The penalty for mere possession of a Schedule I or II drug (the worst classifications) can be up to $2,500 in fines and 10 years in prison. But manufacturing with intent to distribute these same drugs draws up to 40 years in prison and a fine up to $500,000.
For simple possession of marijuana of a half ounce or less in Virginia, a conviction can draw anywhere from probation for a first offense to up to $500 in fines and up to 30 days of in jail. Being found guilty of growing slightly more than that amount, however, can incur up to 10 years in prison and $2,500 in fines. A second offense draws a prison sentence of five to 30 years, especially if you’re arrested with more than five pounds of plants.
Penalties vary for lesser quantities and less pernicious drugs (Schedule III or IV) for the purposes of bringing manufacturing charges. But they still bring more serious penalties than simple possession.
Federal drug penalties are somewhat parallel when classifying the seriousness of the illegal substance you have manufactured or grown. It treats marijuana cultivation similar to that of Virginia Schedule I drugs with respect to charges and sentencing. So cultivation of less than 50 marijuana plants can be up to five years in federal prison, or a possible life sentence for 1,000 or more plants. But if “medical marijuana” is your defense, possessing large quantities “with intent,” can be a questionable defense if you have a large amount – typically classified as anything more than one ounce.
In light of recent efforts to revisit federal marijuana laws, just how your specific “possession with intent” will be pursued, or what your sentence might be, may be open to prosecutorial interpretation. This is why it is vital that you retain (or at least contact) a Virginia federal drug manufacturing lawyer who has experience in Virginia federal court and can explain how these laws may apply to you.
More serious drug manufacture offenses can essentially double that of federal possession with intent charges. So if a person faces federal charges of possessing methamphetamines, the penalty is up to one year in prison for the first offense. For manufacturing (or “cooking”) that same amount of meth, the sentence is up to life in prison.
Federal and Virginia law enforcement agencies are committed to finding and arresting those who manufacture drugs. Often, authorities make mistakes or do not follow their own procedures during the investigation regarding issues such as search, seizure, arrest, or processing of evidence.
A skilled federal drug manufacturing lawyer with experience handling drug manufacturing charges can determine if your rights have been violated, or if the allegation of drug manufacturing is an over-reach by zealous officers and prosecutors. Call Karin Riley Porter Attorney at Law today for a no-cost case consultation to determine your best options.
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