Criminal drug charges in Virginia typically result in either misdemeanor or felony penalties upon conviction. The conviction will depend on several factors, such as the quantity and type of controlled substances involved, and the intentions of the defendant in possessing the drugs (sale, distribution, or personal use). Circumstances and evidence surrounding controlled substance crimes are usually highly open to interpretation. This is why you need to hire a criminal lawyer to help you.
With a strong defense, you should be able to raise your chances of being acquitted. To this end, the criminal lawyer you hire will get the charges leveled against you dropped entirely or reduced significantly. The attorneys working at our firm have the extensive experience and expertise you need to fight your controlled substances charges. They will also use their deep knowledge of drug laws in Virginia to your advantage. Please get in touch with us today if you need representation.
Marijuana Possession Crimes
According to Virginia Criminal Statute 18.2-250.1, the law makes it illegal to be found in possession of marijuana intentionally, knowingly and without a medical prescription. However, the prosecution will not be able to establish a crime of possession simply because you have been found occupying or owning a building or vehicle where the marijuana was discovered by the authorities. The same code also establishes the accompanying penalties for this offense.
When you are found in possession, you will be charged with a misdemeanor offense which comes with punishment of incarceration of less than 30 days and up to $500 in fines. If you violate the law a second time, your penalty will be elevated to misdemeanor in Class 1, which carries a maximum of 1 year of incarceration plus penalties of $2500.
Penalties for Marijuana Cultivation/Distribution Crimes
According to Virginia Criminal Statute 18.2-248.1, the penalty is stiffer for people who are found cultivating the drug, or who possess it with the intention of distributing and/or selling it. However, the penalty will depend on the amount of marijuana apprehended. To this end, people who are found guilty of marijuana manufacture (over 5 pounds) will be charged with a felony that carries penalties of a maximum of $10,000 plus anywhere from 5 to 30 years of incarceration. In the same way, marijuana distribution and sale crimes involving anywhere from 0.5 ounces to 5 pounds will be accompanied by Class 5 felony charges, resulting in a maximum sentence of 5 years incarceration plus fines adding up to a maximum of $2500.
If the marijuana was more than 5 pounds, the prison sentence could be extended to anywhere between 5 and 30 years. Class 1 misdemeanor penalties are typically reserved for distribution and sale crimes involving marijuana that is less than 0.5 ounces. The associated penalties will also include fines of up to $2500 plus incarceration for up to a whole year. Regardless of the specifics of the violation, however, anyone who violates Virginia Criminal Statute 18.2-248.1 three times will be subjected to anywhere between 5 years and life incarceration, plus maximum fines of $500,000. The possibility of jail time, probation, and other penalties, is why you'll want an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side who has successfully defended cases involving possession and distribution of marijuana.
Virginia Controlled Substance Possession Crimes
Virginia Criminal Statute 18.2-250 covers all laws pertaining to all sorts of controlled substances apart from cannabis. For example, possession of cocaine would fall under this category. To this end, the code prohibits the possession of any controlled substance. As with the laws relating to marijuana, the possession charges will not be established against owners of automobiles and dwellings simply because the controlled substance was found within it.
Additionally, law enforcement officers are also exempt from this code. The code also dictates the charges and penalties for these crimes. These penalties vary according to the drug that was found. This is a topic that your criminal defense attorney should be able to elaborate further during your consultation session.
a) Schedule I and II
Schedule I and II controlled substances typically subject violators to Class 5 felonies – which might include up to 10 years of incarceration and $2500 in fines.
b) Schedule III
For Schedule III drugs, penalties will be lowered from felonies to Class 1 misdemeanors. Even though this penalty will still come with fines of up to $2500, the jail term will be reduced to up to 1 year of incarceration.
c) Schedule IV
The penalties will be lowered further to Class 2 Misdemeanors for Schedule IV drugs – which carry up to 180 days of jail time and a maximum fine of $1000.
d) Schedule V
All possession violations involving drugs listed in Schedule V will result in Class 3 misdemeanors plus a maximum of $5000 in fines.
e) Schedule VI
Last but not least, penalties for Schedule VI drug possession crimes are classified as Class 4 misdemeanors and carry a maximum of $250 in fines.
Contact Us for More Information
Are you interested in learning more about Virginia Criminal Statute 18.2-248.1? Have you been charged with drug possession in Virginia? Then your best recourse will be to engage the services of criminal defense attorney Wilfred Yeargan as soon as possible. Contact us by sending a message online or by calling us today to talk to a criminal attorney and obtain legal representation