Virginia Drug Attorney
The commonwealth of Virginia penalizes the possession, manufacture, and distribution of illegal narcotics as well as the illicit possession and distribution of prescription medications. Penalties for these offenses vary based on the type of substance in question and the severity of the charge. For example, conviction of simple marijuana possession would likely result in a less stringent sentence than possession with intent to distribute or possession of a controlled dangerous substance, such as heroin. Regardless of the circumstances, no Virginia drug charge should be taken lightly. With fines and incarceration, including mandatory minimums for certain offenses, as possible penalties, a conviction can have a serious impact on your finances and your freedom. En Español.
Drug Charges in Virginia
Virginia drug crimes with which a drug attorney can help may include, but are not limited to the following:
- Possession (including Marijuana)
- Possession with intent to distribute
- Drug Distribution
- Possession of related paraphernalia
- Illegal possession of prescription or controlled substances
- Drug Trafficking
The type of charge you may face depends largely on the type of drug involved in the alleged offense. Drugs are classified, or assigned to a schedule, based on a variety of factors. These factors include the dangerousness of the drug involved, its addictive properties, and whether or not it has any medicinal value, at least according to state and federal standards. The schedules are set by the U.S. Department of Justice. For more a list of controlled substances and where they fall within the federal DOJ’s schedule, you can click here. Also, for further details about the different drug charges in Virginia, consult with a Virginia drug attorney.
Manufacture, Sale, Distribution & Possession
This section of the Commonwealth code covers a number of subsection that deal with different amounts or different types of drugs. In general, the section is based on the premise that it is illegal for a person to manufacture, distribute, sell, give, or possess with the intent to distribute a controlled substance. See Section 18.2-248(A).
Schedule I and II Controlled Substances
If you are found guilty of the manufacture, sale, giving, distribution, or possession with intent to distribute of a Schedule I or II substance that isn’t methamphetamines you face the possibility of a felony conviction that may result in five to 40 years in prison and a fine up to $500,000. See Section 18.2-248(C).
18.2-248(C). A Virginia drug lawyer can help explain how enhanced mandatory minimum penalties work. If, however, you have a prior conviction of this offense, the penalty increases to five years to life in prison and the same fine range. In addition, you will face an enhanced mandatory minimum penalty of three years in prison. See Section
Two or more prior convictions on your criminal record can increase the potential penalty to 10 years to life in prison and the $500,000 fine. The enhanced mandatory minimum penalty jumps to 10 years in prison. See Section 18.2-248(C).
If you are convicted of the manufacture, sale, giving, distribution, or possession with intent to distribute of one of the following Schedule I or II drugs, the penalty can range from five years to life in prison and a $1 million fine. The enhanced penalty of a mandatory minimum of five years in prison will also apply. See Section 18.2-248(C). The controlled substances that apply to this portion of the code are:
- Heroin: 100 or more grams,
- Cocaine, coca leaves, and/or ecgonine: 500 grams or more,
- Crack, or cocaine base: 250 grams or more,
- Methamphetamine: 10 grams or more,
- Any substance with a detectable amount of meth: 20 grams or more.
Do not, however, assume that the enhanced penalty is an absolute automatic. It is possible to avoid this enhanced punishment if certain factors can be proved. These include, but are not limited to the fact that:
- You lack prior conviction of a violent felony offense, as defined and listed in Section 17.2-805;
- The offense did not result in a death or serious bodily injury;
- You were not the leader or organizer or others involved in the crime, and you were not part of a continuing criminal enterprise (defined in Section 18.248(I);
- You did not resort to violence, threats of violence, have a gun or other deadly weapon at the time of the offense;
Offenses Involving Methamphetamines in VA
The charge of manufacturing, selling giving, distributing, or possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine – or a substance with less than 200 grams of meth – carries its own set of potential penalties. This is also a felony conviction, and can result in a 10 to 40 year term in prison and a $500,000 fine. See Section 18.2-248(C1). Furthermore, those so convicted will be required to compensate any owner whose property it damaged, destroyed, or rendered unusable because of methamphetamine production, as long as that owner was not aware of the illegal activity. If you own the property in question, you will be made to pay the state government’s Methamphetamine Cleanup Fund for the actual or estimated expenses involved in the cleanup, repair, or removal of the property. In the event that a “reasonable estimate” is not possible, a default sum of $10,000 will be ordered.
Again, having a previous conviction of such a charge can increase the penalty to 10 years to life in prison. The fine remains the same and the requirement for compensating property owners or paying the Methamphetamine Cleanup Fund will also still apply. Two or more prior convictions involving methamphetamines bumps the penalty up to 10 years to life in prison with a mandatory minimum three years in prison.