Virginia Drug Possession Attorney
Drug possession in Virginia is a crime that carries harsh penalties. Additionally, you do not have to be in direct possession of a drug in order to be charged with possession of drugs or narcotics. If the drug is “within your control,” in other words, if you have access to the substance such as in a box under your bed or in the glove compartment of your car, a court can determine that it is yours and charge you with a criminal offense. In order to defend against drug possession charges, you would be well-served by contacting a knowledgeable Virginia drug possession attorney. We have the experience and the background necessary to help protect you against any erroneous or over-zealous charges by supplying you with the most current information available and by representing you in court. Possession is not the only drug charge, and we have further information on other drug offenses here.
Virginia Penalties for Possession of Certain Drugs
Drug crimes and penalties in Virginia are based on schedules, which classify drugs and penalties associated with possession according to the drug’s addictiveness and whether or not it serves any medicinal purpose, as defined by the Commonwealth. The penalties for a drug possession conviction depend on the schedule of drug in question. Additionally, it is important to note that regardless of the level of possession charge, if you are convicted of drug possession in the Commonwealth of Virginia, you will lose your privilege to operate a motor vehicle for a period of six (6) months. Depending on your driving record, a restricted permit may be authorized by the court, however, the state legislature has tied riving privileges to drug conviction penalties throughout the Code of Virginia.
- Schedule I Drugs: Examples of Schedule I drugs are ecstasy, heroin, GHB, and LSD. These drugs have no known legitimate medical purpose. Possession of a Schedule I drug is a Class 5 felony. The penalties upon conviction are up to 10 years in prison, or up to twelve months in jail and/or up to $2,500 in fines.
- Schedule II Drugs: Examples of Schedule II drugs are cocaine, morphine, methamphetamine, methadone, and PCP. These drugs are dangerous and highly addictive. Possession of a Schedule II drug is a Class 5 felony and the penalties upon conviction are up to 10 years in prison, or up to twelve months in jail and/or up to $2,500 in fines.
- Schedule III Drugs: Examples of Schedule III drugs are Vicodin, Ketamine, Steroids, Hydrocodone, and others. Physicians prescribe these drugs but they are highly addictive. Possession of Schedule III drug is a Class 1 misdemeanor. Penalties on conviction include up to 12 months in jail and/or up to a $2,500 fine.
- Schedule IV Drugs: Examples of Schedule IV drugs are Xanax, Valium, and Rohypnol, among others. These are also prescription drugs that are addictive. Possession of a Schedule IV drug is a Class 2 misdemeanor, and the penalties can include up to six months in jail and up to a $1,000 fine.
- Schedule V Drugs: These are mostly common cold medications that contain codeine. Possession of a Schedule V drug is a Class 3 misdemeanor and is punishable by a fine of up to $500.
- Schedule VI Drugs: These substances have little or no addictive properties. Possession is considered a Class 4 misdemeanor and is punishable by a $250 fine.
Possession of Marijuana in Virginia
Although some states – including Maryland and the District of Columbia — have decriminalized or are in the process of decriminalizing marijuana possession, Virginia has not and possession and use of marijuana is considered a criminal offense. Additionally, whether you are caught with a small amount, for example less than an ounce, or several ounces, Virginia law does not differentiate between the two; if you are found guilty, you still face jail time, and/or probation and fines.
A first offense of marijuana possession in Virginia is an unclassified misdemeanor charge. If you are so convicted, you face up to 30 days in jail, a six-month driver’s license suspension, and a $500 fine. For a second or subsequent offense, the offense is elevated to a Class 1 misdemeanor and you face up to one year in prison, a six-month driver’s license suspension, and fines of up to $2,500. If charged with possession of Marijuana call for a free consultation with an experienced Virginia marijuana possession lawyer.
Luckily, Virginia law offers a deferred disposition in some circumstances. Deferred disposition, as outlined in Virginia Code Section 18.2-251, enables first time offenders to avoid a criminal conviction if they meet certain criteria set by the court. A deferred finding may be available for marijuana possession or more serious felony possession charges, but there are specific eligibility requirements and performance requirements while on the deferred disposition. Therefore, it is very important to speak with a Virginia criminal defense attorney who is well-versed in drug possession charges and who can tell you if your case is suitable for a deferred disposition.
Virginia criminal defense lawyers are your best friends when it comes to successfully defending against a charge of possession or other drug charges. They know the law, they know the court system, and they have the experience, knowledge, and passion to help you through the legal process. A drug charge can result in a lasting criminal record and it can also affect your employment, your family, and your future. Contact a Virginia drug possession defense attorney today for a free evaluation of your case and to learn more about defending against drug possession charges in Virginia.