Virginia Drug Trafficking Lawyer
In the Commonwealth of Virginia, there is a technical difference between drug possession with the intent to distribute and drug trafficking. Drug possession with the intent to distribute, often abbreviated to “PWID,” occurs when someone sells, gives, distributes, or possesses with a present intent to manufacture, sell, give, or distribute a controlled substance or imitation controlled substance. Drug trafficking, on the other hand, is a separate and distinct felony offense and governs situations in which an individual brings a large quantity of drugs into the Commonwealth. The penalties for both PWID and trafficking are severe, with five to forty years in prison being the penalty for a conviction, along with high possible fines, and a mandatory minimum of three (3) years incarceration in the case of trafficking.
Drug trafficking is a serious crime. If charged, you will need an experienced Virginia drug trafficking lawyer to advocate on your behalf. An attorney will explain strategies, help you understand the potential risks, and develop a defense strategy. An experienced Virginia criminal defense lawyer understands the drug laws of Virginia and can help you understand what must be proven in order for you to be found guilty of the offenses and where defenses may lie. Learn about other drug crimes in Virginia.
Drug Schedules in Virginia
Virginia classifies drugs in the following manner:
- Schedule I drugs have a high potential for abuse, but no recognized medical value, such as heroin or LSD.
- Schedule II drugs have a high potential for abuse and severe addiction, but have an accepted medical use. Drugs in this class include cocaine, PCP, methamphetamine, and methadone
- Schedule III drugs have less potential for abuse than Schedule II drugs, as well as a moderate chance of addiction and have an accepted medical use. These include substances like codeine and anabolic steroids.
- Schedule IV drugs have less potential for abuse than Schedule III substances, a limited potential for addiction, and accepted medical uses. They include sedatives and tranquilizers like Xanax and Valium
- Schedule V drugs have a low potential for addiction and have accepted medical uses. Codeine cough syrups fall into this category.
- Schedule VI drugs are certain substances that are not drugs in a conventional sense but are used recreationally and abused. These include toluene (used in paint), as well as inhalants like amyl nitrite, nitrous oxide and butyl nitrite.
Virginia classifies marijuana separately from the substances listed above. If you are in possession of more than one-half ounce, you could be arrested for drug possession with intent to distribute depending on the circumstances. In addition, if you bring more than five pounds into the Commonwealth, you could face drug trafficking charges.
You could be arrested for drug possession with intent to distribute if you have a large quantity of any of these substances and have no legal prescription. This would indicate that you do not have them for personal use but intend to sell them for profit.
Penalties for violating 18.2-248, which encompasses possession with intent to distribute, include:
- For Schedule I or II drugs – a felony conviction and prison time from five to 40 years; fines up to $500,000. A second conviction carries potential life in prison with a minimum five years, three of which are considered a mandatory minimum, and the same potential fine of up to $500,000.
- For Schedule III – a Class 5 felony, one to ten (10) years in prison, with the exception of anabolic steroids.
- For Schedule IV – a Class 6 felony, one to five (5) years in prison, or in the court’s discretion, up to twelve (12) months in jail, and/or a fine of up to $2,500.
- For Schedule V or VI – a Class 1 misdemeanor, up to 12 months in jail, and/or a fine of up to $2,500.
- Marijuana – depending on the amount (by weight) of marijuana involved, possession with intent to distribute can be a felony or a misdemeanor. When weight is an element of the offense, it is important to discuss potential defenses with an experienced drug defense attorney.
Drug possession with intent to distribute (PWID), drug distribution, and drug manufacturing are subject to serious and complex laws in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Virginia Code Section 18.2-248 is voluminous statute to comprehend, as it covers a variety of serious drug scenarios, including distribution, possession with intent to distribute and manufacturing. However, an experienced Virginia drug possession and drug trafficking attorney has the skills and experience to apply the facts of your case to the this statute and present the best possible defense to your unique scenario. The penalties are severe, with long prison sentences and a potential for high fines. See your Virginia drug trafficking lawyer today if you have been arrested for any of these serious drug offenses. Call Thomas Soldan Attorney at Law for a free consultation.