Finding a Virginia Drug Attorney
What Are Possible Drug Charges in Virginia?
Crimes committed with drugs in Virginia in which a drug attorney would be able to assist can be, but are not limited to the following:
Possession (including Marijuana)
Possession with intent to distribute
Possession of related paraphernalia
Illegal possession of prescription or controlled substances
What type of charges you will be facing would depend to a great extent on the category of drug involved in the alleged offense. Drugs are restricted to, or designated to a schedule, based on an array of factors. These factors include the hazardous effect 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.
The commonwealth of Virginia punishes the possession, manufacture, and distribution of illegal narcotics as well as the illicit possession and distribution of prescription medications. Penalties for these offenses, as stated above, vary based on the classification of substance in question and the asperity of the charge. For example, conviction of simple marijuana possession would likely result in a less rigid sentence than possession with intent to distribute or possession of a controlled hazardous substance, such as heroin. Despite the circumstances, it is wise to not take any Virginia drug charge without serious regard. With fines and incarceration, including mandatory minimums for stipulated offenses, as possible penalties, a conviction can have a serious impact on not only your finances but most importantly your freedom.
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 meth amphetamines 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).
A Virginia drug lawyer can assist in explaining how enhanced mandatory minimum penalties work. However, if you have a prior conviction of this offense, the penalty increases to five years to life in prison and the same fine range. Also, you will come up against an enhanced mandatory minimum penalty of three years in prison. See Section18.2-248(C). 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 assume that the enhanced penalty is going to be automatic. There is a possibility 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;
Manufacture, Sale, Distribution & Possession
This section of the Commonwealth code covers many subsections that deal with array 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).
Offenses Involving Meth Amphetamines 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 possible 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).
As well, those so convicted will be required to compensate any owner whose property it damaged, destroyed, or rendered unusable because of methamphetamine production, assuming the owner was unaware of the illegal activity. If you have ownership of 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.
Having a previous conviction of such a charge can increase the penalty up 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.
For more questions or to request a free initial consultation contact The Smith Firm PLLC today, and we will be happy to guide you in the right direction toward obtaining a Drug Lawyer who will suite your needs.