Drug crimes in Virginia range in severity from minor misdemeanors, where a conviction is unlikely to result in more than a few days of jail time, to major felonies, which carry potential lifetime prison sentences. What makes each offense different is largely dependent upon three pieces of information:
What type of drug(s) was involved in the charge?
What is the volume, weight, or quantity of the drug?
Was there intent to distribute the drug(s)?
Drug Offenses in Virginia
- Possession of Marijuana – VA Code § 18.2-250.1
Possession of marijuana is charged when it is believed that you knowingly possessed marijuana without a valid prescription. A first offense possession conviction is an unclassified misdemeanor. If you’ve previously been convicted of marijuana possession, then a subsequent conviction will be deemed a Class 1 Misdemeanor. You can be charged with possession even if you did not have drugs on your person at the time of the arrest under constructive possession.
- Sale, Distribution & Possession with Intent to Distribute Marijuana – VA Code § 18.2-248.1
Virginia law states that it is illegal to sell, give, distribute, or possess with intent to sell, give, or distribute marijuana. The penalties related to this offense are directly related to the amount of marijuana associated with the charge.
- Drug Trafficking – VA Code § 18.2-248.01
In Virginia, it is a felony to transport into the state an ounce or more of cocaine, an ounce or more of any Schedule I or II controlled substance, or five or more pounds of marijuana. A first offense can mean up to 40 years in prison with a required three year minimum, along with up to $1 million in fines.
- Felony Drug Possession/Controlled Substance – VA Code § 18.2-250.1Virginia classifies drugs and controlled substances into six categories, or schedules. Schedule I drugs are deemed to have the highest potential for abuse or addiction, so the penalties associated with Schedule I drug charges are the most severe. Examples of these drugs are heroin and LSD. If you are convicted of with a drug offense related to a Schedule I or Schedule II substance, then you will be guilty of a Class 5 Felony.
- Manufacturing Controlled Substance – VA Code § 18.2-248
It is unlawful to manufacture, sell, give, or distribute a controlled substance. It is also a violation of Virginia law to possess a controlled substance with the intent to perform any of those actions. Similar to the charge of possession of a controlled substance, the penalties associated with manufacturing a controlled substance are incredibly severe for Schedule I and II drugs. Even Schedule V and VI substances are high level misdemeanors.
- Federal Drug Offenses – Title 21 United States Code (USC) Controlled Substances Act
Being charged with a federal drug offense usually means that you have been charged with a high level drug crime or you have been charge with a drug offense on federal land, such as a national park. A conviction in Federal Court will result in penalties in line with Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which are generally harsher than state imposed penalties.
Facing drug crime charges in Virginia?
If you’ve been charged with a drug crime in Virginia, the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Copenhaver, Ellett & Derrico can help evaluate the details of your case and your options. For an appointment at our Roanoke office, call us at .