Virginia Drug Crime Law
Virginia Drug Crime Attorneys
In the state of Virginia, criminal drug charges can result in either felony or misdemeanor penalties, depending on various factors. These factors include the type and quantity of controlled substances involved, as well as the purpose of possession (personal use, distribution, or sale). The interpretation of evidence and circumstances surrounding controlled substance crimes can be subjective, which is why our experienced Virginia drug defense attorneys are available to assist you throughout your case.
By engaging the services of a skilled drug defense lawyer in NoVa, you greatly increase your chances of having the charges against you reduced or dismissed. Our Virginia drug lawyers have extensive experience in defending against controlled substance charges and possess in-depth knowledge of Virginia’s drug laws and successful defense strategies.
Marijuana Possession Crimes in Virginia
According to Virginia criminal code § 18.2-250.1, knowingly and intentionally possessing marijuana without a prescription from a licensed medical doctor is illegal. However, simply owning or occupying a vehicle or building in which marijuana is discovered by authorities does not establish a crime of marijuana possession.
Under this code, the penalty for marijuana possession in Virginia is a misdemeanor, with fines of up to $500 and a maximum of 30 days of incarceration. For second-time offenders, the penalty is elevated to a Class 1 misdemeanor, with up to one year of incarceration and fines of up to $2,500.
Penalties for Marijuana Sale/Cultivation Crimes
Code § 18.2-248.1 establishes stiffer penalties for individuals involved in marijuana cultivation or possession with intent to sell or distribute. The severity of the penalties depends on the weight of the marijuana involved. For instance, manufacturing more than 5 pounds of marijuana is considered a felony, with fines of up to $10,000 and a prison term ranging from 5 to 30 years.
For marijuana sale and distribution crimes involving between 0.5 ounces and 5 pounds of marijuana, the offense is a Class 5 felony, carrying a maximum prison term of 10 years and fines of up to $2,500. Crimes involving more than 5 pounds of marijuana can result in a prison term ranging from 5 to 30 years.
Sale and distribution crimes involving less than 0.5 ounces of marijuana are considered Class 1 misdemeanors, with penalties of up to $2,500 in fines and one year in jail. Those who violate code § 18.2-248.1 three times can face 5 years to life imprisonment, along with a maximum fine of $500,000.
Controlled Substance Possession Crimes in Virginia
Virginia criminal code § 18.2-250 covers laws regarding controlled substances other than marijuana. Possessing any controlled substance without a prescription from an authorized healthcare provider is prohibited under this code. Similar to marijuana laws, possession charges cannot be established solely based on finding a controlled substance in a dwelling or vehicle owned by an individual. Law enforcement officers on official duty are also exempt from this code.
The penalties for drug possession violations in NoVa vary depending on the type of drug involved. A skilled Virginia drug lawyer can provide further details on the specific penalties associated with different controlled substances. For Schedule I and II controlled substances, the offense is a Class 5 felony, with fines of up to $2,500 and a maximum prison term of 10 years. Schedule III drugs result in a Class 1 misdemeanor, with fines of up to $2,500 and a maximum jail term of one year. Possession of Schedule IV drugs is a Class 2 misdemeanor, carrying a maximum fine of $1,000 and up to 180 days in jail.
Possession violations involving Schedule V drugs are considered Class 3 misdemeanors, with fines of up to $500. For Schedule VI drug possession crimes, the penalty is a Class 4 misdemeanor, with a maximum fine of $250.
Controlled Substance Distribution and Manufacture in Virginia
As in other states, drug distribution, sale, and manufacturing crimes are treated more severely than simple possession offenses in Virginia. Code § 18.2-248 makes it illegal to give, sell, distribute, cultivate, or manufacture controlled substances. Possessing a large quantity of a drug with the intent to sell or distribute, as opposed to personal use, is also prohibited.
The harshest penalties under this code apply to individuals in possession of more than 100 grams of heroin (or heroin mixture), 10 grams of methamphetamine (or 20 grams of methamphetamine mixture), or 500 grams of cocaine (or cocaine mixture). Offenders found guilty of these crimes face a felony, with a prison term ranging from 5 years to life and fines not exceeding $1 million. A mandatory minimum of five years in prison applies to these specific crimes, with no possibility of parole.
Penalties for lesser quantities vary based on the specific drug involved. For Schedule I and II drugs, penalties range from 5 to 40 years of incarceration, fines up to $500,000, and a felony conviction. Second-time offenders face the same penalties, with a maximum prison term of life instead of 40 years. Third-time offenders face the same penalties, with five years in prison as the mandatory minimum.
For Schedule III drugs, the penalty is reduced to 10 years in prison and fines not exceeding $2,500, classified as a Class 5 felony. Other penalties for drug manufacture and distribution crimes are as follows:
- Schedule IV controlled substances: Class 6 felony, up to 5 years in prison, and fines up to $2,500.
- Schedule V controlled substances: Class 1 misdemeanor, up to 1 year in jail, and fines up to $2,500.
- Schedule VI controlled substances: Class 1 misdemeanor, up to 1 year in jail, and fines up to $2,500.
Laws Regarding Drug Testing in Virginia
According to criminal code § 18.2-251.4, it is illegal in Virginia to intentionally and deceitfully defeat a drug and/or alcohol screening test. This code also prohibits the sale, distribution, transportation, or marketing of “clean” human urine intended to help someone pass a drug/alcohol screening test.
Using substitution products to deceive drug tests, as well as modifying or tampering with a urine sample, are also prohibited under this code. Violators of this law face a Class 1 misdemeanor, with fines up to $2,500 and a maximum jail term of one year. Due to the subjective nature of interpreting this law, establishing guilt typically requires strong scientific evidence.
Our experienced Virginia criminal defense attorneys possess the necessary expertise to effectively fight these charges.