Virginia Criminal Defense Attorney
The laws pertaining to drug violations in Brunswick County can be very confusing. The severity of a crime often varies according to a number of different factors, including prior offenses and the type of substance involved. Despite the relaxation of certain restrictions with respect to marijuana, the substance is still not considered legal in most situations, and penalties for other drug-related offenses remain serious.
If you are facing drug charges, it is a good idea to consult an experienced Brunswick County drug lawyer as soon as possible. A knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer could help you protect your rights while you work together toward a positive outcome.
While laws involving controlled substances change often, many of the statutes have been connected with the codified Drug Control Act, which begins in Va. Code Ann. §54.1-3400. The Act starts with a definition of terms and includes six schedules listing a large number of controlled substances.
These schedules classify drugs based on the danger they pose. Those considered to have a greater potential for abuse, addictive properties, and little or no approved medical use are listed on schedules I. Those that pose a danger of addition of abuse but with currently accepted medical use are listed on Schedule II.
At the other end of the scale, substances frequently prescribed by doctors and with little history of known abuse are classified on Schedules V and VI. Marijuana is treated differently with a separate set of applicable laws.
Examples of controlled substances on different schedules include:
The Drug Control Act regulates the classification and use of drugs, but criminal offenses involving drugs are set forth in the criminal section of the state code.
The state laws concerning marijuana make it clear that recreational use of marijuana is still illegal. Va. Code Ann. §18.2-250.1 specifies that “it is unlawful for any person knowingly or intentionally to possess marijuana unless the substance was obtained directly from, or pursuant to, a valid prescription or order of a practitioner while acting in the course of his professional practice.”
However, the penalties included in this section are less severe than those for possession of many other controlled substances or infractions that occurred in conjunction with other offenses. A first time offender may be sentenced to no more than 30 days in jail with a fine of no more than $500.
Subsequent violations, however, are treated as a Class I misdemeanor with penalties that include up to one year of imprisonment and a fine of up to $2,500.
In addition, possession with intent to sell, give, or distribute marijuana is a more serious offense than simple possession. If the amount involved half an ounce or less, the offense is considered a Class 1 misdemeanor, but if amounts greater than that are involved, it becomes a Class 5 felony. Moreover, if the offense involves more than five pounds of marijuana, the person charged faces up to 30 years in prison.
Drug cases can be tricky to understand. Someone may possess controlled substances for their personal use but may be treated as if they intend to distribute the drug, which is a much more serious offense.
It is important for those charged to understand their rights. For instance, knowledge or intentional possession of marijuana cannot be automatically be inferred by a finding of the substance in someone’s car or home.
If you are facing drug charges, call now to learn how a Brunswick County drug lawyer could protect your rights and help you achieve a positive outcome in your case.