Like many other states, the Commonwealth of Virginia classifies all controlled substances according to schedule, in accordance with the federal Controlled Substances Act. The only exception is marijuana, which falls into its own classification.
The penalties for drug-related offenses depend on the amount or weight of the drug involved, the type of drug, and other relevant circumstances.
The consequences of a conviction on drug offenses are severe, especially if you fail to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney. If you are facing any sort of drug charge, you may wish to consult a Culpeper County drug lawyer about your available options.
One of the most common drug-related criminal offenses is possession, which is governed by Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-250. It is illegal under this section to knowingly possess a controlled substance obtained without a valid prescription or other authorized means. Essentially, the charges and penalties for possession of a controlled substance vary according to the schedule of the drug.
For example, possession of a Schedule I or II controlled substance is a Class 5 felony, which carries a potential penalty of one to ten years in prison, or at the discretion of a judge or jury, up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500. However, possession of a Schedule VI controlled substance results only in a Class 4 misdemeanor, whose only penalty is a $250 fine.
Possession of marijuana falls under Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-250.1. A first-time offender who is charged with marijuana possession is punishable by a penalty of up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine. A second or subsequent conviction for possession of marijuana is a Class 1 misdemeanor, which may result in up to 12 months in jail and a $2,500 fine.
Under Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-255.2, it is illegal for individuals to manufacture, sell, distribute, or possess with intent to distribute controlled substances or marijuana in the following situations:
Violation of this section is a separate felony offense that carries a potential penalty of one to five years in prison and a fine not to exceed $100,000. A second or subsequent conviction involving a Schedule I, II, or III controlled substance or more than one-half ounce of marijuana carries a mandatory minimum period of imprisonment of one year.
Drug offenses have harsh penalties, particularly if you have a prior conviction for a drug offense. If you are charged of any drug-related crime, no matter the schedule of the controlled substance or whether it involves marijuana, you should strongly consider contacting a skilled Culpeper County drug lawyer, who may be able to assist you in determining the best strategy to handle your case.