Virginia Drug Attorney

Depending on the crime and surrounding factors, drug offenses can range from felonies to misdemeanors. An experienced Virginia drug lawyer will be able to ensure that you avail of all your legal rights. The lawyer can protect you against false charges and fight for reduced penalties or dropped charges in other cases.

A drug attorney will have in-depth knowledge of the law and extensive experience in handling similar legal cases. Facing drug charges in the Commonwealth of Virginia is a serious matter, and you need an experienced attorney to represent you in order to realize maximum protection under the law.

We have additional information on charges in these jurisdictions:

How a Virginia Drug Lawyer Can Help

A private attorney with experience in handling drug cases is essential if you want to avail yourself of the maximum protection provided to you by the law. The code covering drug crimes together with the voluminous related case law is usually too complex for laypeople to tackle on their own.

drug lawyer in VirginiaAn aggressive Virginia drug lawyer can fight for your rights using every possible defense provided by the court system. He or she will know all the proper procedures that the police must follow when carrying out their investigations. If necessary, they can call expert witnesses to testify on your behalf.

Our attorneys have experience dealing with drug charges in numerous Virginia counties and cities, including: Fairfax, Arlington, Prince William County, Manassas, Richmond, Virginia Beach, and other jurisdictions.  Call our firm today to learn how you can benefit from aggressive representation in your legal matter.

Crimes Involving Other Drugs

It is illegal to possess, manufacture, distribute, or use an illegal or illicit substance under Virginia law. Controlled substances other than marijuana come under Virginia criminal code Section 18.2-250. The code forbids the possession of any controlled substance without an authorized medical prescription. Here again, the prosecutors must prove that the individual knowingly and intentionally possessed the drug. Simply finding the drug in the home or apartment of the individual does not constitute sufficient evidence for possession.

Abusing Medically Approved Drugs

If an individual possesses drugs that are medically approved without a prescription they can be charged with a criminal offense. If a person took an impairing medication before operating a motor vehicle, she or he can be charged with driving under the influence, despite having a valid prescription for the medication.

Drug Crimes in Virginia

Drug crimes are treated harshly in Virginia. They are penalized harshly and there is a stigma attached to drug related charges. Defense attorneys can help because they can defend against these charges. They can determine if anything problematic happened during the course of the arrest, complete an investigation of the case, including into police misconduct, and/or search for evidence that can mitigate the sentence when prosecutors have a good case.

A possession offense is the most common crime seen in the state of Virginia, followed by distribution charges. The types of drugs that are common in Virginia include marijuana, cocaine, or methamphetamines. Possession of prescription drugs without prescriptions, such as Adderall, or pain killers, are also common offenses in Virginia.  Heroin charges are recently on the rise as well.

Penalties

Your Virginia drug lawyer can explain to you the specific way that the penalties for charges like yours are commonly assessed.  The most important thing to keep in mind is: the more dangerous the substance(s) involved, the more severe the penalties may be. Penalties for a given charge may also be enhanced by where the alleged crime took place (e.g. near a school, around children) or what quantity of substances are in question (e.g. less than a gram vs. over five pounds).

Penalties for possession under Section 18.2-250 depend on the specific drug involved. Possession of Schedule I and II controlled substances constitutes a Class 5 felony. Penalties for this violation are fines up to $2,500, and up to 10 years imprisonment.

Possession of Schedule III controlled substances include up to $2,500 in fines and incarceration up to one year. In this case, the crime is a Class 1 misdemeanor rather than a felony. Possession of Schedule V drugs is a Class 3 misdemeanor with fines up to $500. The penalty for Schedule VI controlled substance possession, a Class 4 misdemeanor, is a fine up to $250.

The manufacture, sale and distribution of controlled substances comes under the purview of Virginia criminal code Section 18.2-248. The simple possession of a large quantity of such drugs can be sufficient evidence to show that you intended to sell or distribute the substances.

For possession of specific minimum quantities of heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine, or mixtures that include these drugs, the law provides penalties of fines up to $1 million and imprisonment from five years to life. The minimum incarceration period for this crime is five years without the chance for parole.

Violations of Section 18.2-248 involving Schedule III drugs, a Class 5 felony, bring penalties of fines up to $2,500 and prison sentences of up to 10 years. Here are the maximum penalties for other types of controlled substances:

    • Schedule IV drugs – Up to five years imprisonment and $2500 fine, Class 6 felony
    • Schedule V drugs – Up to one year imprisonment and $2500 fine, Class 1 misdemeanor
    • Schedule VI drugs – Up to one year imprisonment and $2500 fine, Class 1 misdemeanor

Constitutional Issues That Present Themselves In Drug Cases

Constitutional issues in drug cases are present at every step. Most commonly, we see them in search and seizures issues or stop issues. A police officer’s first interaction with an individual, which may be why the officer pulled the car over or why the police stopped the person to talk to them must have a valid legal basis. Any searches that a police officer does of the individual or their vehicle and any statements taken have to be done according to specific rules and regulations to preserve that person’s constitutional rights.

Virginia Drug Schedule Definitions

In Virginia, the Drug Control Act, which tracks federally classified illegal substances, specifies what illicit substance are, classifies illegal substances, and ranks them from the most heavily penalized substances to the least penalized substances. The ranking is determined by the drug Schedules, with the most serious substances, Schedule I and Schedule II, being more heavily penalized and the less serious substances being less harshly penalized.

Here is a guide to the different schedules of controlled substances in Virginia:

    • Schedule 1 – Drugs that are addictive with no medical use including heroin, LSD, and Ecstasy
    • Schedule 2 — Drugs that are addictive with some medical use including cocaine, PCP and morphine
    • Schedule 3 — Drugs that are highly addictive with frequent medical use including steroids, ketamine and hydrocodone
    • Schedule 4 — Drugs that are slightly addictive with frequent medical use including Valium and Xanax
    • Schedule 5 – Minor risk medications like codeine
    • Schedule 6 – Non-addictive substances like marijuana

The Drug Control Act of Virginia, which is written in the Virginia code, provides the penalties for drug related charges. It starts with Schedule I drugs, which are punished more harshly, and ends with Schedule V drugs, including the penalty range for all of the drug Schedules in between.

Crimes Involving Marijuana

Virginia criminal code Section 18.2-250.1 forbids the knowing or intentional possession of marijuana without a prescription from a licensed doctor. The law makes such possession a misdemeanor with penalties of fines up to $500 and incarceration up to 30 days. In cases of a second offense, a Class 1 misdemeanor penalty is applicable with up to $2,500 in fines and up to a year in prison.

The law requires that prosecutors prove that a person had knowing and intentional possession of the drug. For example, it is not enough to show that the individual owned a vehicle in which the authorities found marijuana.

Penalties for the sale or cultivation of marijuana are more severe than those for simple possession. Criminal code Section 18.2-248.1 provides for up to $10,000 in fines and from five to 30 years of incarceration for the manufacture of more than five pounds of marijuana.For the sale of the drug involving between 0.5 ounces and five pounds, the penalties involve fines of up to $2,500 and imprisonment lasting no more than 10 years.

Violation of the code three times results in penalties of fines up to $500,000 and incarceration of from five years to life.

Since marijuana is treated in a unique way in Virginia, it is important to consult with an experienced and knowledgeable Virginia drug lawyer who can explain exactly how the law applies to your case.

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Contact a Drug Attorney in Virginia

A person facing drug charges in Virginia should contact an attorney because there is too much at stake in drug charges to go through the process without an attorney. It is necessary to have an attorney that is able to push back against the system and ensure that the prosecutor has enough evidence to support a conviction and that the officer complied with the legal requirements to support an arrest.

A person that is arrested or thinks that they are going to be arrested for a drug offense should call an attorney immediately, even if they have not been arrested. The sooner that the accused gets an attorney, the sooner the attorney can begin protecting their right.