Virginia laws you should know about concerning drug offenses
Drug offenses and the associated penalties vary based on the type and quantity of drugs in your possession. However, the law clearly outlines the rules and regulations for drug possession, trafficking and use. Some controlled substances are a more serious offense than others and you should be aware of the risks of being caught in possession of such drugs.
To help you gain a better understanding of Virginia drug crimes, we’ve outlined the various laws associated with those crimes. Having a better understanding of the law can help you work in close conjunction with your attorney to build a strong criminal defense.
Here’s a look at the various Virginia drug offense laws you should know about.
Virginia law on transporting controlled substances
Virginia law covers transporting controlled substances in Section 18.2-248.01. The law makes it clear that you cannot transport drugs into the commonwealth of Virginia with the intent to sell or otherwise distribute those drugs. The law outlines in clear verbiage what selling controlled substances would entail:
“One ounce or more of cocaine, coca leaves or any salt, compound, derivative or preparation thereof as described in Schedule II of the Drug Control Act or one ounce or more of any other Schedule I or II controlled substance or five or more pounds of marijuana.”
The law further outlines these offenses as a felony, with a penalty of imprisonment for 5-40 years. It also states that the perpetrator can be fined up to $1 million. Second-time offenders face at least 10 years in prison.
Controlled substance possession
Under Virginia law section 18.2-250, a person who knowingly possesses a controlled substance that they obtained without a prescription or other authorization can face illegal possession penalties. These penalties are based on the type of drug you’re found in possession of.
- Substances classified in Schedule I or II is guilty of a Class 5 felony
- Substances classified in Schedule III is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor
- Substances classified in Schedule IV is guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor
- Substances classified in Schedule V is guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor
- Substances classified in Schedule VI is guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor
Marijuana possession in Virginia
Despite marijuana becoming legal in some states, it is still illegal in Virginia without a valid prescription. If you are knowingly in possession of marijuana and cannot produce a valid prescription, you can be charged with illegal marijuana possession.
Virginia law section 18.2-250.1 outlines the consequences for such an offense. It is a misdemeanor offense that is punishable with up to 30 days in prison and a fine of up to $500.
Distributed controlled substances to minors
When an adult who is 18 years of age or older distributes or sells drugs to a minor who is at least three years younger than the seller, the seller faces severe penalties. This is a felony offense, punishable by 10-50 years in prison.
Under Virginia law section 18.2-255, distributing Schedule I or Schedule II drugs to minors is an even more serious offense.
Selling or distributing controlled substances near controlled areas
While it’s illegal to sell or distribute controlled substances anywhere, it’s especially bad if law enforcement catches you near certain protected locations. These locations include:
- Schools, including daycares, colleges and universities
- Public property, such as a park
- School buses
- Within 1,000 feet of a school bus stop at the time a child is getting on or off at the bus stop
- A public library, recreation center or community center
Section 18.2-255.2 of Virginia law outlines how this offense can make penalties even worse:
“Violation of this section shall constitute a separate and distinct felony. Any person violating the provisions of this section shall, upon conviction, be imprisoned for a term of not less than one year nor more than five years and fined not more than $100,000.”
Virginia criminal defense for drug crimes
From the moment law enforcement charges you with a drug-related crime, you should retain a good Virginia criminal defense attorney. Invoke your right to remain silent until your attorney is present. No matter whether or not you think you’re guilty, it’s important to retain good counsel to avoid conviction.
Gore & Kuperman has a team of experienced criminal defense attorneys prepared to take on your drug-related charges. We can help you avoid conviction or plead the case down to lesser charges. Allow us to be your trusted advisor and see you through the challenges of the legal system. Contact us for more information.