Being charged with a drug crime in Virginia could have life-long consequences for an individual, especially if convicted of the crime. At the offices of Bain Sheldon, our attorneys and counselors at law believe that all those who are charged with a crime not only deserve legal representation, but deserve high-quality, committed representation. When you call our law firm, our team can help you to prepare your case, understand your rights, and navigate the legal system. To learn more, call us today or send us a message. We encourage you to call our lawyers as soon as possible after being arrested for a drug crime in our state.
As found in Virginia Statutes Section 18.2-250, it is against the law for any person to knowingly or intentionally possess a controlled substance, with the exception of cases in which the controlled substance was lawfully obtained by order of valid prescription.
And it’s not just the possession of a controlled substance that is illegal – Section 18.2-248 of the statutes makes it clear that manufacturing, selling, giving, or distributing a controlled substance is also illegal.
A controlled substance is further referred to in the same section of Virginia code as a substance that is found in the list of drug schedules, and may be a Schedule I, II, III, IV, V, or VI substance. This includes cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines, and more.
Each type of drug crime–drug possession, drug manufacture, and drug distribution–is penalized differently in our state depending on the nature of the crime, the schedule of the drug involved, and the amount of the drug involved. Sometimes, other factors can also affect the severity of the crime, such as whether or not the crime involved selling to a minor.
Drug possession in Virginia is typically classified as a misdemeanor offense.
- Possession of a Schedule VI drug: Class 4 misdemeanor
- Possession of a Schedule V drug: Class 3 misdemeanor
- Possession of a Schedule IV drug: Class 2 misdemeanor
- Possession of a Schedule III drug: Class 1 misdemeanor
- Possession of a Schedule I or II drug: Class 5 felony
Class 4 and 3 misdemeanor offenses do not typically result in any jail time, but will result in a fine ranging from $250-$500 (respective of the severity of the offense). Class 1 and Class 2 misdemeanors can result in jail time and large fines – up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500 for Class 1 misdemeanors, and up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000 for Class 2 misdemeanors. The drug possession crime that is most harshly penalized in Virginia is a Class 5 felony drug possession conviction, which can result in between two and 10 years in prison or/and a fine of up to $2,500.
Note that while the drug marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug under federal law, possession of less than ½ ounce of marijuana in Virginia is penalized as a misdemeanor with a fine of up to $500.
Drug Manufacturing, Selling, Giving, Distributing, or Possession with Intent to Manufacture, Give, Sell, or Distribute
Even more serious than merely possessing a controlled substance in Virginia is distributing, selling, giving, or manufacturing a controlled substance, or possessing a controlled substance with the intent to do any of the above.
The penalties for selling, giving, or distributing a controlled substance in Virginia are very harsh. Indeed, a sentence following a conviction could even be life imprisonment and a fine of up to $1 million in some cases. If you have been charged with a drug manufacture, sale, or distribution crime, it is incredibly important that you reach out to a skilled criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible to start building your case.
When you hire the law office of Bain Sheldon, our experienced drug defense lawyers will work hard to help you build a defense that is appropriate for your case. While the defense strategy that you employ will be very specific to you, examples of defenses to drug charges include:
Lack of intent: The burden to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt is on the shoulders of the prosecution, and the prosecution must prove that you had intent to manufacture, distribute, sell, or give in order to convict on such as a charge. While the prosecution may be able to prove that you were indeed in possession of drugs, you may be able to offer evidence that shows a lack of intent to do anything else.
Drugs were unlawfully obtained: The prosecution cannot use any evidence obtained against you–including proof of your possession of drugs–if that evidence was obtained in a manner that was unlawful. Per the U.S. Constitution, you are protected from unlawful search and seizure. As such, if evidence was obtained as a result of an unlawful search (i.e. the police didn’t have a warrant), then this evidence cannot be held against you in a court of law.
No possession/no crime: Another defense is simply that you did not commit the crime in question, and that the drugs belong to another party.
If pleading not guilty and presenting a defense isn’t sensible, our lawyers can assist you by representing you in the negotiation of a plea bargain with the prosecution, which could result in reduced charges or a reduced sentence.
Call Our Experienced Drug Defense Lawyers in Virginia Today
If you have been charged with a drug crime in Virginia, we know how scared you may be. You are not alone. At the law office of Bain Sheldon, our Virginia drug defense lawyers can provide you with the legal support and representation you need. Please schedule a consultation with our legal team by calling our office directly or send us a message at your convenience. We are here to help you.