DRUG OFFENSES IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA

Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William Criminal Lawyer

Drug offenses in Virginia range in severity from misdemeanors to felonies. Whether you’ve been charged with possession of marijuana in Manassas or distribution of a controlled substance in Loudoun, you will need an experienced Fairfax criminal attorney to defend you.

The consequences of a drug-related offense can have a serious impact on your life, including education and career opportunities. Contact us today to discuss your case. Consultations are always free of charge. Call us today at (703) 542-4008 or email at MAR@CriminalAttorneyVA.com

Drug Paraphernalia in Virginia

Drug paraphernalia in Virginia is defined in code §18.2-265.1 as “all equipment, products, and materials of any kind which are either designed for use or which are intended by the person….for use in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, strength testing, analyzing, packaging, repackaging, storing, containing, concealing, injecting, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing into the human body marijuana or a controlled substance.”

● Possessing Drug Paraphernalia:

·Up to $1,000 in fines
·Maximum 6 month jail sentence

● Selling/Distributing Drug Paraphernalia:

·Up to $2,500 in fines
·Maximum 1 year jail sentence (up to 5 years if selling to a minor)

Possession of Marijuana in Virginia

Although marijuana has become widely accepted as a medical remedy, the Commonwealth of Virginia does not recognize medical marijuana. For a first offense marijuana possession charge, you may face up to 30 days in jail, loss of driving privileges, and up to $500 in court fines. The penalties increase with the severity of the offense.

Virginia Code §18.2-250.1 outlines the possession of marijuana as a misdemeanor offense. If you have been convicted of a marijuana possession charge, you will likely face all or some of the following penalties:

● 1st offense:
·Maximum 30 day jail sentence
·Maximum court fine of $500
·Possible community service
·Criminal record (misdemeanor, unclassified)
·Possible license suspension for 6 months
·Possible drug rehabilitation program

● Subsequent offense(s):
·Maximum 12 month jail sentence
·Maximum court fine of $2,500
·Possible community service
·Criminal record (class 1 misdemeanor)
·Possible license suspension for 6 months
·Possible drug rehabilitation program

251 Disposition – Dismissal of First-Time Possession Charge

Virginia offers a “dismissal” option for first time possession convictions, known as a 251 Disposition. However, the requirements for the 251 program are strict, lengthy and must be completed in order to have the charge dismissed. Once you enter the program, you must abide by all the requirements or you will be found guilty of the charge.

The 251 option, though a great option for some, may not be the best choice for others. If you accept a 251 Disposition, you will not qualify for an expungement. Some employers recognize the 251 disposition as a regular conviction because the offender must plead guilty before being approved for the program. This is why contacting a Fairfax criminal attorney about your specific drug case is so important.

●What are the Requirements for a 251 Disposition?
·Guilty plea
·Probation
·Court costs
·Loss of license for 6 months
·24 hours of documented community service
·Random drug screenings (no drugs or alcohol while on probation)
·Timely completion of the 10-week Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program classes (VASAP)
·$350 VASAP enrollment fee

Distribution of Marijuana in Virginia

The most common distribution-related charge is known as “possession with intent to distribute” or PWID. The Virginia justice system considers numerous factors when determining whether or not an individual intended to distribute marijuana. Some of these factors include, but are not limited to quantity, certain paraphernalia such as scales, large sums of cash, expert testimony, and packaging. However, the circumstances for each case vary, which is why you need the expert advice from a criminal Fairfax attorney to help you fight your distribution charge.

Virginia Code § 18.2-248.1 defines selling, distributing, or gifting of marijuana as unlawful. Distributing marijuana can be either a misdemeanor offense or a felony offense, depending on the factors involved.

● Distributing ½ an ounce or less:
·Class 1 misdemeanor
·Maximum 12 month jail sentence
·Maximum $2,500 fine

● Distributing more than ½ an ounce but less than 5 lbs.:
·Class 5 felony
·Maximum 10 year jail sentence
·Maximum $2,500 fine

● Distributing 5 lbs. or more:
·Felony
·Jail sentence of 5 to 30 years
·Maximum $2,500 fine

● Transporting 5 lbs. or more into Virginia:
·Mandatory minimum 3 year jail sentence (10 year mandatory minimum for subsequent offense)
·Possible 30 year jail sentence (first offense)
·Possible 40 year jail sentence (subsequent offense)

Possession of a Controlled Substance in Virginia

Virginia categorizes controlled drugs into six “schedules,” with the highest probability of abuse being schedule I and the least being schedule VI. No matter what schedule of drug, these cases are typically complicated and consulting with a criminal attorney is strongly recommended. Penalties for illegally possessing a controlled substance vary according to the schedule of the drug and whether you’re charged with a first or subsequent offense.

● Schedule I (Heroin, Ecstasy, LSD, GHB):
·Class 5 felony
·Maximum $2,500 fine
·1 to 1o year jail sentence

● Schedule II (Methamphetamines, Cocaine, Morphine, Adderall, Ritalin, PCP):
·Class 5 felony
·Maximum $2,500 fine
·1 to 10 year jail sentence

● Schedule III (Anabolic steroids, codeine and hydrocodone, some depressants):
·Class 1 misdemeanor
·Maximum $2,500 fine
·Maximum 1 year jail sentence

● Schedule IV (Darvon, Talwin, Equanil, Valium, Rohypnol, Xanax, tranquilizers):
·Class 2 misdemeanor
·Maximum $1,000 fine
·Maximum 6 month jail sentence

● Schedule V (codeine-based cough medicines):
·Class 3 misdemeanor
·Maximum $500 fine

● Schedule VI:
·Class 4 misdemeanor
·Maximum $250 fine

Distribution of a Controlled Substance in Virginia

Distribution of a controlled substance or possession with intent to distribute (PWID) varies from misdemeanor offenses to felony offenses.

● Distribution of Schedule I & II:
·Felony
·5 to 40 year jail sentence (possible life sentence for subsequent offense)
·Maximum $500,000 fine

● Distribution of Schedule III, IV & V:
·Misdemeanor
·Maximum 1 year jail sentence
·Maximum $2,500 fine

Robinson Law PLLC
3950 Chain Bridge Road, Suite 6
Fairfax, VA 22030
(703) 542-4008

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Robinson Law, PLLC provides defense to all of Northern Virginia. Areas served include: Alexandria, Annandale, Arlington, Burke, Centreville, Clifton, Culpeper, Dunn Loring, Fairfax City, Manassas Park, Merrifield, Oakton, Fairfax County, Fairfax City, Fairfax Station, Prince William, Falls Church, Reston, Springfield, Fauquier County, Stafford, Federal Court, Town of Herndon, Frederick, Town of Vienna, Front Royal, Gainesville, Haymarket, King George, Woodbridge, Leesburg, Winchester, Warrenton, Warren, Rappahannock, Manassas, and Loudoun.