Being convicted of criminal offenses related to dealing and selling drugs in Virginia and the rest of the country can result in stiff penalties. Drug sales and drug dealing charges pertain to the sale of illegal controlled substances, such as heroin, marijuana, meth or cocaine. The scope of these charges is less than that of drug trafficking, which pertains to any aspect of the creation, movement and selling of the drugs.
The primary determining factors for penalties related to the crimes are the type of drug in question, how much was sold and if the defendant has a history of criminal offenses. In some circumstances, individuals may be accused of selling drugs if they possess a certain amount of drug, whether or not they had intent to sell.
State or federal laws, whichever one is applicable in each case, form the basis of the penalties for those convicted of drug sale crimes. Drug sales are usually classified as felonies, while drug possession with no intent to sell is typically considered to be a misdemeanor or infraction. Individuals who have no history related to drug crimes are considered first time offenders. Accordingly, the penalties are likely to be lesser than for people who have a prior record in this regard.
People who have been accused of criminal offenses related to drugs should consult a criminal law attorney as soon as possible. The attorney may work to protect the rights of the clients by litigating to dispute the charges or engaging in a negotiation with the prosecutor to have the penalties reduced in exchange for a plea of guilty.