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Understanding the penalties for Virginia drug crimes

On Behalf of | Oct 4, 2020 | Criminal Defense

Virginia law establishes strict penalties for possessing, manufacturing and selling controlled substances. The consequences of a conviction vary based on the substance, the amount and other circumstances of the case.

Review the drug penalties in Virginia before facing a court date for this type of crime.

Intent to distribute

Virginia imposes felony charges when possession with intent to distribute involves Schedule I or II drugs. These substances, categorized as the most dangerous, include heroin, LSD, cocaine, PCP, methamphetamine, cocaine and methadone.

Penalties include a minimum sentence of five years and up to 40 years in prison along with up to $500,000. For a second offense, a convicted person could receive life in prison.

For most other controlled substances, possession with intent to distribute constitutes a misdemeanor in Virginia. A conviction carries a fine of up to $2,500 and up to a year in prison.

Simple possession

These crimes involve possession of smaller amounts of controlled substances than with an intent to distribute charge. For Schedule I and II substances, this is a Class 5 felony that can result in up to 12 months in jail or one to 10 years in prison, along with a $2,500 fine.

Possession of substances in Schedules III, IV and V is a misdemeanor in Virginia. This charge results in up to a year in jail and fines of up to $2,500 for a conviction. Most first-time offenders will only receive a fine for possession of drugs in this category.

Some offenders may qualify for a diversion program, which involves treatment for substance use disorder.