Penalties For Drug Charges in Norfolk

If you have been accused of drug charge in Virginia it’s important that you know what penalties you are facing. Below, a Norfolk drug lawyer discusses drug penalties that typically come with drug charges. For more specific information schedule a consultation with an attorney today.

What Determines The Severity of The Drug Charge?

The penalties for a particular drug charge are determined based on the schedule of a controlled substance and the type of crime whether the crime involves possession, sale or distribution or manufacturing drugs.

Schedule 1 and 2 tend to be the bigger deal drugs like cocaine and heroin. They are charged as a felony if someone is charged with possession with an intent to distribute Schedule 1 or 2 drugs which is definitely severe. Distribution, sale and manufacturing charges are much, much more severe than simple controlled substance possession.

If someone has a history of drug charges then the drug charge will be treated more severely than if it had been their first time. Judges will give people second chances but third and fourth chances are really hard to come by. If you didn’t learn the first time you arguably may never learn in the eyes of the court.

When it comes to possession or distribution of Schedule 1 and 2 drugs a first offense carries a potential penalty of 5 to 40 years in prison and up to a $500,000 fine. The second offense carries a potential penalty of 5 years for life with a mandatory minimum of 3 years and a $500,000 fine.

Does Norfolk Impose Strict Penalties When it Comes to Drug Cases?

Norfolk is not any different than the surrounding jurisdictions when it comes to drug offenses.

All of the surrounding jurisdictions take these types of charges very seriously.  They will certainly impose strict penalties, especially when it comes to repeat offenders, or in cases involving schedule I or II drugs.

What Are the Penalties for Possession of “Synthetic Cannabis”?

The penalties for possession of synthetic cannabis are the same as they would be if the defendant was using the actual drug the imitation is trying to be. I don’t promote drug use, obviously, but it is far safer to be using the actual marijuana plant than a synthetic version which may have dangerous or at the very least questionable substances present in the ingredients.

Are There Any Diversion Programs For Drug Charges in Norfolk?

There is an alternative to defending the charge or simply pleading guilty. Virginia has what they call a First Offenders Program which means if someone has no prior records,  they may qualify. What happens is that the judge grants a continuance on the case which extends it to a later date and in the mean time the defendant is placed on probation and has to complete a few legal requirements ordered by the court which typically includes 24 hours of community service for a misdemeanor and 100 hours if the charge is a felony.

It also includes an educational treatment program and the requirement that the defendant must remain drug free throughout the entirety of the probationary period which means committing to random drug tests. The defendant must also pay all of the fines associated with the probation and treatment programs. If the defendant is successful in following through with all these court imposed requirements then when the case comes back to the court the judge may dismiss the charge.

The First Offenders Program is called a Deferred Dispossession. The slight catch of this program is that it is really designed for people who will only be onetime offenders. If someone takes advantage of this program and then gets caught committing another drug crime not only will he be fully prosecuted for the second crime but the original crime that had been deferred will also be at issue again and will be exactly like the Deferred Dispossession never happened.