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Virginia Beach Drug Lawyer

The Virginia Beach Electronic police reports indicate that there were 2,110 drug and narcotics violations reported in 2014.  Some drug crimes are minor misdemeanors that result in probation and fines. Others are serious federal offenses that can result in life in prison. The type of offense you are charged with will vary, depending both on the type and amount of illegal drugs in your possession. A Virginia Beach drug lawyer can help you to understand potential consequences of a conviction on drug charges and can assist you in negotiating a plea deal or defending yourself against these charges.

Drug Laws in Virginia Beach

Drug Lawyer in Virginia BeachDrug laws in Virginia Beach prohibit the possession, manufacture, distribution, and sale of certain controlled substances. These different substances are organized into categories, called “schedules” according to their potential for addiction and abuse, as well as whether they have any medicinal uses. For example:

  • Schedule I drugs such as heroin are addictive, have a high potential for abuse, and have no medicinal use (Virginia Code Sections 3445 and 54.1-3446).
  • Schedule II drugs including morphine are addictive and have a high potential for abuse, but do have a medicinal purpose under strict treatment protocols. (Code Sections 1-3447 and 54.1-3448)
  • Schedule III drugs such as Methyprylon have a moderate to low risk of physical addiction or a high risk of psychological dependence. They have an accepted medical use. (Code Sections 1-3449 and 54.1-3450)
  • Schedule IV drugs such as Cloxazolam have a low potential for abuse and addiction and have an accepted medicinal use. (Code sections 1-3451 and 54.1-3452)
  • Schedule V drugs including medications containing 200 milligrams of codeine per 100 millileters have less potential for addiction and abuse than Schedule IV substances and have an accepted medical use. (Code sections 1-3453 and 54.1-3454)
  • Schedule VI drugs are substances not otherwise listed on a schedule that could have some harmful effects or that are restricted to prescription use only by federal law. (Code section 1-3455)

Possessing, manufacturing, or selling Schedule I substances carries the most serious penalties, while illegal possession of Schedule IV substances results in the least-serious criminal charges.  Although either type of charge carries negative consequences that likely makes it a good idea to contact a Virginia Beach drug lawyer.

Possession With Intent to Distribute Charges

The amount of the drugs in your possession is also a key factor in determining the consequences of drug crimes. When you have large volumes of any controlled substances, law enforcement assumes that you intend to sell those narcotics. You can be charged with intent to distribute even if there is no clear evidence that you actually engaged in drug sales. If you have been charged, contact a possession with intent attorney.

Code Section 18.2-248 sets forth the penalties for different drug offenses. For example:

  • Simple possession of marijuana is a misdemeanor and could result in up to 30 days of jail time and $500 in fines with no prior convictions. For a second offense, you could be fined up to $2,500 and spend as long as a year in jail. For more information about marijuana possession, click here.
  • Possession of marijuana with intent to sell is a misdemeanor as long as you have less than a half ounce, and a felony if you have more than a half ounce . Penalties can include a year of incarceration for a misdemeanor and up to a decade of incarceration for a felony.
  • Possession of a Schedule III, IV, V, or VI drug is a misdemeanor. You will be charged with a class 1, class 2, class 3, or class 4 misdemeanor, respectively.  Penalties can include a small fine and up to a year of incarceration, depending upon the offense. For a class 3 or 4 misdemeanor, penalties are generally limited to fines up to $500.
  • Possession with intent to sell Schedule III, IV, or V drug is a misdemeanor with the potential for up to a year of incarceration. You could also be fined as much as $2,500.
  • Possession of a Schedule I or II drug is a class 5 felony, and penalties include between one and 10 years of incarceration as well as fines up to $2,500.
  • Possession with intent to sell a Schedule I or II drug is a felony , and you could go to prison for between five and 40 years for a first offense. You could also be fined up to $500,000. If you have prior convictions, you will face a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and could be sentenced to life in prison.

You could also be charged with a federal crime for drug offenses instead of a state crime. This means that you would face longer mandatory minimum sentences and larger fines, especially if it is your third or subsequent drug charge.

How a Virginia Beach Drug Lawyer Can Help

There are defenses to drug charges, including lack of proof of possession, or illegal search and seizure in violation of your Fourth Amendment rights. You can also negotiate a plea bargain that may allow you to stay out of jail or face lesser charges, especially for more minor drug offenses. A Virginia Beach drug lawyer will evaluate your situation and advise you on your best options for dealing with your drug charges.