Penalties of a Virginia Beach Drug Conviction

Depending on what drug charge an individual is convicted of, the punishment can be very harsh. Distribution and manufacturing charges carry jail time and in some instances, mandatory jail time. However, with a Virginia Beach drug possession charge, jail time can often be avoided depending on the facts of the case.

The penalties for a Virginia Beach possession of a controlled substance conviction may not include a conviction if the individual does not have an extensive record. If it is possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, it can be anywhere from 5 to 40 years and often, the individual will end up serving an active sentence of one year depending on his or her record. If someone is manufacturing, that can trigger more jail time with a range of 5 to 40 years. The penalties are more severe for  manufacturing than they are for simple possession or even for distribution.

Regardless of the charge you are facing, it is important to have a Virginia Beach drug attorney on your side to build a defense and mitigate any possible penalties.

First Time vs. Multiple Offense Penalties

If it is someone’s first-offense possession, he or she may be eligible for first offender status, meaning the individual has the opportunity to keep that off his or her record. If an individual chooses not to do that, he or she is still likely looking at a suspended sentence and probation. However, if someone gets more charges, the next one could trigger a couple of months in jail and each charge after will be more successive.

With regards to distribution charges, the penalties for a second offense are significantly harsher than they are for a first offense. If someone has already been convicted of one of these before and they are caught with another one, it can be much worse.

There is a first offender program for possession charges that allows someone to keep it off his or her record if he or she is able to stay out of trouble, stay clean from all drugs, and be a good citizen. Additionally, there is usually community service involved and if an individual does everything the judge tells him or her to do, then the charge will be dismissed at the end of the period.

There is also a separate prescription drug first offender statute in Virginia.

Aggravating Elements for Penalties

The judge will take into consideration the following elements when determining the penalties of a Virginia Beach drug conviction:

  • quantity of the drugs
  • type of drugs
  • individual’s criminal record
  • Location when arrested (e.g: Were they in their car? Were they at home or around children?)

Role of an Attorney

The best way to have a better understanding of the potential penalties of a Virginia Beach drug charge is to talk to a lawyer immediately. A lawyer can go over the individual’s potential exposure.

Often, an attorney can work out a resolution with the prosecutor that helps everybody achieve their goals. In many cases, the prosecutor wants the client to go under rehab and an attorney can help point the client in the direction of programs and rehab classes that will help the person get back on the right path.