Drug Crime Defense
There are many different ways for a person to find himself charged with a drug crime in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Virginia classifies both drugs, such as cocaine and marijuana, as controlled dangerous substances (CDS), but also classifies the compounds most often used in the manufacture of drugs, so there are many more ways in which someone could be charged with possession. Many of the drug crimes in Virginia arise out of possession for personal use. When a person charged with a crime relating to the manufacture, distribution, or sale of a drug, the penalties are far more severe.
One of the first things that a criminal defense attorney will do is determine the underlying nature of the crime. Specifically, it is critical to addressing the following:
- What type of drugs was the person alleged to have had in his or her possession?
- What was the quantity, weight, or volume of drugs in the defendants’ possession?
- Is the prosecutor charging the individual with the manufacture, sale, distribution, or intent to distribute the drugs?
Classification of Drugs
The classification of drugs or the manufacturing compounds based on a number of factors, including whether or not the drug has a recognized medical use, and how important that use may be, as well as the dangerous and addictive nature of the CDS. Based on an analysis of these things, there are six different categories, known as schedules. A Schedule I drug is deemed to be extremely dangerous, highly addictive, and have no known medical benefits while a Schedule VI drug may have significant medical uses and little or no addictive qualities. Some of the Schedule I drugs include heroin, LSD, ecstasy, and GHB.
The penalties for possession of the various Schedules I through VI drugs vary depending on the nature of the CDS. A person who is in possession of a Schedule I drug may face up to ten years in prison and may be fined up to $2,500.00. Most people who are charged with possession as a first offense are not going to be sentenced to more than one year in jail, but as the amount of drug in the person’s possession goes up, so do the potential penalties. There is a sliding scale down to charges for possession of a Schedule VI CDS where an individual may only face a legal fine.
The law in Virginia about possession, manufacture, and distribution of drugs depends on the type of drugs at issue. There are specific laws that deal with the possession, sale, and distribution of marijuana, including the fact that a first possession offense is (typically) charged as an unclassified misdemeanor. If the person is found to have a valid prescription for marijuana, then there will be no criminal charges. For the more serious crimes, including drug trafficking, a person may find himself facing both Virginia and federal charges. These serious felony crimes may lead to years in prison and require very specialized defense.
Contact an Experienced Virginia Criminal Defense Attorney at Swango Law P.C. Today
If you have been charged with a drug possession crime in the Commonwealth of Virginia, it is critical to getting the right legal help as soon as possible. These drug charges can lead to serious legal fines and jail time, regardless of what the prosecutor may say to attempt to get you to agree to a plea deal. Jason Swango represents clients who have been charged with drug crimes in the Hampton Roads, Virginia area, including Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Hampton, Portsmouth, Newport News, and Suffolk. Call us today at (757) 383-9229 to schedule an initial consultation.