It's never good to be arrested on drug charges, but some charges are definitely worse than others. Depending on the type of drug you are caught with and whether you were simply in possession or in possession with the intent to sell or otherwise distribute the drug, you could face anything from a fine to life in prison. That is why it is important to understand the law in Virginia.
Misdemeanor Drug Offenses
Controlled substances are categorized by their potential for abuse into "Schedules" from I to VI, with Schedule I drugs including substances with no medical use and a high potential for abuse such as heroin and LSD. In general, possession of a small amount of a controlled substance with a low potential for abuse will result in a misdemeanor charge. Possession, sale, or manufacture of Schedule I and II controlled substances will result in felony charges. The following is a simple guide, based on the Code of Virginia, to misdemeanor charges and possible penalties:
- Possession of a Schedule III controlled substance (e.g., codeine, anabolic steroids): Up to 12 months in jail, up to $2500 fine
- Possession of a Schedule IV controlled substance (e.g., Xanax, Valium): Up to six months in jail, up to $1000 fine
- Possession of a Schedule V controlled substance (e.g., cough medicine with codeine): Up to $500 fine
- Possession of a Schedule VI controlled substance (e.g., inhalants): Up to $250 fine
- Possession of a Schedule III, IV, or V controlled substance with the intent to distribute: Up to 12 months in jail, up to $2500 fine
- Possession of less than one-half ounce of marijuana with the intent to distribute: Up to 12 months in jail, up to $2500 fine
Keep in mind that even a misdemeanor drug conviction is a criminal conviction on your record and can have an effect on your ability to get or keep a job. A misdemeanor charge should not be taken lightly.
Decreasing Your Fine and Improving Your Jail Time Options
If you are charged with a drug-related crime, the best way to improve your odds and avoid a conviction is with the help of an experienced drug law defense attorney. A reliable lawyer can not only help build a strong defense, but he can also help reduce fines and decrease penalties such as jail time.
For more information on drug offenses and your options for a defense, like us on Facebook or contact us directly at (804) 835-5127 to set up an appointment.