I’ve heard that the penalties are more severe if I am convicted of a cocaine-related crime. Is this true?

Gloved Hand Holding a Bag of CocaineIn Virginia, possession or distribution of cocaine are very serious offenses. Cocaine and other controlled substances are divided into different schedules depending on their medicinal use, if any, risk of abuse, and danger of addiction. Cocaine is a Schedule II drug, which is one of the most severe classifications.

Penalties You May Face for Cocaine Possession

Under Virginia Code § 18.2-250, it is unlawful for a person to knowingly and intentionally possess cocaine or other Schedule I or II drugs without a valid prescription. In order for you to be convicted, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you knew or had reason to know that you were possessing cocaine.

Possession of a Schedule II drug is a Class 5 felony offense. If convicted of possession of cocaine, you may be sentenced to 1 to 10 years in prison and up to $2,500 in fines.

Penalties Are Increased for the Sale, Distribution, or Manufacture of Cocaine

Virginia Code § 18.2-248 makes it illegal to sell, distribute or manufacture cocaine. This is a serious felony offense that comes with special penalties:

  • First offense. Five to 40-year prison sentence and a fine of up to $500,000
     
  • Second offense. Five years to life in prison, with a mandatory minimum three-year sentence, and a fine not to exceed $500,000
     
  • Third or subsequent offense. Mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and up to life in prison and a fine of not more than $500,000

You may face even more severe penalties if convicted of distributing, or selling large quantities of cocaine. Penalties are based on the quantity of cocaine and include:

  • 500 grams. Five years to life in prison, with a five-year mandatory sentence, and a fine of up to $1 million
     
  • 5 kilograms or more of a mixture or substance containing cocaine, its salts, or isomers, or 2.5 kilograms or more of a mixture or substance containing cocaine base. 20 years to life in prison, with a 20-year mandatory sentence, and a fine not to exceed $1 million

Have you been charged with cocaine possession or distribution in Northern Virginia or Fairfax? Our experienced criminal defense attorneys can help you develop a strong defense strategy so that you achieve the best possible outcome. Call our Fairfax office or start a live chat today to schedule your free consultation.