In Virginia, any violation of controlled substance laws is prosecuted aggressively. Being charged with distributing drugs to a minor is a serious felony offense, and the punishment can include a lengthy prison sentence and a large fine. If you have been arrested for this crime, you need to retain an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to help you get the charges dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense.

What Is the Penalty for Distributing Drugs to a Minor?

Under Virginia Code § 18.2-555, it is a felony crime to distribute controlled substances to a minor. Here are ways that an individual who is 18 years old or older can violate this law:

  • By intentionally or knowingly distributing any drug classified as a Schedule I-IV drug or marijuana to a person under 18 years old who is at least three years younger than him.
  • By intentionally or knowingly causing a person under 18 years old to assist in the distribution of a Schedule I-IV controlled substance.

If convicted, an individual faces harsh penalties that include a mandatory minimum prison sentence. Here are the potential sentences for violations of Virginia Code § 18.2-555:

  • The sentence for distributing drugs to a minor or causing a minor to assist in distributing them is a prison sentence of not less than 10 years and not more than 50 years and a fine not to exceed $100,000.
  • If the conviction is for a Schedule I or II controlled substance or one or more ounces of marijuana, there is a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison. Examples of Schedule I and II drugs include heroin, PCP, ecstasy, cocaine, and opium.
  • If the conviction involves less than one ounce of marijuana, there is a two-year mandatory minimum sentence. 

It is also a crime to distribute to or cause a minor to assist in distributing an imitation controlled substance. This is a Class 6 felony with a sentence range of one to five years in prison and a $2,500 fine.

Are you being charged with a drug offense in Fairfax or Northern Virginia? Call our office to schedule a free consultation with our experienced criminal defense attorneys to learn about your options and how we can help you put on a strong defense to the charges you face.