One crime plus one crime may equal more than two crimes if you simultaneously possessed a firearm and drugs in Virginia.
Depending on the circumstances of your case, the Commonwealth of Virginia could charge you with possession of a Schedule I or Schedule II controlled substance (drugs), illegal possession of a firearm, and possession of firearms while in possession of drugs. Possession of firearms while in possession of drugs is its own distinct charge. Prosecutors have the burden of proving the elements of each crime, and you face separate potential sentences for each conviction.
What are Schedule I and Schedule II Controlled Substances?
Virginia law divides controlled substances into six categories or schedules.
Schedule I drugs are substances with a high potential for abuse and no medical benefit. The complete list of Schedule I substances can be found in Virginia Code §54.1-3446 and includes things such as heroin, ecstasy, molly, PCP, and Angel Dust.
Schedule II drugs also have a high potential for abuse, and substance abuse may lead to severe psychic or physical dependencies. However, unlike Schedule I drugs, Schedule II substances have an accepted medical use in the United States. Schedule II substances are listed in Virginia Code §54.1-3446 and include things such as opium, oxycodone, and amphetamine.
You could face criminal charges for manufacturing, distributing, or selling a Schedule I or Schedule II substance.
Potential Charges and Sentences for Possession of Drugs and Guns
You may also face felony charges for possessing a Schedule I or Schedule II drug and a firearm. This is a separate and distinct felony from any drug charges or other firearm charges you may face. Virginia Code §18.2-308.4 makes it a crime for any person to be unlawfully:
- In possession of a Schedule I or Schedule II substance and to simultaneously with knowledge and intent possess any firearm. Anyone who violates this law has committed a Class 6 felony punishable by one to five years in prison and a fine of up to $2,500.
- In possession of a Schedule I or Schedule II substance and to simultaneously with knowledge and intent possess any firearm on or about their person. Anyone who violates this law has committed a Class 6 felony punishable by one to five years in prison and a fine of up to $2,500. There is a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of two years. The sentence is separate and apart from any sentence for the commission of the primary felony and shall run consecutively with the punishment for the primary felony.
- In possession of or to use or attempt to use any pistol, shotgun, rifle, or another firearm, or to display such a weapon in a threatening manner while committing or attempting to commit the illegal manufacture, sale, distribution, or possession with intent to manufacture, sell or distribute a Schedule I or Schedule II substance or more than one pound of marijuana. This crime is also a Class 6 felony punishable by one to five years in prison and a fine of up to $2,500. However, it carries a mandatory minimum term of five years in prison that runs separate and apart from the sentence for the commission of the primary felony. The sentence for this crime shall run consecutively with any punishment for the primary felony.
Now Is the Time to Defend Yourself Against Criminal Charges
As always, the Commonwealth must prove its case against you. However, you should be prepared to present the strongest possible defense to protect your rights.
A felony conviction will remain on your permanent record and have consequences beyond the prison time and fines described above. A Class 6 felony conviction may also impact your employment opportunities, living options, education, immigration status, security clearance, and more.
Our experienced Fairfax criminal defense lawyers will examine every aspect of your case and present all relevant defenses. We understand that you are facing a lot of uncertainty, and we will always be honest and straightforward with you so that you know what to expect next. To learn more, please contact us by phone or complete our online contact form to have a member of our team contact you.