Unlike many other states, Virginia aggressively prosecutes drug offenses, including possession of small amounts of marijuana. The penalties can be harsh—decades in prison, hefty fines, and a permanent criminal record. If you are facing any type of drug law charge in Fairfax or another location in Northern Virginia, you need to learn all you can about the crime you are charged with committing and the penalties you may face. Even if you believe you are guilty, you may have strong defenses that can result in the charges being dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense.
Our experienced Fairfax criminal defense attorneys have decades of experience defending people charged with Virginia drug crimes and are here to help when you’re facing these charges. To schedule a free consultation, call our Fairfax office today.
How Are Controlled Substances Classified in Virginia?
Under Virginia’s Drug Control Act, a controlled substance is a drug or substance that is included in its classification of drugs. There are six classifications of controlled substances under this Virginia drug law—with Class I drugs involving the most severe offenses and Class VI being the least serious. The top three classifications include:
- Class I drugs. This includes heroin, ecstasy, LSD, and marijuana.
- Class II controlled substances. These may have some medical uses and include PCP, cocaine, morphine, Ritalin, and methamphetamine (crystal meth).
- Class III drugs. Some of the class III drugs have accepted medical uses—but also have the potential for abuse and dependency. Codeine, anabolic steroids, and some depressants are a few of the drugs in this classification.
Types of Drug Offense Cases That Our Skilled Fairfax Drug Offense Attorneys Handle
It can be overwhelming to consider the consequences of being arrested for a drug offense in Virginia given how aggressively these cases are prosecuted. The legal team at Greenspun Shapiro PC has a record of success in effectively representing people charged with these crimes. We are here to provide you with guidance and to vigorously raise your defenses so that you achieve the best possible outcome given your situation. Here are some of the Virginia drug offense cases that we handle:
- Marijuana possession. Under Virginia Code § 18.2-250.1, it is illegal to knowingly or intentionally possess even small amounts of marijuana that were not obtained through a prescription or other permitted means. A first offense is a Class U—or unclassified—misdemeanor, with a possible sentence of up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine. A second offense is a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a $2,500 fine.
- Sale of marijuana. Virginia Code § 18.2-248.1 provides that it is a crime to possess any amount of marijuana with the intent to deliver it. If a person is arrested with up to one-half ounce of marijuana, he may be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor, but larger quantities up to five pounds may result in a Class 5 felony charge. A Class 1 misdemeanor conviction can result in a jail sentence of 12 months and a $2,500 fine. A felony conviction for up to five pounds can result in a prison sentence of up to 10 years in prison and a $2,500 fine.
- Drug possession. Under Virginia Code § 18.2-250, it is illegal to knowingly possess a controlled substance without a valid prescription or through other authorized means. The penalty upon conviction will be determined by the classification of the controlled substance. For example, possession of a Class I or Class II controlled substance is a Class 5 felony with a sentence of up to 10 years in prison or, at the discretion of the judge or jury trying the case, up to 12 months in jail and a $2,500 fine.
- Drug distribution. It is illegal to manufacture, sell, give, or distribute controlled substances under Virginia Code § 18.2-248. As with possession of an illegal drug, the penalty will be based on the substance’s classification. Under Virginia drug laws, a person convicted for a first offense may be sentenced to 5 to 40 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000.
- Conspiracy to distribute. Virginia Code § 18.2-256 makes it a crime to conspire to commit any drug-related offense or violation of the Drug Control Act. If convicted, a person would face the same harsh penalties of the offense he conspired to commit.
- Forfeiture of drug-related assets. Under Virginia drug laws, if a person is suspected of being involved in drug trafficking, his property can be seized and forfeited to the police—even if he is not convicted. This can be done pursuant to criminal or civil forfeiture proceedings. Cash, cars, homes, and other property may be taken.
Contact Us for Help If You Have Been Charged With a Drug Offense in Virginia
If you or a family member were charged with a drug offense in Fairfax or Northern Virginia, you need to retain an experienced drug offense attorney as soon as possible. Your freedom is in jeopardy, and you cannot afford to delay obtaining the guidance of a lawyer. Our skilled legal team is committed to thoroughly investigating the circumstances of your arrest and building a strong defense to the charges you face. We have over 80 years of combined trial experience in the Commonwealth of Virginia and are not afraid to take your case to trial if this is in your best interests. To learn how we will fight to protect your rights and to get your questions answered, start an online chat or call our Fairfax law office at (703) 352-0100 to schedule your free initial consultation.