The laws governing possession of drugs in the State of Virginia are purposely harshly designed. Individuals found in possession of substances can expect prosecution under the law. Consulting with a criminal defense attorney after a possession arrest may ultimately alter the results of the verdict.
Drug Possession Defined
An individual does not have to be holding drugs or have them on their person to be arrested and charged with possession. The substance may be found within reach or in a location in which the individual has immediate access. Drugs found in a vehicle, within close proximity or in a container somewhere within an individual’s personal space may all lead to a charge of possession.
Penalties for Drug Possession
Drugs carry classifications as designated by federal standards. These standards serve to explain the addictive or potentially dangerous properties of various drugs in each of the classifications. In the State of Virginia, a drug possession charge is reliant on the classification of a substance.
Schedule I Substances
These substances are considered the most dangerous, illegal and have no medical use. Drugs in this classification include ecstasy, heroin, GHB and LSD. Anyone caught in possession of one of these substances is charged with a Class 5 felony and may receive up to 10 years in prison, accompanied by a fine of up to $2,500.
Schedule II Substances
These drugs are also considered addictive and potentially dangerous. Some substances are commonly prescribed by physicians for a variety of medical conditions. The drugs in this classification include cocaine, methadone, methamphetamine, morphine and PCP. Someone caught in possession of any of these substances is charged with a Class 5 felony. Penalties for having these drugs include a prison sentence of up to 10 years and $2,500 in fines.
Schedule III Substances
Though they have the possibility of addiction, these drugs are also commonly prescribed by licensed physicians. Medications in this category include anabolic steroids, ketamine, hydrocodone and Vicodin. Considered a Class I misdemeanor if arrested for possession of these substances, penalties include up to 12 months in prison and fines of up to $2,500.
Schedule IV Substances
These drugs are also prescription medications that carry the risk of addiction. Some of the medications in this category include Rohypnol, Valium and Xanax. If arrested for being in possession of any one of these substances, the individual is charged with a Class 2 misdemeanor. Penalties for possession include up to six months in prison and a $1,000 fine.
Schedule V Substances
This classification largely consists of prescription cold medications and include cough syrups containing codeine. Considered a Class 3 misdemeanor if caught having possession of one of these medications, individuals face fines of up to $250.
Schedule VI Substances
This classification of substances carry a minimal risk of addiction and danger. Marijuana is one of the substances in this category. Regardless of the amount of marijuana an individual has in their possession, a first offense carries a misdemeanor charge. Penalties include the possibility of spending 30 days in jail and receiving a $500 fine. When an individual is arrested for subsequent offenses, the misdemeanor charge carries the possibility of spending up to one year in prison and fines of up to $2,500.
Fighting a possession drug charge largely depends on the circumstances revolving around that individual case. A defense attorney may challenge the arrest itself or the means of search and seizure that led to the arrest. By consulting with an attorney, the individual is ensured of learning their rights under the law. In any instance of drug possession charges, the first step should be consulting with an attorney. If you or a loved one faces the consequences associated with an arrest for drug possession, seek legal assistance.
Have You Been Arrested With Drug possession And Intent To Distribute In Virgina, Maryland or Washington D.C.?
If you'be been arrested for drug possession with intent to distribute you need to speak with an experienced drug defense attorney as soon as possible. Please feel free to contact us online or call our Vienna, Virginia office directly at 703.991.7978 or our Rockville, Maryland office at 301.637.5392 to sechdule your free case consultation.