Criminal drug charges can be tough to deal with. In the state of Virginia, a simple possession conviction can land you in jail for up to one year. In some cases, you can simply be in the wrong place at the wrong time. You could have been holding a bag for someone at one moment, and the next you're being charged with drug possession.
The state treats drug charges very seriously. If you are charged with drug possession in Virginia, the prosecutor will do everything in their power to prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law. In fact, current crime reports reveal that 86.82% of drug offenders in Virginia go to prison. For this reason, it's extremely important that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible rather than hoping for the best with a public defender.
Virginia Drug Classification
Each state has its own unique rules and regulations when it comes to classifying illegal substances. In Virginia, the six schedules of drug classification are as follows:
- Class I: Class I includes the most dangerous and addictive drugs without any medical purpose, such as ecstasy, LSD, and heroin.
- Class II: Class II drugs have a high potential for abuse and dependency but still have medical uses. These drugs include cocaine, morphine, and fentanyl.
- Class III: These drugs have a lesser potential for abuse and dependency and have regular medical uses. This list of drugs includes anabolic steroids, depressants, and codeine.
- Class IV: These are prescription drugs that have risks of dependency and abuse and include drugs such as Xanax, Valium, and other tranquilizers.
- Class V: Class V drugs are medical drugs that carry a small risk of abuse.
- Class VI: This group covers other stimulants not covered by the first five classes.
It's important to understand Virginia's drug classification system, as the type of drug you are being associated with can have a large impact on the penalties you may face. An experienced criminal defense attorney can fight to have those penalties reduced or dismissed.
Penalties for Drug Possession in Virginia
The Drug Code of Virginia states that it is unlawful for any person to knowingly possess a controlled substance. However, you are exempted if you have obtained the drug through a valid prescription.
The classification of the drug will affect the seriousness of the drug possession charge that you may face. Possession of Class I and Class II is the most serious, and you may be charged with a felony. Possession of Class III to Class VI drugs is considered a misdemeanor.
The penalties per drug class are as follows:
- Class I and Class II: Sentence of up to 10 years, or one-year sentence and a fine up to $2,500.
- Class III: Sentence of up to 12 months or a fine up to $2,500 or both.
- Class IV: Sentence of up to 6 months or a fine up to $2,500 or both.
- Class V: Fine up to $500
- Class VI: Fine up to $250.
You may also lose your driver’s license if you are charged with drug possession in Virginia.