Richmond, Virginia Drug Defense Lawyers
Handling Possession & Distribution Charges
As part of decades’ old ideologies from the “War on Drugs,” Virginia continues to use extremely harsh sentencing against people who have been convicted of drug crimes. It is not uncommon for someone who was arrested with a small amount of an illegal substance to be put in jail for up to a year, pay steep fines to the state, and lose their good reputation for life.
If you have been charged with a drug crime, get our team of Richmond, Virginia drug defense attorneys on the phone right away. Dial (804) 282-0011 and connect with Portner & Shure, P.A., one of the most trusted law firms in the entire state. We know that you are feeling shaken after being charged with a drug crime, which is why we go above your expectations to defend you.
Our staff can speak several languages, including:
- Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese)
For a free consultation, call (804) 282-0011 or contact us online.
Schedules of Illegal Substances
According to Virginia Code §18.2-250, it is illegal for a person to knowingly or intentionally possess a controlled dangerous substance unless they obtained the substance from a doctor along with a valid prescription. To be convicted of possession, the prosecution must prove that a person possessed, controlled, and had knowledge of the illegal substance.
The schedule of illegal substances can also be sorted into potential sentencing requirements:
- Schedule I and II: Virginia law classifies possession of a schedule I (e.g., heroin) or schedule II (e.g., cocaine) substance as a class 5 felony. A person who is convicted of possessing a schedule I or schedule II substance faces a potential penalty of 10 years in prison and/or a fine of $2,500.
- Schedule III: Virginia law classifies possession of a schedule III (e.g., Vicodin) substance as a class 1 misdemeanor. A person who is convicted of possessing a schedule III substance faces a potential penalty of 1 year in jail and/or a fine of $1,000.
- Schedule IV: Virginia law classifies possession of a schedule IV substance as a class 2 misdemeanor. A person who is convicted of possessing a schedule IV substance faces a potential penalty of a 6-month jail sentence and/or a fine of $1,000.
- Schedule V: Virginia law classifies possession of a schedule V substance as a class 3 misdemeanor. A person who is convicted of possessing a schedule V substance faces a potential penalty of 1 year in jail and/or a fine of $1,000.
- Schedule VI: Virginia law classifies possession of a schedule VI substance as a class 4 misdemeanor. A person who is convicted of possessing a schedule VI substance faces a potential penalty of $2,500.
It is not a coincidence that Schedule I and Schedule II substances have been bound into the same tier of potential penalties. This combination was intentional and makes it possible for the state to sentence more people as harshly as possible despite the difference between Schedule I and II substances.
Distribution Charges in Richmond, Virginia
According to Virginia Code §18.2-248, it is illegal for a person to distribute or possess a controlled substance with the intent to distribute. A person can be charged with distribution if they were found with a large amount of drugs in their possession, were actively distributing drugs, or had paraphernalia in their possession suggesting an intent to distribute, such as neatly organized containers of varying substances. Additionally, the Commonwealth of Virginia specifies certain amounts of specific illicit substances that increase a charge from possession to possession with intent to distribute.
Possible sentencing penalties for drug distribution charges in Virginia:
- A conviction for distributing a schedule I or II substance carries a potential penalty of 5 to 40 years in prison and fines up to $500,000.
- A conviction for distributing a schedule II substance carries a potential penalty of 5 years in prison.
- A conviction for distributing a schedule V or VI substance carries a potential penalty of 1 year in jail a/or a $2,500 fine.
Ways to Defend Against Drug Charges
It is common to challenge a drug charge by arguing that the illegal substances in question do not belong to the defendant. When arrests are made in someone’s property, it can be difficult for the prosecution to prove that the substances were placed there by the defendant and not by someone else, like a friend, family member, housemate, or someone who visited during a party.
The police are also required to use search warrants in most situations before they can enter a home and seize illegal narcotics. If the police did not have a search warrant when you were arrested, then any evidence they collected in your home could be dismissed, unraveling the prosecution’s entire argument.
Make Us Your Top Choice of Defense
If you have been charged with a drug crime, the award-winning Richmond drug crime defense attorneys at Portner & Shure, P.A. are interested in building a powerful defense in your name. We know that your future, finances, and freedom are at stake right now. That is why we waste no time in getting to work once you hire us to defend you.
Let’s get your defense moving while the prosecution doesn’t expect it. Call (804) 282-0011 or contact us online now.
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