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Henrico County Drug Lawyer

Both federal and state laws prohibit the possession and sale of certain drugs. Drugs that are made illegal are referred to as “controlled substances.” The penalties you face for possessing or distributing controlled substances vary, depending upon the type of drug in your possession, the amount of the substance, and whether you are charged with a state crime or a federal crime.A Henrico County drug lawyer will explain your charges and work hard to help you avoid conviction or minimize serious penalties for drug offenses.

A Henrico County Drug Lawyer Can Help

Possible defenses for drug cases include:

  • Illegal search: Evidence collected in violation of your rights cannot be used to convict you of a drug offense.
  • Entrapment: You were tricked into buying the drugs or committing the drug offense.
  • Lack of possession: The drugs were not actually in your control.
  • Insufficient evidence: The prosecutor must show your guilt; you do not have to prove your innocence.

Your criminal defense attorney can help you to defend against drug charges.

You may also be able to negotiate a plea bargain to reduce the penalties that you face, especially if the offense is your first one, and you have small amounts of a controlled substance.

A Henrico County drug lawyer will explain the options you have for responding to your case and help you to make strategic choices when dealing with drug charges. Call today to learn how an attorney can help you.

Types of Offenses

Virginia Laws on Controlled Substances

Virginia Code section 54.1-3401 defines a controlled substance as “a drug, substance, or immediate precursor in Schedules I through VI of this chapter.” The Virginia code lists prohibited substances and divides them into different categories in Code sections 54.3445 through 54.1-3455.

  • Schedule I drugs are substances with no accepted medicinal use and that are highly likely to be abused. They include Codeine-N-Oxide, heroin, and Methyldesorphine. (Code sections 3445 and 54.1-3446.)
  • Schedule II drugs are substances that have a currently accepted medicinal use with severe restrictions because they are addictive and highly likely to be abused. Examples include raw opium, codeine, hydrocodone, and morphine. (Code sections 1-3447 and 54.1-3448.)
  • Schedule III drugs are substances that have a medicinal use and/or are less likely to be abused than schedule I or II substances. They have moderate to low potential to cause physical addiction, or high potential to cause psychological dependence. Examples include chlorhexadol, lysergic acid, and Methyprylon. (Code sections 1-3449 and 54.1-3450.)
  • Schedule IV drugs include substances with a current accepted medicinal use and a low potential for abuse relative to Schedule III drugs. The substances have low risk of physical or mental dependency. Examples include Clobazam, Cloxazolam, and Quazepam. (Code sections 1-3451 and 54.1-3452.)
  • Schedule V drugs include substances with a currently accepted medical use, and a lower risk of abuse or addiction than Schedule IV drugs. Examples include up to 200 milligrams of codeine per 100 millimeters, or up to 100 milligrams of opium per 100 milliliters. (Code sections 1-3453 and 54.1-3454.)
  • Schedule VI drugs include compounds or mixtures of stimulant or depressant drugs not otherwise listed in a schedule, that have some potential for harmful effect or that are to be distributed by prescription only under federal rules. (Code section 1-3455.)

Unlawful possession of any of these substances can result in criminal charges. The exact nature of the charge will depend upon whether you simply possess the substance, whether you are manufacturing it, or whether you intend to distribute it.  Your Henrico County drug lawyer will be able to more fully explain the charges you face.

Penalties for Drug Crimes in Virginia

Virginia Code sections 18.2-248 and 18.2-250 establish penalties for possession, sale/distribution, and manufacture of controlled substances.

  • Possession of a Schedule I or Schedule II controlled substance is a class 5 felony with the potential for between one and 10 years of incarceration and up to a $2,500 fine.
  • Possession of a Schedule III substance is a class 1 misdemeanor with penalties including up to a year of jail and a fine up to $2,500.
  • Possession of a Scheduled IV substance is a class 2 misdemeanor with the potential for up to 6 months incarceration and up to a $1,000 fine.
  • Possession of a scheduled V or schedule VI substance is a class 3 or class 4 misdemeanor respectively, with fines up to $500 or up to $250.
  • Possession of marijuana is a misdemeanor with the potential for up to 30 days of incarceration and up to $500 in fines for a first offense, and up to a year of incarceration and a fine of $2,500 for a second offense.
  • Intent to sell or distribute a Schedule I or Schedule II controlled substance is a felony with the potential for between five and 40 years of incarceration and a fine of as much as $500,000. For a second offense, the penalty is a minimum of five years of incarceration and the potential for life in prison.
  • Possession of a Schedule III, Schedule IV, or Schedule V controlled substance with intenant to distribute is a felony (class 5 and 6 respectively) and can result in a significant period of incarceration. .  You can be charged with intent to sell or distribute, simply by having large amounts of a substance. A Henrico county drug lawyer will help argue against accusations that you intended to distribute the drug.
  • Possession of marijuana with intent to sell or distribute is a misdemeanor if you have less than a half ounce, or a felony if you have between a half ounce and five pounds. Misdemeanor penalties include up to a year in jail, and the felony penalties can include up to 30 years of imprisonment.

Certain aggravating factors, such as having drugs in school, can also result in more severe penalties.  Being charged with a federal crime instead of a state crime can also lead to a longer term of federal incarceration.