Drug Arrests in Chesterfield County

You are rightfully concerned if you have been arrested on drug charges in the Commonwealth of Virginia. You may be concerned that you end up in prison, lose your job, face fines, or will be ordered to participate in a drug treatment program.

All of these are legitimate concerns. Fortunately, an arrest does not always lead to a conviction. You are entitled to receive help from a skilled drug attorney after you experience a drug arrest in Chesterfield County.

Marijuana Possession is a Misdemeanor in Virginia

Marijuana possession has evolved in Virginia. As of July 1, 2021, people in the state can legally possess one ounce for personal consumption. However, under Virginia Code § 18.2-248.1, individuals can still be arrested and charged with selling, gifting, distributing, or possessing with intent to sell. Depending on how much marijuana is involved, the charges range from a Class 1 misdemeanor for less than an ounce to a felony punishable by between five and 30 years in prison for more than five pounds.

Breaking Down Drug Possession

In Chesterfield County, it is illegal to possess a controlled substance if a physician has not written a prescription for it. Narcotics are divided into six schedules based on how likely the user is to become addicted and if the drug has any medical value. The lower the class number, the more dangerous the drug. Examples include:

  • Schedule I or II drugs, a Class 5 felony, include but is not limited to heroin, LSD, Ecstasy, peyote, cocaine, methamphetamine, methadone, oxycodone, and fentanyl
  • Schedule III drugs, a Class 1 misdemeanor, include Tylenol with codeine, ketamine, anabolic steroids, and testosterone
  • Schedule IV, a Class 2 misdemeanor, includes Xanax, Darvocet, Valium, Ativan, Ambien, and Tramadol
  • Schedule V, a Class 3 misdemeanor, includes cough medicines containing less than 200 milligrams of codeine per 100 milliliters
  • Schedule VI, a Class 4 misdemeanor, is defined in Virginia, rather than the federal government, as any drugs not included in the previous schedules that are required by law to bear the label “Rx only”

People can be accused of a crime if any drug not prescribed to them is found in their possession. Because of the severe consequences, a person should contact a Chesterfield County defense attorney to discuss drug arrests.

Penalties for Drug Arrests

Va. Code § 18.2-10 defines the penalties for drug crimes. A Class 5 felony is punishable by prison for between one and ten years; or, at the Court’s discretion, jail time up to one year, a fine of not more than $2,500, or both.

A Class 1 misdemeanor under Va. Code § 18.2-11 is punishable by up to twelve months in jail and/or a fine up to $2,500. A Class 2 misdemeanor brings jail time up to six months and/or a fine up to $1,000. A Class 3 misdemeanor is a fine up to $500, and a Class 4 is a fine up to $250.

More Serious Drug Arrests

People charged with the manufacture, sale, or distribution of drugs (or the intent thereof), face the most severe penalties. According to Va. Code § 18.2-248, those found with enough Schedule I or II drugs that law enforcement determines they were meant for sale and distribution could serve a prison sentence of between five and 40 years, with a potential fine up to $500,000. A second-time offender will be subjected to the same fine but could serve up to life in prison. Third-time offenders also could serve life in prison and up to a $500,000 fine, with a minimum sentence of ten years.

However, even first-time offenders can face up to life in prison and up to a $1 million fine if convicted of possessing at least 100 grams of heroin, 500 grams of cocaine, or 10 grams of methamphetamine. A knowledgeable lawyer could review the circumstances of a drug arrest in Chesterfield County to determine which penalties are at stake.

Call a Chesterfield County Attorney After a Drug Arrest

An arrest for drugs in Chesterfield County can lead to highly unpleasant consequences. Virginia can arrest people even for constructive possession, which means the drugs are found close by a person, not even on their person. Call a lawyer for help and we will review your case.