Understanding Richmond Drug Laws

There are many pertinent laws in Virginia that relate to narcotics, as well as many different levels of enforcement throughout the state. While understanding Richmond drug laws is important, navigating them can be a difficult task, especially for an accused individual who is underprepared or underrepresented. However, with the help of an experienced attorney at your side, it may be easier.

While some charges can be dismissed with community service and rehabilitation programs, others can carry severe and extensive periods of incarceration. As a result, having a compassionate lawyer on your side could prove to be crucial.

Prohibited Behaviors Involving Narcotics

It is important for anyone charged with a drug-related offense to understand the prohibited behaviors involving an illegal drug. An illegal drug is essentially any ingestible item that has been qualified as a scheduled substance. Any controlled substance can be scheduled on a scale of I to IV plus marijuana. Schedule I is the most restricted and carries the highest consequences. These prohibited behaviors include the:

  • Possession of;
  • Possession with intent to distribute;
  • Manufacturing;
  • Sale; or
  • Distribution of any scheduled controlled substance.

Under the Federal Drug Control Act, marijuana is considered a Schedule I substance. However, under the Virginia Code, marijuana is its own entity apart from the schedule system. However, it is still prohibited, despite being viewed as not quite as harmful or as serious as a Schedule I or Schedule II substance.

How Drug Crimes are Handled

Drug crimes are treated seriously in Richmond. In fact, there is an entire section of the police department and the commonwealth attorney’s office devoted to cleaning up Richmond by getting drugs off of the streets.

Therefore, people who are selling, manufacturing, or possessing drugs with the intent to sell them are often prosecuted to the full extent of the law. On the other hand, individuals dealing with an addiction issue may have a better opportunity to have any charges against them dismissed.

However, the state can still prosecute any drug offender to the full extent of the law, addiction issues aside. A knowledgeable attorney may be able to provide more information about the likelihood of charges being dismissed in a particular case, as well as to help anyone accused to better understand relevant drug laws in Richmond.

Prescription Abuse Laws

In Virginia and Richmond, marijuana has not been legalized. This means that marijuana cannot even be used for medical purposes throughout the state. There may be some leeway in the law if the defendant is coming from out of state where there is an allowed and valid medical use/prescription, however.

Besides marijuana, it is far more common for prescriptions and pharmaceuticals to be abused. Simple possession of medically approved drugs such as morphine, codeine, Percocet, Xanax, and other medications are likely to be viewed as an addiction problem, as well as a criminal issue. Richmond is a jurisdiction in which someone who has some form of drug problem will be given steps to address that addiction.

Law enforcement will work with that individual and their attorney to put them in the best position to get some form of treatment that often leads to dismissal. On the other hand, individuals who are charged with possession with intent to distribute or manufacture scheduled substances may not receive the same leniency as someone charged with simple possession.

Local Laws and Programs

Richmond has a first offender program which is designed for people who have never had any drug convictions before. This exists for both marijuana users or possessors, as well as those who are charged with possessing any other scheduled substance. If an individual is willing to do substance abuse counseling, community service, and having a suspended driver’s license, then they may be eligible for the first offender program.

With this program and a marijuana possession charge, there will be a six-month program with probation. The individual must then remain drug-free and complete 24 hours of community service. They must also submit themselves to drug treatment and testing and, if they can follow through with this treatment through six months, the marijuana charge will be dismissed.

If someone is charged with possessing a Schedule I or Schedule II substance, it is a similar situation. However, they must complete 100 hours of community service, drug counseling, and sometimes even alcohol abstinence. After one year’s time, they would then have the charge dismissed.

The Importance of Understanding Richmond Drug Laws

There are many complexities that are important to understand regarding Richmond drug laws, and you may be concerned about potential penalties. To this end, a seasoned lawyer could evaluate your case and potentially determine what penalties may occur.

Furthermore, an attorney with experience may be able to help by explaining your rights, answering your questions, and working tirelessly to build a defense on your behalf. Call today to schedule a consultation.