If You’re Facing Drug Charges, Our Attorneys Can Help
The Norfolk, VA legal team you want on your side
Charged with a drug crime in Virginia? Arrested in Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Newport News, or another location in Hampton Roads? Virginia has some of the toughest drug laws in the country. This is why you need to act fast if you have been charged with a misdemeanor or felony drug charge. The sooner you get legal representation, the stronger your defense will be.
We know what’s at stake. That’s why we want to meet with you. Our dedicated team of Norfolk, Virginia drug defense attorneys at Welch & Wright, PLLC thoroughly understand the state and federal laws that apply to drug crimes in Virginia. We don’t take a one-size-fits-all approach to drug crime cases. We develop a legal strategy that suits your specific situation.
We never take anything for granted. That’s why our courtroom-tested, trial lawyers always prepare every drug case for court. So whether you need a Norfolk drug possession lawyer or Virginia drug trafficking lawyer, you can count on us when it matters most.
Our attorneys have a well-earned reputation for skillfully handling drug cases in Virginia courts, from arraignment to trial. We’re familiar with the different courts in each legal jurisdiction in the Hampton Roads region. Your freedom is our mission.
Norfolk drug possession and trafficking attorneys you can count on
The steps you take after your drug arrest matter. We know what to do and can work with you to build a strong, effective legal strategy. Many times, the key to building a strong case involves challenging the legality of your drug arrest. Did an unlawful search and seizure occur? Did a police officer arrest you without probable cause? Did the police officer have reasonable suspicion to pull you over or stop you on the street? Whatever the circumstances of your drug charge, we’re focused on winning your case.
- What is a controlled substance?
- Controlled substance classifications in Virginia?
- What happens after I’m arrested for a drug crime in Virginia?
- What are common types of drug crimes in Virginia?
- What are the penalties for drug crime convictions?
- Will I go to jail for a drug charge conviction?
- What are Virginia’s drug crime laws?
- Common legal defenses for drug crime charges?
- Can I get my drug charges dismissed?
- Can I appeal my drug crime conviction?
- How can a Virginia drug crime lawyer help?
- Why should I hire Welch & Wright, PLLC?
Take action after your arrest. Contact us.
This might be your only opportunity for justice. Seize it. Contact our Norfolk law firm and schedule your free case evaluation with a Virginia drug crime lawyer focused on winning your case. We handle drug-related criminal cases in Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Newport News and throughout the Hampton Roads area in Virginia.
What is a controlled substance?
The phrase “controlled substance” refers to drugs that are controlled by the government because they can potentially be abused or potentially harmful. In Virginia, drugs categorized as controlled substances are listed in the Virginia Drug Control Act. In many cases, possessing, manufacturing, and distributing controlled substances is considered a crime in Virginia and can result in criminal charges.
Controlled substance classifications in Virginia
In general, the Commonwealth of Virginia classifies controlled substances into six classifications known as schedules. Schedule I and Schedule II controlled substance drug offenses are felonies, which means they may be punishable by at least one year in prison. Virginia’s six controlled substance classifications include:
- Schedule I Controlled Substances – Common drugs in this classification include types of heroin, psilocybin, LSD, and ecstasy. (Virginia Code §54.1-3446)
- Schedule II Controlled Substances – Common drugs and certain prescription medications listed in this classification include “opium and opiate, and any salt, compound, derivative, or preparation of opium or opiate, excluding” certain drugs. Common Schedule II drugs include cocaine, codeine, opium, morphine, methadone, oxycodone, fentanyl, methamphetamine (“crystal meth”), PCP, Ritalin, and Percocet. (Virginia Code §54.1-3448)
- Schedule III Controlled Substances – Common drugs and certain prescription medications that contain “any quantity of the following substances having a depressant effect on the central nervous system” listed in this classification include steroids, Vicodin, and Ketamine (“Special K”). (Virginia Code §54.1-3450)
- Schedule IV Controlled Substances – Medications and drugs that contain “substances having a potential for abuse associated with a depressant effect on the central nervous system” such as alprazolam (Xanax), clonazepam (Klonopin), diazepam (Valium) and Ambien. (Virginia Code §54.1-3452)
- Schedule V Controlled Substances – Prescription medications or drugs with lower amounts of codeine, like prescription cough medicines, as well as drugs with lower amounts of dihydrocodeine, ethylmorphine, diphenoxylate, difenoxin and opium. (Virginia Code §54.1-3454)
- Schedule VI Controlled Substances – Other stimulant or depressant drug “compound, mixture, or preparation containing any stimulant or depressant drug exempted from” and that do not fall into Schedule 1-5 categories. (Virginia Code §54.1-3455)
Notably, Virginia’s controlled substance classification laws do not include marijuana. Marijuana is governed by different laws.
What happens after I’m arrested for a drug crime in Virginia?
If the police find drugs on your person, in your vehicle, or in another location where they believe they belong to you, the arrest process includes:
- Police transport you to the police station.
- You will be fingerprinted and booked at the station.
- Police will take a mugshot photo of you.
- Your personal property will be confiscated.
- Police will hold you in jail until you appear in court for a bond hearing or are released by a magistrate.
- If the magistrate judge does not grant bond, then an arraignment date will be set in front of a general district court judge, where the criminal charges against you will be formerly presented and you will be informed of your right to be represented by an attorney.
- Your attorney may then set a bond hearing, which will take place before a general district court judge in a Virginia General District court.
- The general district court judge will decide whether to keep you in jail or release you on bond.
- At your bond hearing, the same judge will also usually set the court date for your trial.
As soon as possible after you are arrested for a drug charge in Virginia, you should hire an experienced Virginia drug crime attorney. Your lawyer can explain your legal options and get right to work aggressively investigating your case. There’s often a lot on the line if you have been charged with a drug crime. Protect your interests with an attorney on your side.
What are common types of drug crimes in Virginia?
The major types of drug crimes in Virginia are drug possession, drug manufacturing and drug distribution, which can also involve drug trafficking. These laws can be confusing and often change from one year to the next.
Virginia’s marijuana laws are a perfect example. Possession of less than one ounce of marijuana is legal for adults over 21 years old in Virginia. However, it is against the law to possess more than one ounce of marijuana in Virginia. And anyone under 21 years old can be charged with underage drug charges for use or possession of many controlled substances in Virginia, including marijuana.
This is why it’s critical that you have an experienced Norfolk drug trafficking and drug possession lawyer on your side. This is why you need Welch & Wright, PLLC fighting for you.
What are the penalties for drug crime convictions?
The penalties vary widely depending on what type of drug charge you have been convicted of in Virginia. The penalty for some charges might be a small fine, while other more serious felony drug charges can result in a prison sentence that lasts years or even decades.
For example, if you are convicted of drug trafficking in Virginia involving a Schedule 1 controlled substance, the penalty can be 5 to 40 years in prison (with a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 3 years) and a fine of up to $1,000,000, according to Virginia Code 18.2-248.01.
Will I go to jail for a drug charge conviction?
Perhaps. As explained above, some drug crime convictions in Virginia have mandatory minimum prison sentences. This means you will serve jail or prison time if you are convicted of these drug charges.
Often, whether or not you will serve time in jail depends on several different factors, including what type of drug your charges involve, the amount of drugs you had in your possession at the time of your arrest and whether you have been previously convicted of a drug charge in Virginia.
What are Virginia’s drug crime laws?
The Commonwealth of Virginia has a long list of rules and regulations that apply to drugs and other controlled substances. These laws can be found in Virginia Code, Title 18.2, Chapter 7, Article 1.
Virginia’s drug laws often change. For example, Virginia legalized the possession of up to one ounce of cannabis (marijuana) for adults over 21 for medical use or recreational use. However, many other rules and regulations still apply to marijuana in Virginia. This is why it’s important to consult with an experienced Virginia drug charge lawyer familiar with the state’s latest drug laws.
Common legal defenses for drug crime charges?
Many times, the most successful legal defenses involving drug charges in Virginia involve challenging the legality of the arrest or the search. Such legal strategies often involve proving:
- Arresting police officer did not have probable cause to conduct a search that resulted in the drug arrest.
- Police officer violated your civil rights while arresting you on a drug charge.
- The controlled substances seized in the arrest were not in the possession of the person arrested and charged with a drug crime.
Many other types of legal defenses may be possible depending on the circumstances of your arrest. This is why you should talk to a lawyer as soon as possible after your drug arrest in Virginia. An attorney at our Norfolk law firm may be able to come up with a way to have your charges dismissed or your penalties reduced, especially if you have never been arrested or charged with a drug crime before and enroll in a first-time offender program, sometimes called a “251 program.”
Can I get my drug charges dismissed?
Yes. In many cases, you may be able to have your drug charges dismissed. However, every legal case is different. Similar Virginia drug crime cases might result in very different outcomes. One person might have their drug charges dismissed. Another person might end up going to jail or prison.
The difference depends on many different factors, including which Virginia drug crime defense lawyer you choose to represent you and handle your legal case. Experienced Virginia defense attorneys for drug charges understand how the legal system works in the state and can develop a comprehensive legal strategy that suits your specific needs.
Can I appeal my drug crime conviction?
Yes, in most circumstances, you can appeal your drug conviction in Virginia. However, you need to act fast if you want to appeal your conviction for a drug charge in Virginia. There are tight deadlines that apply to appeals and strict legal requirements that must be met.
If you are not sure how much time you have to appeal your drug crime conviction in Virginia, talk to an experienced attorney right away. They can review your case and explain your legal options, including filing an appeal.
How can a Virginia drug crime lawyer help?
So many legal issues often come up in cases involving drug charges in Virginia, and many of these issues can have very technical defenses. If you don’t have a lawyer handling your case, you might not fully understand your rights or the legal options available to you, especially if you are a first-time offender or a juvenile under 21 years old facing an underage drug charge.
Experienced defense attorneys who handle drug charges understand how the legal system works in Virginia and are familiar with the most up-to-date criminal laws that apply to controlled substances and other drugs in Virginia. Your lawyer may even be able to get your charges reduced or dismissed altogether. That’s why you need to talk to an attorney as soon as possible after your drug arrest.
Why should I hire Welch & Wright, PLLC?
Our Norfolk, VA law firm has a well-earned reputation in the Hampton Roads, Virginia area for successfully handling complex legal cases involving drug crimes and other drug-related charges. Our trial lawyers frequently appear in court and understand how the legal system works in the 4th Judicial Circuit of Virginia (which includes Norfolk Circuit Court) as well as many other legal jurisdictions in Virginia, including the 2nd Judicial Circuit of Virginia (includes Virginia Beach Circuit Court).
This is important because you need to act fast after being arrested and charged with a drug crime. Our trial-tested legal team can hit the ground running and get right to work building a strong legal case on your behalf. Whether it’s challenging the legality of your arrest or negotiating a plea deal on your behalf, we’re focused on finding the right legal strategy for your drug crime case.