Hampton Roads Drug Possession Lawyer
Our law firm will fight for your rights
Have you been charged with drug possession in Virginia? You might think such drug charges are not that serious, but they can be very serious in many cases. In fact, if you are convicted of certain drug possession charges in Virginia, you could be fined thousands of dollars and sentenced to several years in prison depending on the circumstances of your case.
We know what’s at stake at Welch & Wright, PLLC. That’s why our Norfolk, Virginia drug crime defense attorneys want to meet with you. We can answer any questions you might have about your drug arrest, then explain the legal options available to you in Virginia.
Virginia drug possession classification laws
Virginia’s drug possession laws vary depending on what type of drug it is and how it’s classified by the Commonwealth of Virginia. There are six classifications in Virginia for controlled substances, the legal term used to describe certain drugs and prescription medications. The classifications are:
- Schedule I Controlled Substance – This includes heroin, ecstasy, and LSD. (Virginia Code §54.1-3446)
- Schedule II Controlled Substances – This includes opium, cocaine, codeine, PCP, fentanyl, and methamphetamine (“crystal meth”). (Virginia Code §54.1-3448)
- Schedule III Controlled Substances – This includes steroids, Vicodin, and Ketamine (“Special K”). (Virginia Code §54.1-3450)
- Schedule IV Controlled Substances – This includes Ambien, alprazolam (Xanax), clonazepam (Klonopin) and diazepam (Valium). (Virginia Code §54.1-3452)
- Schedule V Controlled Substances – This includes drugs with lower amounts of codeine, dihydrocodeine, ethylmorphine, diphenoxylate and difenoxin. (Virginia Code §54.1-3454)
- Schedule VI Controlled Substances – This includes other drugs and control substances not included in Schedule I through Schedule V. (Virginia Code §54.1-3455)
Common Virginia drug possession charges
One of the most common laws cited in drug possession legal cases in Virginia is Virginia Code 18.2-250 (Possession of controlled substances unlawful). Many other Virginia laws also apply to drug possession charges, including:
- Virginia Code 18.2-248 and Virginia Code 18.2-248.03, which both apply to drug crime charges involving “possessing with intent to manufacture, sell” certain controlled substances.
- Several Virginia Codes apply to possession or distribution of marijuana or cannabis, including Virginia Code 18.2-251.1 (which involves medical marijuana), Virginia Code 18.2-251.1:1 (which involves cannabis at public schools) and Virginia Code 18.2-251.1:2 (which involves nursing homes and assisted living facilities).
- Virginia Code 18.2-251.2, which involves possession and distribution of flunitrazepam, a depressant often used to treat insomnia.
Penalties for drug possession conviction in Virginia
The penalties for possession of a controlled substance in Virginia can vary depending on several different factors, including the amount of drugs, the drug’s classification, whether the person has been previously convicted of a drug charge and if the person charged is an adult or a juvenile under 21 years old.
- If convicted, possession of a Schedule I or Schedule II controlled substance could result in up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $2,500. This is because these drug charges are classified as a Class 5 Felony.
- Possession of a Schedule III controlled substance can result in a prison sentence of up to 12 months and a fine of up to $2,500. This drug charge is considered a Class 1 Misdemeanor in Virginia.
- Possession of a Schedule IV drug can result in up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. This drug charge is classified as a Class 2 Misdemeanor.
- Possession of a Schedule V controlled substance may result in a fine of up to $500 since this drug charge is considered a Class 3 Misdemeanor in Virginia.
- Possession of a Schedule VI drug can result in a fine of up to $250 since this drug charge is a Class 4 Misdemeanor.
Will I serve prison time for a drug possession conviction?
Perhaps. As briefly explained above, some drug possession charges in Virginia are more serious than others. And if you have been previously convicted of a drug crime charge in Virginia, the penalties for a second drug possession charge or subsequent charge will often be much more severe. Whoever serves as your judge may also play a role in whether or not you have to serve jail time for a drug possession charge conviction.
Common defenses for drug possession charges
There are many different ways your criminal defense lawyer may be able to win your drug charge case. Each case is different, but some of the most successful legal strategies often involve:
- Challenging the legality of the police search that resulted in the arrest. This is often referred to as an unlawful search and seizure.
- Police misconduct, including the arresting police officer not reading you your legal rights or failure to follow other police rules and regulations.
- Showing that you had the right to legally possess the controlled substance.
- Showing that the drugs involved in the arrest belong to another person.
- The police incorrectly recorded the amount of drugs seized in the arrest. Often, this involves the police claiming someone had more drugs than they actually did at the time of the arrest.
- Challenging the identification of the drug involved in the arrest. For example, the police claim someone was in possession of ecstasy (a Class I controlled substance) when in fact they were in possession of Xanax (a Class IV controlled substance).
Can I get my drug possession charges dismissed?
Sometimes. As briefly explained above, your lawyer will likely need to demonstrate that you were wrongfully charged with possession of a controlled substance. Another way to think about your case is that the prosecutor needs to prove the case against you. If not, your lawyer can work on your behalf to have your drug possession charge dismissed.
However, even if you believe were wrongfully charged and your drug possession charge should be dismissed, that doesn’t mean your charges will be dropped. You need a Virginia defense attorney experienced in drug charges to aggressively advocate for your legal rights.
We take drug possession charges seriously. Contact us.
The stakes are high if you have been charged with drug possession in Virginia. Don’t simply assume everything will turn out fine. Contact our law firm to learn more about your legal options. Schedule a free case evaluation with one of our experienced Norfolk, Virginia drug charge defense lawyers. We can answer your questions, explain your options, and get right to work building the strongest possible legal case.