Drug charges in Virginia cover a broad range of substances of which possession without a prescription is unlawful. The penalty classifications range from Class 4 Misdemeanors (the lowest classification of crimes in Virginia) for simple possession of low level drugs to Class 5 Felonies. The penalties of drug charges have the ability to be a misdemeanor or felony, depending upon the type and amount as well as whether there is intent to distribute.
The possession can be with an intent to distribute, a simple possession, or even just the possession of drug paraphernalia. Often people think that possession of small quantities is not a crime, but even a trace found in a container would be sufficient for you to be found guilty of possession.
It is important to understand the classification under which the substance would fall. Class I substances carry the heaviest penalties and fines particularly for charges of intent to distribute. While marijuana is a Class I substance which are felonies, it has its own special treatment under the statutes.
- Schedule I or II – Class 5 Felony
- Schedule III – Class 1 Misdemeanor
- Schedule IV – Class 2 Misdemeanor
- Schedule V – Class 3 Misdemeanor
- Schedule VI – Class 4 Misdemeanor
A first offense carries up to a $500 fine and up to 30 days in jail. Subsequent possession charges are Class 1 Misdemeanors and carry up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine.
Additionally, many of the charges carry a requirement of the suspension of your driving privileges if you are found guilty.
Subsequent possessions charges can also carry mandatory minimum jail times. A second offense of possession with intent to distribute of a Class I or Class II substance can carry jail time of 5 to 40 years with $500,000 fine. A third offense can result in mandatory minimum of 10 years in jail and can even be a life sentence.