Defending Against Drug Distribution Charges in Fairfax
Classification of Controlled Substances in Virginia
Illegal drugs are split into five classifications in Virginia on the basis of their redeeming medical qualities and how frequently they tend to be abused. The classifications are ranked from most to least serious in terms of their coinciding punishments. Below is a list of common illegal drugs and their classifications:
Class I: Heroin, ecstasy, LSD, marijuana (marijuana has its own separate possession with intent to distribute offenses and penalties)
Class II: Methamphetamine (crystal meth), cocaine, morphine, PCP, Ritalin
Class III: Anabolic steroids, codeine, some barbiturates, depressants
Class IV: Darvon, Valium, Xanax, and other tranquilizers
Class V: Codeine-based cough medicines and other over-the-counter medications
Common Possession With Intent to Distribute
According to Va Code § 18.2-248, it is unlawful for a person to manufacture, sell, give, distribute, or possess with the intent to manufacture, sell, give, or distribute a controlled substance or imitation controlled substance. Virginia laws treat the possession of any illegal drug as a serious offense, and you may even be charged with possession with intent to distribute for having a small amount of an illegal controlled substance.
Potential Penalties for Different Drug Classifications and Other Offenses
Schedule I and II: As outlined in Va Code §18.2-248(C), the penalty is between 5 and 40 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000 for a first offense conviction. For a second offense, there is a minimum sentence of three years in jail with the possibility of five years to life in prison, in addition to a fine of up to $500,000.
Methamphetamine: Methamphetamine is a Class II controlled substance, but possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine has separate penalties under Va Code §18.2-248(C1). These penalties include 5 to 40 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000 for a first conviction, and 10 years to life in prison and a fine of up to $500,000 for a second conviction. If this is the third offense, the penalty can be increased from 10 years to life with a mandatory 3 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000.
Schedule III: Va Code §18.2-248(E1) says that possession with intent to distribute a Schedule III controlled substance is a Class 5 felony, and is punishable by 1 to 10 years in prison, or up to 12 months in jail or a fine no more than $2500.
Large Volume Dealers: A larger volume dealer who manufactures, sells, gives, or distributes or intends to manufacture, sell, give, or distribute a controlled substance of a specific amount as specified in Va Code 18.2-248(H) can face a minimum sentence of 20 years in prison to life and a fine of up to $1 million.
Transporting Controlled Substances: According to Va Code § 18.2-248.01, it is a separate felony offense to transport with the intent to sell or distribute at least one ounce of cocaine or a Schedule I or II controlled substance, or five or more pounds of marijuana into Virginia. This offense is punishable by 5 to 40 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million. Furthermore, there is a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 3 years for a first conviction and 10 years for one or more prior convictions.
How We Can Help
The Pickett Law Group, PLLC is an experienced law firm with two generations of former prosecutors, who have fought from both sides of the courtroom on all types of legal issues, including Drug Distribution. Our attorneys can help ensure that you have the best defense possible in your case. Contact us today and we will begin fighting on your behalf.