Drug Trafficking Crimes in Virginia – What you need to know.

drugtrafficAs the laws against the use and possession of certain drugs, like marijuana become more relaxed, police and politicians in the Commonwealth continue to attack the trafficking of drugs.  Whether it is the importation of drugs into the Commonwealth in very large quantities, or the sale of a small quantities of drugs to a single user, the penalties for possession with intent, distribution, the manufacture or sale of controlled substances are some of the stiffest found in the law.

With the exception of less than one half of an ounce of marijuana, the distribution or sale of drugs are all felonies in Virginia.  The penalties increase by the amount of drugs or the number of offenses a person has.

Possession with intent, distribution, sale and manufacture are all considered equal for the purposes of sentencing.  Each is criminalized in § 18.2-248 of the Code of Virginia.  For any drug listed in Schedule I or II of the Controlled Substance Act, for example cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, ecstasy, etc., the penalty for distribution  of smaller amounts of the drug is five years to forty years and up to a $500,000 fine.  If the possession with intent or distribution is of a larger amount (i.e. greater than 100 grams of heroin), the penalty is five years to life and a one million dollar fine.  There is also a 5 year mandatory minimum sentence.  As the amount of drugs go up, the minimum sentences increase, up to a minimum sentence of life for the manufacturing of a large amount of methamphetamine.

The law also imposes mandatory minimum sentences for subsequent convictions of distribution.  A conviction for a second offense carries a three year mandatory minimum sentence.  A conviction for a third or subsequent offense carries a ten year mandatory minimum.  The statute requires that a person be a liberty in between the two offenses for the offense to count as a predicate offense.

The distribution of controlled substances as an accommodation (not for money) is a class 1 misdemeanor, which carries up to 12 months in jail.  The distribution of an imitation controlled substance is a class 6 felony, which carries up to 5 years in jail.

The penalties for sale of drugs are steep.  If you or a loved one are facing a charge involving the sale or distribution of drugs, contact the criminal attorneys at Winslow & McCurry at 804-423-1382.