Drug abuse is behavior that can be prevented. However, the prolonged effects of drugs in the brain can lead to drug addiction, which is a chronic and recurrent brain disease. For anyone addicted to drugs, the compulsive need to use drugs can be overwhelming, affecting all aspects of their lives and those of their families. Drug use can have serious consequences for the future, both for a young person and for an adult, because drugs can alter the way the brain works and cause other serious medical consequences. That’s why the state of Virginia takes the possession of drugs very seriously.
Substance possession in Virginia
In Virginia, drug distribution charges tend to rise rapidly. Currently, there are more than 2,000 prisoners serving life sentences in Virginia. While repeated simple possession charges generally carry the same penalties, the actual sentence that is placed against you will vary depending on your previous convictions. The distribution and manufacturing charges, however, result in increasing penalties for each charge.
To avoid becoming another drug-related statistic, contact an experienced criminal lawyer as soon as you are arrested for any drug-related crime. Although it will not necessarily result in the state dropping its charges, a good legal defense will reduce your chance to receive the maximum possible sentence.
Is substance possession a felony or misdemeanor?
In Virginia, the law criminalizes the possession and distribution of certain illicit drugs and other controlled substances. However, the sentences for these crimes may vary depending on how many times you have been convicted. Breaking Virginia’s drug laws will repeatedly lead to increased consequences, including large fines and longer prison terms. If you’re convicted first time for possession, then it will be regarded as a misdemeanor otherwise a felony.
Possession of either a Schedule 1 (§ 54.1-3446) or a Schedule 2 (§ 54.1-3448) substance is a class 5 felony. The maximum penalty for either is a $ 2,500 fine and a ten-year prison sentence.
However, the state may choose to charge certain class 5 offenses as class 1 misdemeanors, especially if it is their first offense. In these cases, the maximum penalty is a fine of $ 2,500 and up to one year in jail.
Possession of a Schedule 3 (§ 54.1-3450) the drug is a class 1 misdemeanor. It has a maximum penalty of a $ 2,500 fine and a one-year prison sentence. LSD, ketamine, and other high-risk sedatives are listed as drugs in program 3.
Possession a Schedule 4 (§ 54.1-3452) the drug is a class 2 misdemeanor. Their maximum penalties are a fine of $ 1,000 and a jail term of six months. High-risk medications and narcotics are included in the list of drugs in program 4.
Possession of an Agenda 5 (§ 54.1-3454) drug is a Class 3 misdemeanor. Your maximum penalty is a fine of up to $ 500. The drugs in program 5 include many prescription medications, such as painkillers.
Possession of a Schedule 6 (§ 54.1-3455) the drug is a class 4 misdemeanor. Your maximum penalty is a fine of up to $ 250. The drugs in program 6 are prescription drugs such as antidepressants and drugs for ADHD.
Also, a conviction for any of the above crimes will result in an automatic suspension of the 6-month license.