Talk To A Lawyer Before You Talk To The Police
The penalties for drug possession are stiff enough in Virginia, but those for distribution are even more severe, carrying serious jail time. If you are charged with possession, you can expect the police to try to get you to say something that allows them to bump up the charge to distribution.
Therefore, it is imperative that you talk to a skilled lawyer such as one of our Danville drug defense attorneys before you say anything to the police. Many people are unaware how often a charge can be beaten if the suspects talks with a lawyer before talking to the police. For example, the mere fact that a controlled substance is found in an auto you own or the house you occupy is not enough for you to be convicted.
If we cannot get the charges dismissed, we still may be able to mitigate the penalties. You may be eligible for Virginia's first-offender program. Under this program, after completing a period of probation and conditions set by the court that may include community service, substance abuse counseling or screening, testing and good behavior, the offender will be discharged and the charge dismissed.
Penalties For Possession
Heroin, cocaine, Ecstasy and LSD are federal Schedule I or II drugs, and carry the potential for long penitentiary sentences. A marijuana possession first conviction is a misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail and a $500 fine, and a six-month license suspension. Subsequent offenses are Class 1 misdemeanors with a maximum penalty of 12 months in jail and a $2,500 fine.
Many prescription drugs (e.g., Valium, Rohypnol and Xanax) are Schedule IV controlled substances; unauthorized possession is a prescription drug crime punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of $1,000.
Penalties For Distribution
The penalties for marijuana distribution escalate with the amount of drugs involved, starting with a year in prison and a $2,500 fine for half an ounce, and up to five to 30 years in prison for five pounds or more.
Distribution of other Schedule I drugs carries a penalty of five-40 years and up to $500,000 for a first offense; for later offenses the maximum prison term increases to life.
Distribution of Schedule IV drugs is a Class 6 felony with penalties of one to two years in prison and a fine of up to $2,500.