If you are found to be in illegal possession of a controlled substance, then you will face criminal charges in the Commonwealth of Virginia. A common term used when referring to a controlled substance is, “drugs”. If convicted, expect extremely harsh penalties because the government wants to discourage the sale and use of illicit substances and the problems they can bring to your finances, relationships, and job. If you want a chance of fighting your arrest or punishment, then contact a criminal defense attorney immediately after you are arrested for possession.
Definition of Possession
It is not true that any controlled substances have to be in your physical possession, such as in a pocket or purse, in order for you to be arrested and charged with possession. A controlled substance within close proximity, inside a box or other container within your personal space, within easy reach, or in an area for which you have immediate access is enough justification for you to be charged with possession.
Penalties Are Based on Classification of Substance
Federal standards are used to classify drugs, what potentially dangerous properties they possess, and how addictive they are. The State of Virginia relies on these classifications to determine the scope of your possession charge and its possible penalties.
Schedule I Substances
Because they are the most dangerous substances and have no medical value, Schedule I substances are considered the most illegal and include LSD, GHB, heroin, and ecstasy. Possessing these drugs may garner a Class 5 penalty that is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and up to $2,500 in fines.
Schedule II Substances
While Schedule II substances are also potentially dangerous and addictive, physicians may prescribe some of them for various medical reasons. These drugs include PCP, morphine, methamphetamine, methadone, and cocaine. Possessing these substances is a Class 5 felony that may be punishable by up to 10 years in prison and up to $2,500 in fines.
Schedule III Substances
Licensed doctors often prescribe Schedule III substances, which may possibly be addictive. These drugs include Vicodin, hydrocodone, ketamine, and anabolic steroids. Possessing these substances is considered a Class I misdemeanor that is punishable by up to 12 months in prisons and up to $2,500 in fines.
Schedule IV Substances
Schedule IV substances also represent prescription medications that may be addictive and include Xanax, Valium, or Rohypnol. Possession of these substances may impose a Class 2 misdemeanor charge that is punishable by up to six months in prison and up to $1,000 in fines.
Schedule V Substances
Prescription code medicines and cough syrup containing codeine form the bulk of this classification. Possession results in a Class 3 misdemeanor with fines of up to $250.
Schedule VI Substances
The risk of addiction and potential danger from Schedule V drugs is minimal, with arguably the most well-known substance in this classification being marijuana. The amount is irrelevant for a first offense, which imposes a misdemeanor charge. The penalty may land you in jail for up to 30 days and fine you up to $500. Subsequent offenses are still misdemeanors but may increase the penalty to one year in prison or $2,500 in fines.
Other Factors to Consider
Countering any drug charges will depend on the circumstances involved in the individual case. Among the possible challenges are the arrest itself, entrapment, whether the substances belonged to someone else, the classification of the substance by crime lab analysis, how the search and seizure led to the arrest, and whether the drugs were planted. The only way you can be sure of your options and learn your rights under the law is to consult with an attorney.
How We Can Help You
The consequences may negatively affect your future including a permanent criminal record, your career plans, eligibility for security, your standing in the community, and your future. If you are facing a charge for possession of any controlled substance – contact The Brown Firm PLLC. We are prepared to aggressively defend your rights in court. The sooner you contact our firm, then the sooner we can fight for you. We offer initial consultations so that you can make an informed decision moving forward. Call The Brown Firm PLLC or send us a message online to discuss your case.