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The Virginia Drug Control Act and scheduled substances

In Virginia, a controlled substance is defined as being a substance that is listed in the Virginia Drug Control Act as a Schedule I, II, III, IV, V or VI drug. The only two substances not listed in the definition are tobacco and alcohol. Although these are considered to be controlled substances, they are not controlled under the Virginia Drug Control Act.

Interestingly, while drugs can be found and listed under Schedule I through V, Schedule VI also exists for the purpose of identifying non-conventional substances that may be abused. For instance, paint thinner wouldn't be considered to be a conventional drug, but it could be abused recreationally. Even items listed as Schedule VI substances can be restricted. You may have encountered this in the past if you were asked for identification before purchasing thinners, spray paint, or glues.

There are several kinds of drug charges you can be charged with in Virginia depending on the alleged crime. For example, if you possess an opiate without a prescription, you can be charged with a possession crime. If you try to sell tranquilizers, then you could be accused of distribution or drug sale crimes. If you manufacture a drug, like methamphetamine, for example, then you can be accused of manufacturing crimes.

The penalties you could face vary significantly, but generally speaking, the lower the level number, the harsher the penalty will be. For instance, the possession of a Schedule I or II substance is a Class 5 felony, while the possession of a Schedule VI substance is a Class 4 misdemeanor. In any situation where you're accused, your attorney can help you understand the charges and how they apply to your case.

Source: VirginiaRules.com, "Drugs - Overview," accessed Aug. 08, 2016

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