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What are Virginia's drug penalties?

Virginia has distinct drug penalties for first, second and subsequent offenses. There are additional penalties for the amount possessed, as well as other factors.

You can be charged with a drug crime if you manufacture, distribute, sell, give or possess drugs. Even if you just have the intent to participate in these crimes, you may also be arrested.

What happens if you're caught trying to transport or sell drugs in the state of Virginia?

Trafficking drugs is particularly egregious in the eyes of the law. For instance, if you traffic 10 or more grams of methamphetamine, more than 249 grams of cocaine base, 500 or more grams of cocaine or 100 or more grams of heroin, you could be incarcerated for five years to life and a fine that could be up to $1 million.

What if the drugs you have aren't Schedule I or II drugs?

If you are caught with a drug that is not ranked as a Schedule I or II drug, then you risk lower penalties. For instance, for Schedule III, IV or V drugs, you face up to 12 months in prison and a fine of no more than $2,500, which is a significant difference.

Will you face a higher penalty for a second or more serious drug crime offense?

If this is not your first offense, understand that the penalties you could face may be higher. Enhanced penalties are likely in cases where a person has been charged in the past, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't defend yourself. A good defense can help you put doubt in a jury's mind, so you have the potential for a better outcome.

Source: Virginia Tech, "Virginia Drug Penalties," accessed Nov. 14, 2016

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