Cocaine Crimes in Virginia
Today’s blog entry will take a deep dive into cocaine crimes in Virginia. To gain a deep appreciation of these offenses, the following sections will explore the classification of cocaine as a controlled substance as well as the crimes of possession and distribution.
How Does Virginia Classify Cocaine?
Under the Drug Control Act, Virginia law divides cocaine and other controlled substances into different schedules. Cocaine appears in Schedule II, along with opium, morphine, and codeine.
On a larger level, the purpose of each Schedule is slightly different. Under Code of Virginia § 54.1-3447, a controlled substance will appear in Schedule II if there is a:
- High potential for abuse;
- Limited or restricted medical use in the United States; and
- Risk of severe dependence from substance abuse.
Moving past classification, the next section will address the crime of cocaine possession.
What is the Virginia Approach to Cocaine Possession?
Under Code of Virginia § 18.2-250, it is illegal to possess cocaine or other Schedule II substances without a valid prescription. Virginia law imposes a knowledge requirement for possession crimes. Stated otherwise, the offender must know, or have reason to know, that they are in possession of cocaine.
Under § 18.2-250, unlawful possession of cocaine is generally a Class 5 felony, A single conviction can result in one to 10 years in prison and $2,500 in fines.
Shifting focus from possession, the next section will detail the crime of cocaine distribution.
What is the Virginia Approach to Cocaine Distribution?
Under Code of Virginia § 18.2-248, it is illegal to manufacture, sell, give, or otherwise distribute cocaine. It is also unlawful to possess large amounts of cocaine, which constitutes an intent to manufacture, sell, give, or otherwise distribute. This criminal offense is sometimes referred to as cocaine trafficking.
Under § 18.2-248, cocaine distribution is a felony crime with special penalties. Specifically, a single conviction can result in five to 40 years in prison and $500,000 in fines. A second conviction can result in five years to life in prison and $500,000 in fines.
Additionally, § 18.2-248 addresses the distribution of large quantities of cocaine. Distribution at this level is always a felony crime. Though the penalties change based on the amount of cocaine in question. Distribution of:
- 500 grams or more —Is punishable by $1 million in fines and five years to life in prison;
- Between 500 grams and 10 kilograms — Is punishable by $1 million in fines and 20 years to life in prison;
- 10 kilograms or more — Is punishable by $1 million in fines and life in prison.
Concerning cocaine distribution of 10 kilograms or more, the offender must serve the entire sentence. Suspension is not normally available for this offense. But there is an exception. If the offender cooperates with law enforcement, the court has discretion to order a prison sentence of 40 years to life instead.
Contact Us Today for Professional Help
If you are facing charges for cocaine possession or distribution in Virginia, there are many benefits to consulting with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney. The attorneys at Simms Showers LLP, servicing Leesburg, Winchester, Fairfax, and Manassas, have vast legal experience in criminal law, including in defense of cocaine possession and distribution. If you are in need of criminal defense, contact us today for a free initial consultation.