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Comparing Possession & Possession With Intent Drug Crimes In Virginia

DrugCrime

In most situations, it is a Virginia drug crime to possess any controlled substance, with or without suggesting an intent to distribute. Controlled substance is the technical term for illegal drugs. Substances classified in Schedule I/II are the most addictive and typically pose the highest risk to the end user. Schedule I/II controlled substances include, but are not limited to: heroin, LSD, cocaine, PCP, methamphetamine, and MDMA.

Possession of a Controlled Substance

The state laws against possession of a controlled substance appear under Code of Virginia Section 18.2-250. This section makes it unlawful to knowingly possess a controlled substance. There are narrow exceptions to this rule, but they are largely for medical purposes.

Section 18.2-250 also details the Virginia penalties for unlawful possession of a controlled substance. Any person who violates this law with respect to a:

  • Schedule I/II Controlled Substance — Is guilty of a Class 5 felony, which is punishable by criminal fines up to $2,500 and imprisonment for one to 10 years;
  • Schedule III Controlled Substance — Is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor, which is punishable by criminal fines up to $2,500 and a 12-month jail sentence;
  • Schedule IV Controlled Substance — Is guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor, which is punishable by criminal fines up to $1,000 and a six-month jail sentence;
  • Schedule V Controlled Substance — Is guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor, which is punishable by criminal fines up to $500; or
  • Schedule VI Controlled Substance — Is guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor, which is punishable by criminal fines up to $250.

Possession with Intent to Distribute

The state laws against possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute appear under Code of Virginia Section 18.2-248. This section makes it illegal to knowingly possess a controlled substance in a way that indicates an intent to distribute, manufacture, sell, or gift.

On a higher level, individually packaged bags or large quantities of a controlled substance can indicate an intent to distribute. This intent of distribution is normally inferred based on the circumstances of the case in question.

Section 18.2-248 also explains the Virginia penalties for unlawful possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute. These penalties do change based on factors such as the amount of substance in question. But in general, any person who violates this law with respect to a:

  • Schedule I/II Controlled Substance — Is guilty of a felony that is punishable by criminal fines up to $500,000 and imprisonment for five to 40 years;
  • Schedule III Controlled Substance — Is guilty of a Class 5 felony, which is punishable in the same way as explained previously;
  • Schedule IV Controlled Substance — Is guilty of a Class 6 felony, which is punishable by criminal fines up to $1,000 and a six-month jail sentence; or
  • Schedule V/VI Controlled Substance — Is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor, which is punishable in the same way as explained previously.

Do You Need Legal Help?

If you have legal questions about possession or possession with intent drug crimes in Virginia, contact a skilled Leesburg drug crime lawyer at Simms Showers LLP. We are prepared to assist you throughout each step of your case.

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