Drug Paraphernalia Laws in Virginia
Drug paraphernalia refers to any equipment, product, or material that is designed for or used with illegal drugs. Such paraphernalia is illegal under Virginia law. Additionally, it is unlawful to sell or advertise drug paraphernalia in Virginia.
Definition of Drug Paraphernalia
The definition of drug paraphernalia appears under Code of Virginia Section 18.2-265.1. Under Section 18.2-265.1, drug paraphernalia can refer to any equipment, product, or material used to:
- Plant illegal drugs;
- Propagate illegal drugs;
- Cultivate illegal drugs;
- Grow illegal drugs;
- Harvest illegal drugs;
- Manufacture illegal drugs;
- Compound illegal drugs;
- Convert illegal drugs;
- Produce illegal drugs;
- Process illegal drugs;
- Prepare illegal drugs;
- Strength test illegal drugs;
- Analyze illegal drugs;
- Package illegal drugs;
- Repackage illegal drugs;
- Store illegal drugs;
- Contain illegal drugs;
- Conceal illegal drugs;
- Inject illegal drugs;
- Ingest illegal drugs;
- Inhale illegal drugs; or
- Otherwise introduce illegal drugs in the human body.
As evidenced by the list above, Virginia law casts a wide net in defining drug paraphernalia. Essentially, most things that are designed for or used with illegal drugs can qualify as illegal paraphernalia.
Sale of Drug Paraphernalia
Under Code of Virginia Section 18.2-265.3, it is unlawful to sell drug paraphernalia. It is also unlawful to possess such paraphernalia with the intent to sell. If a person knows, or should know, that they have drug paraphernalia, then Section 18.2-265.3 applies.
In most cases, a violation of Section 18.2-265.3 qualifies as a Class 1 misdemeanor in Virginia. The standard punishment for a Class 1 misdemeanor in Virginia includes 12 months in jail and $2,500 in fines.
That being said, a violation of Section 18.2-265.3 can qualify as a Class 6 felony, under certain circumstances. Specifically, the offender must be at least 18 years old. Additionally, the offender must sell drug paraphernalia to a minor who is at least three years younger. Under those circumstances, the offender can face the standard punishment for a Class 6 felony in Virginia, including one to five years in jail and $2,500 in fines.
Advertisements for Drug Paraphernalia
Under Code of Virginia Section 18.2-265.5, it is unlawful to place advertisements for drug paraphernalia. Specifically, Section 18.2-265.5 prohibits the placement of any advertisements for drug paraphernalia in:
- Handbills; or
- Other publications. Any advertisement, knowing or under circumstances where one reasonably should know, that the purpose of the advertisement, in whole or in part, is to promote the sale of objects designed or intended by such person for use as drug paraphernalia.
If a person knows, or should know, that they are advertising drug paraphernalia, then Section 18.2-265.5 applies.
In most cases, a violation of Section 18.2-265.5 qualifies as a Class 1 misdemeanor in Virginia. The standard punishment for this offense is the same as above described.
Do You Need Legal Help?
If you are facing drug paraphernalia charges in Virginia, it is best to consult with a dependable criminal defense attorney. The attorneys at Simms Showers LLP, servicing Leesburg, Winchester, Fairfax, and Manassas, have proven capabilities representing criminal defendants in Virginia, including drug paraphernalia charges. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free initial consultation.