Evaluating Heroin Crimes in Virginia
The subject for discussion today involves an exploration of heroin crimes in Virginia. Heroin is a controlled substance in Virginia, regulated by a number of rules and regulations. Overall, anyone charged with possession or any other crime relating to heroin should reach out to an attorney in the area for help.
Classification of Heroin in Virginia
The Drug Control Act establishes the Virginia approach to heroin and other controlled substances. Under Virginia law, there are different categories (referred to legally as “schedules”) for illegal drugs and other controlled substances.
In order to understand how these schedules work, heroin will serve as an illustrative example. Heroin appears in Schedule I with LSD, peyote, morphine, and many other controlled substances. As detailed in Code of Virginia Section 54.1-3445, drugs and other compounds are classified in Schedule I if there is a high likelihood for abuse and:
- No accepted medical use in the United States; or a
- Lack of safe use under medical supervision.
Heroin Possession in Virginia
As established in Code of Virginia Section 18.2-250, it is generally illegal to possess heroin or other Schedule I substances. There is an exception concerning valid prescriptions from a licensed professional. But outside of valid medical use, possession of heroin is a crime in Virginia.
Section 18.2-250 also establishes the penalty for heroin possession in Virginia. In most cases, possession of heroin or other Schedule I substances is a Class 5 felony. The penalty structure for a Class 5 felony in Virginia includes a maximum prison sentence of 10 years and fines up to $2,500, either, or both.
Heroin Distribution in Virginia
As outlined in Code of Virginia Section 18.2-248, it is illegal to distribute heroin. The term distribution in Virginia includes manufacturing, selling, gifting, or otherwise trafficking controlled substances.
Furthermore, Section 18.2-248 addresses the crime of possession with intent to distribute. Essentially, this offense refers to possession of large quantities of illegal drugs, which creates the presumption that there is an intent to distribute.
In most cases, it is a felony to commit distribution crimes involving heroin or other Schedule I substances. The first conviction for heroin distribution can result in a maximum prison sentence of 40 years and fines up to $500,000, either, or both.
That being said, Section 18.2-248 does feature more severe penalties for distribution crimes involving large amounts of heroin and other Schedule I substances. For example:
- Distribution of 100 grams or more —Results in a minimum of five years in prison, a maximum of life in prison and fines up to $1,000,000;
- Distribution of 1,000 grams or more — Results in a minimum of 20 years in prison, a maximum of life in prison and fines up to $1,000,000; and
- Distribution of 5,000 grams or more — Results in a minimum sentence of life in prison and fines up to $1,000,000.
Contact Us Today for Help
If you have legal questions about heroin possession or distribution crimes in Virginia, it is especially helpful to reach out to a trusted criminal defense attorney. The attorneys at Simms Showers LLP, servicing Leesburg, Winchester, Fairfax, and Manassas, have widespread experience with criminal defense in Virginia, including against charges of heroin possession and distribution. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free initial consultation.