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Is There a Difference Between Drug Distribution & Trafficking of Schedule I/II Drugs in Virginia?

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Distribution and trafficking are two drug crimes prohibited within the Commonwealth of Virginia. Although these offenses may sound similar, there are separate definitions of and penalty structures for each.

Substances in Schedule I/II are the categorized as the most dangerous and addictive drugs available. These controlled substances include, but are not limited to, heroin, cocaine, LSD, ecstasy, methamphetamine, and opium.

How Does Virginia Define Drug Distribution?

The definition of drug distribution appears in Code of Virginia Section 18.2-248.01. Under this section, it is unlawful to distribute, manufacture, sell, or give away a controlled substance; such crimes are referred to generally as “distribution” crimes.

It is also illegal to possess an illegal drug such that there is an indication of an intent to distribute, manufacture, sell, or give away the substance in question. These crimes are referred to generally as “possession with intent to distribute” crimes. In possession cases, the quantity of controlled substance in question is often an important factor.

What is the Virginia Punishment for Drug Distribution?

Section 18.2-248 also establishes the punishment for distribution and possession with intent to distribute crimes. The punishment changes based on the classification and quantity of the controlled substance in question.

Distribution and possession with intent to distribute crimes involving Schedule I/II controlled substances are usually punishable as follows:

  • First Offense — Imprisonment for five to 40 years and criminal fines up to $500,000;
  • Second Offense — Imprisonment for five years to life and criminal fines up to $500,000; or
  • Third or Subsequent Offense — Imprisonment for 10 years to life and criminal fines up to $500,000.

How Does Virginia Define Drug Trafficking?

The definition of drug trafficking appears in Code of Virginia Section 18.2-248.01. Under this section, it is illegal for any person to transport certain quantities of illegal drugs into Virginia with the intent to commit a distribution crime. In order to qualify as a violation of this section, a person must transport, or attempt to transport, at least:

  • One ounce or more of cocaine;
  • One ounce or more of other substances classified in Schedule I/II; or
  • Five pounds or more of marijuana.

What is the Virginia Punishment for Drug Trafficking?

Section 18.2-248.01 also provides the punishment for drug trafficking crimes. Under this section, drug trafficking crimes are punishable as follows:

  • First Offense — Imprisonment for five to 40 years and criminal fines up to $1,000,000; or
  • Second or Subsequent Offense — The same penalties as above, but a mandatory minimum imprisonment of 10 years to life.

Do You Need Legal Help?

If you have legal questions about Virginia charges for a drug crime, it can be undeniably valuable to reach out to an adept criminal defense lawyer. The Leesburg drug crimes lawyers at Simms Showers LLP can assist you throughout each step of your case. Reach out to us today for help.

Resource:

law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title18.2/chapter7/section18.2-248/

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