Virginia Man Sentenced For Federal Drug/Weapon Crime
A Virginia man received a 12-year prison sentence for committing a federal drug/weapon crime, according to an article by WDBJ.
Official reports indicate that the Virginia man attempted to sell drugs illegally to a 16-year-old male. But as the transaction played out, the Virginia man ended up shooting and killing the prospective buyer, claiming self-defense.
In July, the Virginia man pleaded guilty to possessing, brandishing, and discharging a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking in U.S. federal court. But the sentence was not formalized until court proceedings in October.
Although this case occurred in federal court, it serves as an interesting lens to examine corresponding regulations under Virginia state law. If this case ended up in the Virginia courts, for example, the applicable charges could have been: (1) Possession of a firearm during a drug crime and (2) Drug trafficking.
Possession of Firearm During Drug Crime
The state laws against possession of a firearm during a drug crime appear at Code of Virginia Section 18.2-308.4. This section makes it unlawful to:
- Possess any firearm while also possessing any Schedule I/II controlled substance; or
- Possess, use, or attempt to use any firearm; and
- Commit or attempt to commit the illegal distribution, sale, or manufacture of any Schedule I/II controlled substance or more than one pound of cannabis.
Any person who violates Section 18.2-308.4 will usually face Class 6 felony charges, sometimes including a mandatory minimum prison sentence. But from a general standpoint, the Virginia penalties for a Class 6 felony can include one to five years in jail and up to $2,500 in criminal fines.
The state laws against drug trafficking appear at Code of Virginia Section 18.2-248.01. This section makes it illegal to transport certain substances into Virginia while demonstrating an intent to sell or distribute. But this section only pertains to the trafficking of at least:
- One ounce or more of cocaine, coca leaves, or any preparation thereof;
- One ounce or more of any Schedule I/II controlled substance; or
- Five pounds or more of cannabis.
Any person who commits drug trafficking in violation of Section 18.2-248.01 is punishable as follows:
- First Violation — Felony charges, five to 40 years in prison, and criminal fines up to $1 million; or
- Second or Subsequent Violation — Felony charges, 10 to 40 years in prison, and criminal fines up to $1 million.
Do You Need Legal Help?
If you have legal questions about any drug or weapon crime in Virginia, it can be incredibly helpful to speak with a skilled Leesburg drug crimes lawyer. The lawyers at Simms Showers LLP showcase proven experience in the field of criminal defense, including drug and weapon crimes. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free initial consultation.