What are the Virginia Laws Against Selling Drug Paraphernalia?
In addition to laws against possessing or distributing illegal drugs, the Commonwealth of Virginia also outlaws the sale of drug-related equipment. Referred to legally as drug paraphernalia, this term includes various types of devices and equipment that are used primarily to consume illegal drugs.
What Constitutes Drug Paraphernalia in Virginia?
Under Code of Virginia Section 18.2-265.1, there is a broad definition of drug paraphernalia. This term refers to any equipment, products, or materials designed for use with illegal drugs. It does not matter whether drug paraphernalia is intended for manufacturing, processing, or consuming illegal drugs. Any device that enables a person to introduce illegal drugs into their body can qualify as drug paraphernalia.
Examples of drug paraphernalia include but are not necessarily limited to:
- Agricultural kits for growing or cultivating natural plants that can produce illegal drugs;
- Manufacturing kits for producing or processing illegal drugs;
- Chemical diluents or adulterants for cutting or modifying illegal drugs;
- Testing equipment for evaluating purity or potency of illegal drugs;
- Scales or balances for weighing and dividing illegal drugs;
- Containers for storing or concealing illegal drugs;
- Bags, balloons, and envelopes for packaging illegal drugs for sale; and
- Needles, spoons, and pipes for ingesting or inhaling illegal drugs.
What are the Penalties for Selling Drug Paraphernalia in Virginia?
Under Code of Virginia Section 18.2-265.3, it is illegal for any person to sell drug paraphernalia. It is also unlawful for any person to possess drug paraphernalia with the intent to sell. In this context, Virginia law imposes a knowledge requirement. If a person knows — or reasonably should know — that they are selling or intending to sell drug paraphernalia, then it qualifies as a violation of Virginia law.
Traditionally, selling or possessing drug paraphernalia with the intent to sell is a Class 1 misdemeanor. Upon conviction for this class of misdemeanor, the offender can face up to 12 months in county jail and $2,500 in criminal fines, either or both.
That being said, there can be a different punishment for selling drug paraphernalia to a minor. If someone older than 18 sells drug paraphernalia to a minor younger than 15, it is a Class 6 felony. Upon conviction for this class of felony, the offender can face between one and five years in county jail as well as $2,500 in criminal fines, either or both.
Additionally, it is illegal for any person older than 18 to sell drug paraphernalia to a minor, even if they are less than three years apart. In these cases, a violation of Section 18.2-265.3 qualifies as a Class 1 misdemeanor. If convicted for this class of misdemeanor, the offender will face the same punishment structure described previously.
Do You Need Legal Help?
If you have legal questions about drug crimes under Virginia law, it can be especially worthwhile to reach out to a steadfast criminal defense lawyer. The Leesburg drug crime lawyers at Simms Showers LLP have proven their mettle in various matters of criminal defense, including numerous types of drug crimes. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free initial consultation.