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What is the Difference Between Regular, Counterfeit, & Imitation Controlled Substances in Virginia?


Under the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia, it is a drug crime to possess or distribute illegal drugs, which are officially referred to as controlled substances. Any person who violates these requirements can face misdemeanor or felony charges. If convicted on these charges, there is a real possibility of jail confinement and criminal fines.

To gain a deeper appreciation of this legal issue, the following sections will explore the Virginia definitions of controlled substances, counterfeit controlled substances, and imitation controlled substances.

What is a Controlled Substance?

Code of Virginia Section 18.2-247 establishes the state-specific definition of a controlled substance. Essentially, Virginia classifies certain dangerous substances — including illegal drugs like heroin, LSD, or cocaine — into various schedules, or categories. Classification in these controlled substance schedules occurs based on various factors, such as addictiveness or potential medical use.

There are six schedules under Virginia law:

  • As detailed in Code of Virginia Section 54.1-3446, Schedule I features controlled substances like heroin, LSD, and similarly addictive or dangerous substances;
  • As explained in Code of Virginia Section 54.1-3448, Schedule II features controlled substances like methamphetamine, PCP, cocaine, and similarly addictive or potentially dangerous substances;
  • As described in Code of Virginia Section 54.1-3450, Schedule III features controlled substances like anabolic steroids, codeine, and other substances with similar properties;
  • As illustrated in Code of Virginia Section 54.1-3452, Schedule IV features controlled substances that are mostly pharmaceutical sedatives, such as Xanax or Valium;
  • As documented in Code of Virginia Section 54.1-3454, Schedule V features controlled substances that are mostly over-the-counter medications, such as cough medicine; and
  • As noted in Code of Virginia Section 54.1-3455, Schedule VI features controlled substances that are sometimes dangerous when abused but are not restricted otherwise.

What is a Counterfeit Controlled Substance?

Section 18.2-247 also provides the state-specific definition of a counterfeit controlled substance. Under this section, a counterfeit controlled substance is designed to mimic a genuine controlled substance. In certain cases, counterfeit controlled substances offer similar effects to their genuine counterparts. In other cases, counterfeit controlled substances bear false trademarks or similar markings, intending to deceive the ultimate consumer.

What is an Imitation Controlled Substance?

Section 18.2-247 also outlines the state-specific definition of an imitation controlled substance. Under this section, an imitation controlled substance includes counterfeit controlled substances and other medications that:

  • Seem to be a genuine controlled substance, in terms of appearance, markings, or other characteristics; or
  • Claim to have the same pharmaceutical effects as a genuine controlled substance, whether implicitly or explicitly.

Do You Need Legal Help?

If you have legal questions about drug crimes or other criminal offenses under Virginia law, it can be extremely helpful to reach out to an esteemed Leesburg drug crime lawyer. The results-driven lawyers at Simms Showers LLP feature more than 140 years of combined legal experience in various aspects of state and federal law, including Virginia charges for many types of drug crimes. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free initial consultation.


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Contact the Leesburg, Winchester & Loudoun County Attorneys of Simms Showers LLP today

Simms Showers LLP is conveniently located two blocks from the Loudoun County Courthouse. Our criminal defense firm offers a free phone consultation for criminal or personal injury cases. Se habla español. Call Simms Showers LLP for quality legal counsel today at 703-997-7821 or contact us online.

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