Drug Crime Attorney in Virginia

Virginia’s drug laws are complex. The severity of the crime and potential consequences of a conviction depend on the type of drug and quantity involved.

If you are convicted of a drug offense, it may carry major penalties in addition to the long-term consequences of having a criminal record.

If you have been arrested, you need an experienced Virginia drug crime lawyer on your side. Attorney Samantha Upton will help you understand what you are facing and your options. She will work tirelessly to protect your rights and your freedom, fighting for the best possible outcome in your case.

Contact Upton Law, PLLC today for a free, no-obligation case review with Virginia drug crime attorney Samantha Upton. Samantha will give you an honest, straightforward assessment of your case and explain your options for pursuing a favorable outcome.

Why You Need a Virginia Drug Crime Lawyer

The criminal justice system in Virginia can move quickly. When you are arrested for and charged with a drug crime, you need a drug crime attorney who can:

  • Review the details of your case to explore potential factual and legal defenses to your charge
  • Help you understand the possible and likely outcomes of your case and the potential consequences you may face in the event of a conviction
  • Challenge the evidence against you and pursue all available options for getting your charge reduced or dismissed
  • Assist you with exploring alternative dispositions for your charge
  • Advocate on your behalf in court and at trial

Types of Drug Crime Cases

Examples of drug crimes under Virginia law include:

  • Drug possession, including simple possession of drugs intended for personal consumption
  • Drug distribution, including selling and trafficking of drugs
  • Possession with intent to distribute, including possession of large quantities of drugs or possession of drugs packaged for individual sale, or possession of drugs in conjunction with packaging and distribution equipment (such as baggies and scales)
  • Conspiracy to distribute narcotics or working with others to transport and sell drugs

Types of Drugs

Controlled substances that are frequently involved in drug crime cases in Virginia include:

  • Marijuana
  • Heroin
  • LSD
  • Ecstasy
  • Cocaine
  • Methamphetamine
  • PCP
  • Prescription drugs, including Oxycodone, Xanax, Vicodin, and Valium
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Felony vs. Misdemeanor Drug Crimes

Whether a drug crime is charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depends on what type of drug is involved and whether the drug is for personal use or for trafficking or sale.

Simple possession of Schedule I or Schedule II drugs, which include drugs with a high risk of addiction and few or no accepted medical uses, is charged as a Class 5 felony. Possession of other types of drugs is charged as a misdemeanor. These misdemeanors range from a Class 1 misdemeanor for possession of a Schedule III controlled substance to a Class 4 misdemeanor for possession of a Schedule VI drug.

Distribution of drugs or possession with intent to distribute is normally charged as a felony when the crime includes Schedule I or Schedule II drugs or large quantities of marijuana. Otherwise, distribution of other schedules of controlled substances is normally charged as a misdemeanor.

Common Defenses to Drug Charges

If you are charged with a drug crime in Richmond or elsewhere in Virginia, you may have certain factual and legal defenses available to you, such as:

  • Challenging the legality of law enforcement’s search and seizure of the drugs, including challenging the lawfulness of a traffic stop or arguing that police searched your person, vehicle, or home without a warrant when one should have been obtained
  • Pointing out a lack of proper laboratory testing that would have confirmed that a substance was a controlled substance
  • Contesting the quantity of drugs found, which may help reduce the severity of the charge
  • Challenging whether drugs were intended for distribution or sale, which can help reduce a charge to a less severe simple possession charge
  • Proving that you had a valid prescription for prescription drugs in your possession
  • Challenging whether you had constructive possession of drugs found in your vehicle or your home, including by showing that you had no knowledge of the drugs or the ability to exercise control over them

Penalties for Drug Crime Convictions

The possible penalties for a drug crime conviction depend on the severity of the offense. Penalties can include:

  • Possession of Schedule I or II drugs – Confinement in jail for up to 12 months or a prison sentence of one to 10 years, and a potential fine of up to $2,500.
  • Possession of Schedule III drugs – Possible jail term of up to 12 months and a potential fine of up to $2,500.
  • Possession of Schedule IV drugs – Potential jail term of up to six months, and possible fine of up to $1,000.
  • Possession of Schedule V drugs – Fine of up to $500.
  • Possession of Schedule VI drugs – Fine of up to $250.
  • Possession of Schedule I or II controlled substances with intent to distribute – Imprisonment for five to 40 years and a possible fine of up to $500,000. A second or subsequent conviction can carry a minimum five-year prison sentence and open up the possibility of a life sentence.
  • Possession of Schedule III through V controlled substances with intent to distribute – Potential jail term of up to one year, and a possible fine of up to $2,500.
  • Possession of over one-half ounce to five pounds of marijuana with intent to distribute – Prison sentence of one to 10 years, or a jail term of up to 12 months, along with a possible fine of up to $2,500.
  • Possession of less than one-half ounce of marijuana with intent to distribute – Possible jail sentence of up to one year, and a potential fine of up to $2,500.

In addition to fines and a jail or prison sentence, a drug crime conviction can have other long-lasting consequences on your life. This includes rendering you ineligible for certain government benefits or programs or making it difficult to secure employment, housing, or educational opportunities due to a criminal record.

Talk to a Virginia Drug Crime Attorney Today

If you have been charged with a drug-related offense in Virginia, you may be facing serious consequences in the event of a conviction. Don’t leave your freedom and future to chance. Contact Upton Law, PLLC today for a free and confidential consultation. You can speak with experienced Virginia drug crime attorney Samantha Upton about your rights and a strategic defense against the charges you face.

When you work with Upton Law, PLLC, you will also get the financial certainty of being quoted a flat fee at the outset. You won’t have to worry about running up charges every time you talk to your attorney or if your case requires more legal work than initially expected. Get started today.

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