Chad G. Dorsk
Virginia PWID Lawyer & Distribution Charges
Have you or someone you know been charged with possession with intent to distribute (PWID) drugs? If you answered YES to that question, then pursuant to Virginia Code Section 18.2-248 YOU or someone you know may be facing substantial penalties if convicted.
Anyone who is alleged to have violated Virginia drug laws is advised to retain a Virginia PWID or possession with intent to distribute lawyer as soon as possible.
Virginia Drug Classifications
Illegal Narcotics and other controlled substances are separated into five categories in Virginia. The “schedules” are based on their “redeeming medicinal value” and potential for abuse. The following are the Virginia schedules, and the common substances associated with them. Schedule I and II drugs are deemed to pose the greatest danger to the public and thus provide the greatest penalties for distribution.
Schedule I – heroin, ecstasy (MDMA), LSD, GHB, marijuana (but marijuana has separate penalties)
Schedule II – methamphetamine (crystal meth), morphine, PCP, cocaine, methadone, Ritalin
Schedule III – anabolic steroids, codeine and hydrocodone, ketamine, some barbiturates and depressants
Schedule IV – darvon, valium, rohypnol, xanax, other tranquilizers
Schedule V – codeine-based cough medicines and many other-the-counter medications
Drug Distribution Charges and Penalties
Schedule I and II Controlled Substances [Section 18.2-248(C)]
First offense: – Five to 40 years in prison and a fine up to $500,000
Second offense: –Five years to life in prison and a fine of up to $500,000, three years of which is a mandatory minimum
Third offense: – 10 years to life in prison and a fine of up to $500,000, ten years of which is a mandatory minimum
Methamphetamine has its own sentence schedule [Section 18.2-248(C1)] as the Legislature has made specific in roads to fight the epidemic of meth manufacturing.
First offense: 10 to 40 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000
Second offense: 10 years to life in prison and a fine of up to $500,000
Third offense: 10 years to life in prison with an enhanced penalty of a mandatory minimum three years in prison
Those accused may also have to pay thousands more to the Virginia Methamphetamine Cleanup Fund.
Schedule III Controlled Substances [Section 18.2-248(E1)]
Schedule III substances are punished as class 5 felonies, meaning one to ten years in prison or up to 12 months in jail or a fine of up to $2,500.
Schedule IV Controlled Substances [Section 18.2-248(E2)]
Schedule IV substances are punished as class 6 felonies, meaning one to five years in prison or up to 12 months in jail or a fine of up to $2,500.
Schedule V/VI Controlled Substances [Section 18.2-248(F)]
All offenses are class 1 misdemeanors, which carry a potential sentence of up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500.
Marijuana [Section 18.2-248.1]
Penalties for PWID marijuana depend on the weight of the drug seized and the Defendant’s prior criminal history.
For amounts under one-half (1/2) ounce, the penalty is a class 1 misdemeanor.
For 1st or 2nd offenses over one-half (1/2) ounce but less than five (5) pounds, the penalty is increased to a class 5 felony. Class 5 felony offenses carry a potential for one to ten years in prison, or in the alternative, up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500.
For a 3rd or subsequent felony offense under this section, the penalty is enhanced and could include up to life in prison and a five-year mandatory minimum term of incarceration.
If the alleged weight if greater than 5 pounds, even for a first offense, the accused faces a serious unclassified felony that could carry five (5) to thirty (30) years in prison [Section 18.2-248.1(a)(3)].
Distribution to minors: Anyone over 18 years old who intentionally sells or gives controlled substances to a minor at least three years younger than the suspect, or enlists a minor to assist the suspect in distributing controlled substances, can be sentenced to 10 to 50 years in prison and ordered to pay a fine of up to $100,000. If the drugs are a schedule I or II controlled substance, or over an ounce of marijuana, they must serve a minimum of five years of that prison sentence.[Section 18.2-255(A)]. If the drugs are less than one ounce of marijuana, the required mandatory minimum is two years.
Distribution of Imitation Controlled Substance to Minors: Distribution of imitation substances to minors is also a Class 6 felony, with punishment of one to five years in prison or, at the discretion of the court, up to 12 months in jail. The penalty can also include a fine of up to $2,500 [Section 18.2-255(B)].
Drug Distribution and Criminal Enterprise Charges
Selected suspects can be charged with engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise of distributing any controlled substance if:
The offense is a part of a continuing series of any distribution violations that involve at least five other people, where the suspect is alleged to be the organizer supervisor or manager of the other “conspirators to distribute” controlled substances, or receives the largest percentage of the profits from the distribution enterprise; or
The offense involved methamphetamine or a Schedule I or II controlled substance where the suspect fulfills any of the duties (or receives monetary benefits) outlined immediately above [Sections 18.2-248(H)(1) and 18.2-248(H)(2)].
Drug Distribution Penalties
Large-volume dealers of any controlled substance can face from 20 years to life in prison and fines as high as one million dollars [Section 18.2-248(H)].
Transporting controlled substances into Virginia with intent to distribute is punishable by five to 40 years in prison and a fine of up to one million dollars [Section 18.2-248.01]. The act of transporting into the Commonwealth may be punished as a separate and distinct felony from other violations. There are also potential mandatory minimum periods of incarceration for transporting into Virginia. Additionally, high-volume drug distribution suspects can be charged in federal court [United States Code, Chapter 13, Part D].
Virginia PWID Lawyer & Dorsk Law Office, Plc.
If you face State or federal drug distribution charges, you should contact a Virginia possession with intent to distribute lawyer immediately as you are likely facing serious criminal charges that require experienced, and dedicated representation. Dorsk Law Office, Plc. located in Virginia, will be able to assist you in obtaining the best possible outcome given your own set of facts, scenarios and challenges.
Dorsk Law Office, Plc. has extensive experience in trying both local and federal PWID charges in Hampton Roads, Virginia. Trust an attorney like Chad G. Dorsk Esq., who has tried both State and Federal PWID juries and bench trials with successful outcomes.