What are the consequences of drug possession in Virginia? 
Photo of Attorneys T. Noel Brooks and Jesse Baez walking outside.
Photo of T. Noel Brooks and Jesse Baez

What are the consequences of drug possession in Virginia? 

On Behalf of | Apr 29, 2024 | Criminal Defense

While some states have easier laws that deal with people convicted for possessing illicit substances, Virginia courts take drug possession very seriously. If someone is caught in possession of illegal drugs, they could face severe punishments, such as fines, incarceration, license suspension and probation. A drug possession charge could also affect a person’s future or current education, child custody rights and employment opportunities. 

It is not always easy to know what kind of punishments a suspect will face if they are convicted of possessing illicit drugs. There are many conditions that courts must consider before determining how a suspect should be punished. Here is how a drug possession punishment is considered in Virginia:  

Considerations in the severity of a drug possession crime

Three important considerations made when charging someone with drug possession are the severity of a substance, the quantity of a substance and if a suspect has any previous criminal conviction.

The severity of drugs is categorized into schedules. Schedules determine whether a drug can be safely used in hospitals or bought over the counter. A drug with a higher schedule has very limited medical uses because it causes severe addiction. Schedule drugs I through IV may lead to incarceration for 6 months with $1,000 in fines to up to 10 years behind bars and fines up to $2,500. Schedule V and VI drugs can lead to up to $500 in fines. 

The quantity of a drug may increase a drug possession conviction. If a suspect has a small amount of drugs, they may face lesser charges, depending on the drug. Higher quantities of substances found could be tied to trafficking or manufacturing. A first offense conviction may lead to probation. However, previous convictions may lead to harsher penalties and charges. 

If you are facing drug possession charges, you can benefit from reaching out for legal help to learn about your defense options.