Drug charges are some of the most serious, especially if the accusations against you involve large amounts of drugs or distribution of the drugs. Drug charges and convictions also often carry negative social stigma. At Top Tier Law Group, we firmly believe in the humanity of our clients. Our attorney is a down-to-earth advocate and former public defender who personally understands the turmoil of a criminal charge – and the desire to leave your past behind you. Our firm brings quality legal experience without the stereotypical pomp of a stiff lawyer. We will not judge you based on your charges, and we will facilitate a laid-back environment in the office so you can speak comfortably with our attorney as you work together to build your defense.
Whether you have been accused of distributing drugs or possessing marijuana, we can defend you. Schedule a free consultation with Top Tier Law Group online or at (757) 500-0035.
We believe that each case is a unique situation and needs a unique approach. We work with our clients to come up with a tailored solution that will suit them best.
Attorney Matthew Morris has served as a public defender and handled hundreds of criminal cases including assault, larceny, rapes & robberies.
Top 10% of our class, and we have been regarded by judges as one of the most talented litigators in the Hampton Roads Area!
A talent and a passion for defending the rights granted to every citizen by the United States Constitution.
Under Virginia Code § 18.2-248, it is unlawful for anyone to manufacture, sell, distribute, or possess with the intent to do so with any controlled substances. Distribution of drugs, or possession with intent to distribute, has much harsher penalties than simple possession. The specific sentence will depend on the type of drug and the amount in possession for the purposes of distribution:
- Schedule I and II – 5-40 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000 for a first offense; 5 years to life in prison and a fine of up to $500,000 for a second offense
- Methamphetamine – 5-40 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000 for a first offense; 10 years to life in prison and a fine of up to $500,000 for a second offense; 10 years to life with a mandatory 3 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000 for a third offense
- Schedule III – Class 5 felony punishable by 1-10 years in prison or up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500
- Schedule IV – Class 6 felony punishable by 1-5 years in prison or up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500
- Schedule V – Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500
- Large volume dealers – minimum sentence of 20 years in prison to life and a fine of up to $1 million
Naturally, the penalties can increase if the circumstances are more severe. For example, transporting controlled substances is a separate felony offense with different penalties for different amounts. In particular, transporting a controlled substance with the intent to sell or distribute at least 1 ounce of cocaine, a Schedule I or II substance, or 5 or more pounds of marijuana into Virginia will result in 5-40 years in prison and up to $1 million in fines.
He treats you as family and will go above and beyond for you to make sure you get the best outcome in each situation.
Like many states, Virginia has separate statutes addressing marijuana-related activity. Possession of marijuana will be penalized according to the following amounts:
- Less than 0.5 ounces (first offense) – misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $500
- Less than 0.5 ounces (second offense) – Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500
- More than 0.5 ounces – Class 5 felony punishable by 2-10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $2,500
Distribution of marijuana is also punished based on the amount:
- 1 ounce to 5 pounds – Class 5 felony punishable by 1-10 years in jail
- 5 pounds to 100kg – felony punishable by 5-30 years in prison
- More than 100kg – punishable by 20 years to life in prison, with 20 years being the mandatory minimum sentence.
Note that the penalties will increase for those with multiple convictions for distribution. The penalties may also increase if the defendant distributed or sold marijuana to a minor under 18 years old or within a drug-free zone, such as a school or school bus stop.
More severe situations will also result in further penalties, as in the case of distribution of other controlled substances. For example, transporting 5 pounds or more of marijuana into Virginia with the intent to distribute it is a felony punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years and a maximum sentence of 40 years, as well as a maximum fine of $1 million. A second or subsequent conviction raises the mandatory minimum sentence to 10 years.
If you are facing drug charges, whether for possession of marijuana or distribution of a controlled substance, contact Top Tier Law Group immediately for legal representation. Let us combat your accusations and strategize a favorable deal for mitigated charges, if possible.
Call us at (757) 500-0035 or contact us online for a free consultation to get started.
Controlled Substances Schedule
Virginia classifies illegal substances into six different schedules based on their level of dangerousness and potential for addiction, where Schedule I is the most dangerous and addictive category with no medical treatment use. Some examples of drugs in their respective schedules are:
- Schedule I – heroin, LSD, ecstasy
- Schedule II – methamphetamine, cocaine, PCP, morphine
- Schedule III – steroids, ketamine, Vicodin
- Schedule IV – Valium, Xana
- Schedule V – codeine
- Schedule VI – marijuana
Penalties for Possession
The penalties for possession will depend primarily on the schedule of the drug in question and the defendant’s criminal history:
- Schedule I, II – Class 5 felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and up to $2,500 in fines
- Schedule III – Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by 12 months in jail and up to $2,500 in fines
- Schedule IV – Class 2 misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in jail and up to $1,000 in fines
- Schedule V – Class 3 misdemeanor punishable by $500 in fines
- Schedule VI – Class 4 misdemeanor punishable by $250 in fines
Marijuana possession and use are punished differently and much less severely (below).
Note that Virginia enacts a drug treatment court program that provides treatment options instead of incarceration if the defendant qualifies for a probationary sentence.