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What are the potential charges for drug possession?

Drug use in Virginia is fairly common. Some use drugs legally with valid prescriptions, but many others use drugs that are either never prescribed by medical professionals or not taken with a valid prescription. When people do that they risk being caught possessing illegal drugs and being charged with crimes.

The severity of the crime will vary though depending on what type of drug people possess at the time. Drugs are classified into different categories called schedules. There are six schedules with Schedule I containing the most dangerous drugs and Schedule VI containing the least dangerous drugs. The potential penalties people face for possession depends on which Schedule the drug is in.

Potential charges for drug possession

Under Virginia law, if people are caught possessing drugs in Schedules I or II, they could be charged with a Class 5 felony.

If they possess drugs in Schedule III, they could be charged with a Class I misdemeanor.

If they possess drugs in Schedule IV, they could be charged with a Class 2 misdemeanor.

Possessing drugs in Schedule V could result in Class 3 misdemeanor charges.

Possessing drugs in Schedule VI could result in Class 4 misdemeanor charges.

While these charges, especially the felony charges for people possessing drugs in Schedule I or II, are serious charges, people may not actually be punished for the alleged crime. Charges do not automatically lead to convictions and people may have defenses they can use to have the charges dismissed or be acquitted.

Drug charges are serious charges and can have long-lasting effects on people’s lives. However, charges are not convictions and everyone is innocent until proven guilty. Before people can be convicted and punished, they need to first go through the criminal justice system to prove their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Experienced attorneys understand these defenses and may be able to guide one through the process.

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