Northern Virginia Drug Crime Lawyer
A drug conviction can mean disastrous consequences for your future. Get the defense you need by working with a Northern Virginia drug crime lawyer.
If you’ve been charged with any sort of drug crime—be it trafficking, possession, manufacturing, or something else—you could be facing some very stiff legal penalties. It can be difficult to know where to turn for help.
However, a drug charge does not have to mean a conviction. Once you’re hit with a drug charge, it’s important to begin building a robust defense. An experienced defense lawyer can help you pursue all possible avenues for your defense and work to get your charge lessened or dropped altogether.
A Northern Virginia drug crime lawyer with Priale & Racine, PLLC can be an invaluable partner who will work for your best interests in this difficult time.
Different Drug Schedules
In order to understand the type of drug crime with which you’ve been charged, it’s first important to understand that there are different punishments relating to the various drugs with which you may have been associated. These “schedules” of drugs are as follows:
- Schedule I – These are drugs determined by the federal government to have no medical use and a high potential for abuse. Examples include heroin, LSD, marijuana, peyote, and ecstasy.
- Schedule II – These are drugs determined to have a high potential for abuse, although not as much as Schedule I substances. These drugs can lead to severe psychological or physical dependence and include cocaine, methamphetamine, OxyContin, Adderall, and Ritalin.
- Schedule III – These drugs have moderate to low potential to lead to physical or psychological dependence. Examples include testosterone, anabolic steroids, Vicodin, and Tylenol with codeine.
- Schedule IV – These drugs have a low potential for abuse and psychological or physical dependence. Examples include Xanax, Ambien, and Valium.
- Schedule V – These drugs have the lowest potential for abuse and contain limited amounts of certain narcotics. They are primarily used for their antidiarrheal, analgesic, and antitussive properties and include Robitussin AC, Lyrica, and Parepectolin.
Drug Crimes and Their Punishments
The controlled substance with which your drug charge is associated will determine the severity of the penalties you may be facing. Your Northern Virginia drug crime lawyer will be able to help you determine what penalty the prosecution is likely to pursue:
- Possession of a schedule I or II substance is considered a class 5 felony, punishable by either one to ten years in prison or—at a jury’s discretion—up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.
- Possession of a schedule III substance obtained without a prescription is a class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and up to a $2,500 fine.
- Possession of a schedule IV substance obtained without a prescription is a class 2 misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
- Possession of a schedule V substance without a prescription is a class 3 misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $500.
- Trafficking and Distribution – A “drug possession with intent to distribute” (PWID) charge can leave you facing serious prison time:
- A trafficking charge with a schedule I or II substance can result in five to ten years in prison, and up to $500,000 in fines.
- A trafficking charge with a schedule III substance can result in one to ten years in prison.
- A schedule IV substance trafficking charge can result in five years in prison.
- Marijuana Charges – There are specific laws regulating marijuana:
- A marijuana possession charge with less than half an ounce is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to twelve months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.
- A PWID charge with between half an ounce and five pounds is a felony, punishable by up to ten years in prison.
- A PWID charge with five or more pounds is punishable by up to thirty years in prison.
- Manufacturing or possession with intent to manufacture a schedule I or II substance could result in five to forty years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000.
- Manufacturing a schedule III or IV drug is considered a class 5 and class 6 felony respectively, each punishable by up to one year in prison.
- Paraphernalia – It is unlawful for a person to possess “controlled paraphernalia,” meaning a conduit by which the person may intake or manufacture a controlled substance. Examples of paraphernalia include hypodermic needles or syringes, gelatin capsules, glassine envelopes, or any other packaging signifying the intent to use, distribute, or manufacture illegal controlled substances. Possession of drug paraphernalia is a class 1 misdemeanor.
Building a Strong Defense
A drug charge is a serious thing to face, although the situation is not hopeless. A Northern Virginia drug crime lawyer from our firm will have experience dealing with all types of drug charges. Your attorney will work to get your charges lessened or dropped completely.
Prosecutors are often hesitant to file a drug trafficking charge unless there is direct evidence of a “hand-to-hand” exchange, or unless significant enough quantities of the drug are found that could imply intent to distribute. We may file a motion to suppress evidence; in such a case, charges are often dropped.
Similarly, you may be charged with drug possession if the only available evidence is residue on your person. You could also be charged with “constructive possession,” the legal possession of an object even if that object is not in your control, by being in close proximity to someone possessing a controlled substance, or if a vehicle in which you are riding is found to have drugs inside it.
If you were charged with possession because an illegal substance was found in your vehicle, you may feel as if you must plead guilty. However, your Northern Virginia drug crime lawyer may be able to constitutionally challenge the stop and search that produced the drugs if it was found to be in violation of the Fourth Amendment. In such a case, the charges would be dropped.
Contact a Northern Virginia Drug Charge Lawyer
If you’ve been charged with a drug crime, don’t wait. Contact a Northern Virginia drug crime lawyer with Priale & Racine, PLLC and start building your defense today. Call 703-272-3922 or use the online contact form to arrange your free and confidential consultation.