Charges vary according to the type (schedule) of substance
Penalties for drug use, possession, manufacturing and distribution vary depending on their controlled substance classification. The Virginia Drug Control Act places controlled substances into categories called schedules. These classifications are similar to the categories in the federal Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970.
Alcohol and tobacco are not included in the schedules and definitions of controlled substances and different laws govern alcohol and tobacco use, manufacturing and distribution.
Schedules of controlled substances according to Virginia’s Drug Control Act
Controlled substances are classified into Schedules I – VI:
- Schedule I controlled substances include Ecstasy (MDMA), heroin and LSD. These drugs have a high potential for abuse and no currently accepted medical use. Marijuana and synthetic marijuana are also considered Schedule I, but penalties are separate and not as severe.
- Schedule II controlled substances include PCP, cocaine, morphine, Ritalin, Adderall, methadone, methamphetamine (crystal meth) and other stimulants. These drugs have a high potential for abuse and addiction, but have a currently accepted medical use
- Schedule III controlled substances include anabolic steroids, hydrocodone (Vicodin, Lorcet, Lortab, etc.) Special K (Ketamine) and codeine. These drugs have less potential for abuse than Schedule II drugs, a potential for moderate dependency and an accepted medical use
- Schedule IV controlled substances include Ambien, Rohypnol, Valium, Xanax and other tranquilizers and sedatives. These drugs have less potential for abuse than Schedule III drugs, a limited potential for dependency, and are currently accepted in medical treatment
- Schedule V controlled substances include drugs like cough medicines with codeine and Lyrica. These drugs have a low potential for abuse, limited risk for dependency and currently accepted medical uses
- Schedule VI controlled substances include toluene (found in spray paint) and similar inhalants such as amyl nitrite (poppers), and butyl nitrite. These substances are not drugs in the conventional sense, but are nonetheless used, or abused, recreationally. Many state and local governments enforce age limits on the sale of products containing these substances.
More information about the classifications and penalties for possession, use, manufacture and distribution of controlled substances can be found on the Virginia Attorney General’s website. Depending on the drug’s schedule, a violation of Virginia controlled substance laws may be a misdemeanor or a felony that carries a range of penalties.
If you have questions about penalties for possession, use, manufacture, sales or distribution of a controlled substance, you should contact an experienced drug-offense defense attorney.
In Virginia, marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance
Recently, many states (including Virginia) have reduced the penalties for possession of marijuana. Unlike other Schedule I controlled substances, possession of marijuana (or synthetic marijuana) is usually considered a misdemeanor. Currently, although possession of less than a half ounce of marijuana for personal use may result in 30 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $500 for a first offense, it is VERY RARE that anyone charged with marijuana possession will go to jail in Northern Virginia. Possession with intent to sell or distribute has much more severe fines and consequences, including the possibility of a felony record and, yes, a jail sentence. If you are charged with a marijuana-related offense, a lawyer familiar with Virginia marijuana laws can help you find the right legal strategy.
Contact the Fairfax NoVa Law Firm today for a free consultation
Whether it’s a misdemeanor or a felony, if you are charged with a drug-related offense, it’s best to contact attorney Eric Clingan at The NoVa Law Firm immediately. We help protect your rights and get charges dismissed or reduced. Schedule a free consultation today. Call (703) 352-9347 or contact us online.