Virginia’s penalties for drug possession and related crimes are among the most severe in the nation. The possible legal consequences vary depending on the substance, quantity and other factors.

If you face a court date for this type of charge, prepare yourself with knowledge about the penalties for a conviction in Virginia.

Controlled substance schedule

As in most states, Virginia categorizes substances based on their potential for abuse and accepted medical use. Schedule I and II substances are the most hazardous and include methamphetamine and other amphetamines, LSD and other hallucinogens, cocaine, and heroin. Opioids and codeine fall into Schedule III, while Schedule IV includes tranquilizers and sedatives such as Xanax and Valium. Cough medicine containing codeine is a Schedule V substance.

Penalties by drug schedule

Possession of a substance categorized in Schedule I or II is a Class 5 felony under Virginia law. This carries a fine of up to $2,500 and/or two to 10 years in prison. Schedule III possession is a Class 1 misdemeanor, resulting in a fine of up to $2,500 and up to 12 months in jail. Schedule IV possession is a Class 2 misdemeanor, resulting in a fine of up to $1,000 and up to 6 months in jail for a conviction. Schedule V possession carries a fine of up to $500 as a Class 3 misdemeanor.

Drug court program

Drug treatment courts are available for first-time offenders in Virginia as long as the individual has never received a conviction of a violent crime. Under this program, the person may plead guilty to drug possession and receive probation. He or she must have regular drug testing and enroll in a substance abuse treatment program.

If you qualify for the drug court program, you will receive supervision in the process of recovering from addiction. Medical support is available when you seek assistance even during an initial early relapse. This Virginia court strives to help those struggling with substance abuse.