Marijuana Charges – What That Could Mean in Virginia

by philbalbo on June 11, 2012

Written by Phil Balbo, paralegal for Price Benowitz LLP. For more information about Virginia laws regarding the possession of Marijuana, please visit NORML. We also have attorneys in DC and Maryland ready to hear your case, so please visit our DC drug lawyer and Maryland drug lawyer sites for more information on those offices.

When it comes to marijuana charges, not all are created equal. The possession of marijuana is a criminal act, with those convicted subject to jail time and fines.  The severity of penalties, however, depends on whether one has been charged with possession with intent to distribute or simple possession for personal use.  Those in possession of marijuana for personal use, often called ‘simple possession,’ will be charged with a misdemeanor, whereas those with a quantity of marijuana intended for distribution will be charged with a felony and face much stiffer punishment.

Whether an individual is charged with the misdemeanor or felony possession is dependent upon the specific circumstances of a particular case. An experienced attorney evaluating such charges will want to understand the quantity of marijuana found, the packaging of such, and speak to any witnesses relevant to the case.

Virginia Marijuana Charges—Quantity for Misdemeanor and Felony

  • Simple Possession/Criminal Misdemeanor Charge: Less than or equal to .5 oz.
  • Possession with Intent to Distribute/Felony Charge: Greater than .5 oz. in their possession

Fairfax Marijuana Charge Penalties

  • Criminal Misdemeanor: Up to 30 days in jail, and fine of $500 for first-time offenders
  • Felony: Up to 10 years in prison if no more than 5 lbs.; up to 30 years in prison if greater than 5 lbs.

Virginia Marijuana Laws

The Virginia Code speaks to both simple possession of marijuana and possession with the intent to sell and distribute the drug. As is the case with federal guidelines, marijuana is considered a “Schedule I” drug in Virginia, but has its own sentencing rubric different from other Schedule I drugs.

§ 18.2-248.1. Penalties for sale, gift, distribution or possession with intent to sell, give or distribute marijuana.

Except as authorized in the Drug Control Act, Chapter 34 of Title 54.1, it shall be unlawful for any person to sell, give, distribute or possess with intent to sell, give or distribute marijuana.

(a) Any person who violates this section with respect to:

(1) Not more than one-half ounce of marijuana is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor;

(2) More than one-half ounce but not more than five pounds of marijuana is guilty of a Class 5 felony;

(3) More than five pounds of marijuana is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment of not less than five nor more than 30 years.

Fairfax Marijuana Charges Lawyer

If you have been charged with possession of marijuana, whether with intent to distribute or simple possession, you need an experienced Fairfax marijuana charges lawyer to help you navigate the legal road ahead. With fines, jail time, and possible driver’s license suspension if convicted, it is imperative that you begin planning your defense as soon possible. It may be possible to have your charges dismissed, reduced, and/or penalties mitigated. To this end, all relevant evidence will be evaluated, including the manner and means by which the drug was discovered in your possession. For more information and a free initial consultation, please contact Price Benowitz, LLP online or by phone.

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