In the state of Virginia, possession of marijuana is considered a Class I misdemeanor and is punishable by up to 30 days in jail and/or a fine of $500. A second marijuana possession offense is punishable by up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500. Having less than one half ounce of marijuana is called simple possession or possession for personal use.
A first time possession offense usually results in probation instead of jail time, so long as the offender agrees to submit to a series of drug tests during their probation. They will also be required to enter into a drug treatment program as part of their probation. Although you might only get probation, the conviction will still show up on your record. Violating the terms of probation can lead to the full penalty being enforced, including jail time.
Having a large quantity of marijuana on you is not necessarily proof of intent to distribute in Virginia. Distributing over a half-ounce of marijuana, but less than 5 pounds, is a Class 5 felony and is punishable by at least one year in jail, but can’t exceed a 10 year sentence. If it is your first time being charged with selling or delivering marijuana, the judge can use their discretion to sentence you to a term in jail for less than 12 months and a fine that doesn’t exceed $2,500.
Distributing over 5 pounds, but less than 100kg, of marijuana is a felony that is punishable by no less than 5 and no more than 30, years in prison. Distributing more than 100kg can result in an automatic 20 years to life sentence. 20 years is the mandatory minimum sentence in Virginia.
Recently, Virginia’s Senate passed a bill that will let a person who has been charged with first time possession of marijuana pay $150 to have their charge expunged. Under the new expungement bill, a person can defer a finding on a charge and be found not guilty as long as they remain drug free and complete community service.
The fee for expungement is supposed to be used for Virginia State Police to maintain a database of the people who have had their charges expunged, this way prosecutors and courts can stop someone from using this expungement more than once. Collected revenue is also expected to go to educational efforts to prevent opioid abuse.
Have you been arrested for possessing or distributing marijuana? Our attorney Vaughan C. Jones can help you. As a criminal defense lawyer, Mr. Jones understands that a potential drug charge can ruin your reputation and future prospects. He can help you secure the justice you deserve.
Contact our Richmond drug crimes lawyer to schedule your free case evaluation today.