If caught with drugs in Virginia, you may be charged with possession with intent to distribute. This is a serious charge that can result in significant penalties.
It is important to understand what this charge means and what consequences you could face if convicted.
It often comes down to how much you have in your possession
There are three primary types of drug crimes in Virginia: possession, distribution, and manufacturing. Possession is defined as having a controlled substance on one’s own body or in one’s personal belongings. Distribution is the sale, transport, or exchange of controlled substances. Manufacturing is the creation of controlled substances through chemical processes or the cultivation of plants. Each of these offenses can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the amount of drugs involved and the offender’s criminal history.
What signals an intent to distribute? Often, it comes down to how much of the drugs you have in your possession and what other things are found on you. Generally speaking, if the prosecutor thinks that the drugs you had were too much for one person’s use or you were found with items that would make distribution easier (like small plastic baggies), that will lead to charges of possession with intent to distribute.
Virginia courts consider possession with intent to distribute a serious offense with significant penalties. For example, the sale or distribution of a Schedule II or Schedule III is a felony that can carry a prison sentence of 5 to 40 years and a fine of $500,000 for a first offense. A second conviction may mean life imprisonment. Those convicted may find it difficult to obtain employment, housing, and financial assistance.
If you are arrested and charged with possession with intent to distribute, it is essential to remember that you have certain rights. You will want someone who can advocate for you and protect those rights. A conviction may have severe consequences, and they can help by investigating the facts of your case, challenging the evidence against you, and negotiating with the prosecutor for a reduced sentence.