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What are the penalties for transporting drugs into Virginia?

Virginia laws are tough on people who are convicted on drug charges. The severity of penalties these individuals can face in the event of a conviction depend on the allegations, but they are all quite serious. For example, a person who is arrested and charged with possession of marijuana will be less likely to face harsh penalties than a person who is accused of being involved in trafficking or distribution of controlled substances. When there is an allegation that a person has transported controlled substances into the Commonwealth, it is important to understand the possible consequences because they can be enormously problematic for an individual in the long-term.

If a person has transported at least one ounce of cocaine, coca leaves, or a derivative, compound, salt, or preparation of these items that have been described in the Drug Control Act under Schedule II, then a criminal offense separate from any other drug crime has occurred if the transportation occurred with the intent to sell or distribute those items. If an individual has transported one ounce of a Schedule I or II controlled substance or at least five pounds of marijuana and has done so with the intent to sell or distribute, then a legal violation has occurred that can lead to an arrest. Again, violating the law in this way will constitute a separate and distinct felony from any other drug charges, which may include federal drug charges.

A person who is convicted of these charges will face a minimum of five years in prison with a maximum sentence of up to 40 years. Three years of this sentence will be the mandatory minimum. There can also be a fine of up to $1 million. Upon a subsequent conviction the minimum sentence is 10 years. This penalty will be served on a consecutive basis with a sentence for another violation.

Drug crimes can vary in scope, and people who are facing such charges need to be aware of the different penalties that can be assessed for these criminal acts. For those who are accused of transporting the above-listed items into the Commonwealth, the penalties are exceedingly severe. Perhaps the person was caught up in a situation he or she did not understand. They might not have been aware of what they were carrying. Or the allegations could be false. No matter the situation, a legal defense is vital to combat these kinds of charges. A law firm that helps those who have been arrested on drug charges may be able to assist in developing a strong criminal defense.

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