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Can you face drug charges for inhalation of noxious chemicals?

In Virginia, drug charges are generally categorized as being related to known illegal substances, like cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and even marijuana. Other types of drugs that can warrant criminal charges include prescription medications, if they are acquired, sold or used illegally. However, people can also be charged for misuse of substances that are for everyday purposes, but can also lead to drug induced intoxication. Knowing the law for inhaling drugs and noxious chemicals or causing others to inhale them is important when dealing with these allegations.

If a person inhales noxious chemicals, such as nail polish, glue for model airplanes and items that contain various intoxicating substances like ketones, vapors and more so that they can become intoxicated, experience excitement, be stupefied and unable to think clearly, or seek to dull their nervous system or brain, can be arrested and charged. Those charged will face a Class 1 misdemeanor. A conviction will result in a fine of up to $2,500, jail for up to one year or both.

If the person causes others to inhale or smell the drugs and they experience any of the above-listed side effects, it will also lead to drug charges under Virginia law. The difference is that it will result in a Class 2 misdemeanor charge. With a conviction for a Class 2 misdemeanor, there can be a fine of up to $1,000, jail for up to six months or both.

People who inhale these substances might do so under the mistaken belief that since the purchase of the items that contain the intoxicating substances was legal, then they cannot be charged for inhaling them. That is not true. Being arrested on these allegations can result in various penalties that can have a negative impact on a person's life. When dealing with drug charges related to inhaling or causing another person to inhale these noxious chemicals, having a legal defense is important to attempt to avoid a conviction and criminal record. It might be possible to come to a plea agreement or even to be acquitted on drug charges.

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