When someone is charged with possession of a controlled substance, they may find that the penalties they receive are completely different from what someone else received for possession. The reason for this is that the severity of a drug possession charge’s punishment will depend in large part on where the drug is placed in the schedule—a categorization system used to measure how addictive and medically useful a controlled substance is.
Drugs with a high likelihood of abuse and no medical use (like heroin) are ranked highest, while abused but low-dependency substances (like the fumes in paint thinner) are ranked lowest.
Types Of Schedule 4 Controlled Substances
Substances that are categorized as schedule 4 contain addictive properties and are commonly abused, but not as often as drugs in schedule 3 or higher. Valium and Xanax are placed into this category, and though these substances can create dependency, they do not produce the significant physical and psychological changes that the substances in higher schedule ranks may generate.
Schedule 4 Possession Penalties In Virginia
Possession of schedule 4 drugs is a Class 2 misdemeanor that can carry a stringent penalty of jail time or a fine—or both. A prison stay for schedule 4 possession of a controlled substance may range up to six months, while the fine can reach up to $1000.
Virginia First Time Offender Program
Because the state of Virginia would like to offer options to offenders charged with possession of a controlled substance, a first-time possession arrest may be deferred or dismissed under certain circumstances. Eligible participants generally must agree to provide enough evidence to prove guilt, after which they may complete a drug diversion program.
This program includes options such as community service, regular drug testing and substance abuse education, and getting substance abuse treatment. The offender may also be required to have their driver’s license temporarily suspended or restricted, and they may have to submit to random drug and alcohol tests. Successful completion of the program could lead to the case being dismissed.
Criminal Defense For Possession
A charge of schedule 4 drug possession does not necessarily guarantee a prison stay or a hefty fine. A skilled criminal defense lawyer will fight to offer reasonable doubt to the court, who can only bring charges if the possession is provable beyond a reasonable doubt. This doubt may be introduced through evidence that the offender did not know what the substance was, that it was not theirs, or that they had a legally valid reason to possess it (like a prescription).
Reach Out To A Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with possession of a schedule 4 controlled substance, you do not have to accept jail time or a fine; an experienced criminal defense attorney can intervene on your behalf to reduce your penalties or even dismiss your case based on the available evidence. The Law Offices of Kermit A. Monge would be happy to fight for you so that you can move on with your life.