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In Virginia, people who are facing drug charges need to understand what they're up against when it comes to potential penalties in the event of a conviction. Depending on whether or not the drugs were for individual use or drug distribution and drug manufacturing will have a great deal to do with how harsh the penalties are. Drug users might have the option of treatment. By contrast, those who are distributing and manufacturing will be confronted with hefty penalties.

It is illegal for people to sell, distribute, possess, give or manufacture a controlled substance or an imitation controlled substance. If a person violates this law with a controlled substance falling into the category of Schedule I or Schedule II, he or she will be subject to imprisonment for a duration of at least five and as many as 40 years. There will also be a fine of up to $500,000.

The amounts that the individual possesses will be important to the penalties. The type of drugs - heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine as well as derivatives from these drugs - will have an impact on the punishments for conviction. With these drugs, a person charged with drug manufacturing, distribution or possession with the intent to distribute will face a felony with the possibility of prison from five years to life. In addition, there will be a fine of up to $1 million.

Given the penalties that come along with drug offenses linked to scheduled drugs, those who have been charged need to protect their own interests. Formulating a strong defense can be achieved with the help of a lawyer with experience in defending those charged with drug manufacturing, intent to distribute and other alleged acts.

Source: leg.state1.va.us, "18.2-248," accessed on Dec. 29, 2014

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