It is not altogether uncommon for a judge to reach for maximum allowable sentencing options when penalizing someone convicted of a drug crime conviction in Virginia. The state is notorious for attempting to crack down on drug use, distribution, and sale, and overzealous prosecutions and sentencing is part of its routine. Penalties only escalate when the alleged drug crimes involve minors, such as selling drugs to a minor.
Predicting exactly how much greater a drug crime’s penalties will be if a minor is involved is difficult, as it is sometimes up to a judge’s discretion. In many cases, the crime will escalate at least one category level. For example, if a drug distribution crime would have been considered a Class 3 misdemeanor under normal circumstances, it could become a Class 2 misdemeanor if the illicit substances were given to a youth. The penalties upon conviction will be escalated to reflect this Class increase, typically resulting in higher fines and longer jail time. Of course, certain drugs will also bring about steeper penalties based on its Schedule.
Penalties for drug crimes often include:
- Hefty fines, ranging well into the thousands
- Lengthy jail sentences, often including at least one year
- Mandatory rehabilitation courses or therapy
- Hours of community service
- Probation if jail sentence is avoided or shortened
Proximity to Minors is Problematic
Some people are accused of and charged with drug crimes involving minors without ever having any direct interaction with a minor. This strange situation occurs when someone has allegedly distributed or possessed drugs while near a school zone. Depending on the alleged crime, a school zone could trigger an escalated charge involving minors if the persons were standing within 500 to 1,000 feet of a school.
No matter the details behind a drug crimes involving minors crime, it can always be contested. How you contest it, however, will be up to you. Rather than trying to take on the system by yourself and protect your good name, you should team up with a Virginia Beach criminal defense attorney from The Law Offices of Daniel J Miller. We have more than 15 years of total legal experience to put to good use when crafting your defense. Our ultimate goal is the dismissal or reduction of your charges, or a not guilty verdict.