Juvenile Drug Possession Laws In Virginia
Juvenile drug possession laws in Virginia represent a specific legal area for drug-related crimes committed by someone under the age of 18. The potential punishment and penalties are contingent upon the type of drug and its substance classification as well as the amount of drugs an individual is convicted of possessing. If your child is facing drug possession charges, you likely feel overwhelmed, confused, and frustrated. Consider reaching out to an experienced criminal defense attorney at the Law Office of Faraji A. Rosenthall at 703-934-0101 today to learn more about their legal options.
Juvenile Drug Possession Laws in Virginia
Any minor in Virginia is not allowed to purchase, attempt to purchase, possess, or consume drugs or alcohol. A conviction for juvenile possession of a controlled substance can bring large fines, the lowest of which is $500, and a probationary sentence which can include up to 50 hours of community service.
The penalties for a drug possession conviction are based on the type of drug that was found and the amount. A comprehensive list can be found on the Virginia Drug Schedule.
Virginia Schedule 1 or 2 Drugs
Schedule 1 includes methamphetamine, heroin, and LSD. Schedule 2 includes PCP, cocaine, and methadone. Virginia law classifies possession of a schedule 1 or schedule 2 controlled substance as a class 5 felony and can include a fine up to $2,500 and between 2 and 10 years in prison.
Virginia Schedule 3 or 4 Drugs
Schedule 3 or 4 includes anabolic steroids. Virginia law classifies the possession of a schedule 3 controlled substance as a class 1 misdemeanor which can include up to 12 months in juvenile hall and a fine up to $2,500. Virginia law classifies a schedule 4 controlled substance as a Class 2 misdemeanor, the penalties for which can include up to six months in juvenile hall and a fine up to $1,000.
Virginia Schedule 5 or 6 Drugs
Schedule 5 includes cough medicine like codeine. Schedule 6 includes prescription drugs such as diazepam, clonazepam, or alprazolam. Virginia law classifies possession of a schedule 5 or 6 controlled substance as a class 3 or class 4 misdemeanor which can include a fine of up to $500 for a class 5 or up to $250 for a class 6.
Juvenile Defenses to Drug Possession Laws in Virginia
The state of Virginia is required to prove that your juvenile legitimately possessed drugs on their person when they were arrested and that they did so knowingly and intentionally. Any substances collected have to be tested in a laboratory. The integrity of the testing process can be examined and potentially used as a defense.
The manner in which the evidence was obtained and its potential legality can also be examined. Whether your juvenile knowingly and intentionally possessed drugs can also be further scrutinized and used as a potential defense to juvenile drug possession laws in Virginia. If your child was arrested on drug possession in the state of Virginia, consider reaching out to the Law Office of Faraji A. Rosenthall.
Juvenile Marijuana Drug Possession Laws in Virginia
The Code of Virginia, Section § 18.2-250.1 states it is unlawful for any person to knowingly or intentionally possess marijuana unless they have a valid medical condition and prescription.
However, in 2020 marijuana possession was decriminalized and now a juvenile in possession of up to 1 ounce of marijuana is subject to a maximum fine of $25, no arrests, and no mark on their criminal record. Any previous marijuana convictions are also sealed from school administrators and employers.
If the individual in question is found guilty of possession of marijuana while operating a vehicle, the penalties can include a loss of driving privileges and penalties from the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Juvenile Defenses to Marijuana Drug Possession Laws in Virginia
There is a Virginia provision that allows the use of cannabis oil for medicinal treatment. Juveniles must have a written certification from a medical practitioner for the use of cannabis oil to treat a specified medical condition.
First Offender Program for Juvenile Drug Possession Charges
Juveniles facing their first juvenile drug possession charge are eligible for Virginia’s First Offender Program as an alternative to juvenile hall.
The Code of Virginia, Section § 18.2-251 offers the First Offender Program. This program is available for any person who has not been convicted of a criminal drug offense in the past.
Juveniles who accept this program may be placed on probation, required to undergo substance abuse screening, and education programs or community service. The families of the juvenile in question shall be required to pay for all or part of the cost associated with this program which can include potential drug abuse screening, an assessment from the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, as well as any additional testing or treatment as required by the Court.
If a juvenile agrees to this program they must remain drug-free and alcohol-free during probation and submit to random drug tests throughout the course of probation. They must comply with community service requirements. For a misdemeanor, the requirement is up to 24 hours. For a felony, the requirement is up to 100 hours. They must also complete all treatment or education programs required by the supervising probation agency.
Assuming compliance has been met for the duration of the program, the juvenile in question will still have the drug charge on their record, though these records become sealed once they turn 18. Completion of the program circumvents additional penalties such as jail time.
If the terms of the program are violated, the juvenile can be convicted immediately of the drug charge.
Contact an Experienced Defense Attorney To Learn More About Juvenile Rights
If your child is facing juvenile drug possession charges, it is important to understand juvenile drug possession laws in Virginia, the most up-to-date laws pertaining to each drug, and what potential defenses there are. Consider contacting an attorney to learn more about each drug schedule. When you reach out to the Law Office of Faraji A. Rosenthall at www.farlawoffice.com or 703-934-0101, we can provide a consultation to review your child’s situation and prepare your family for the next steps.