If you smoke marijuana, you may be one of the millions of Americans who
feel that pot should be legalized. After all, it’s a natural substance
that is now being used for many medical purposes.
As the date of this writing, a total of 20 states have decriminalized small
time marijuana possession offenses. By “decriminalization,”
it means that if someone is caught with a small amount of marijuana for
personal use, there is no arrest, they don’t go to jail, and there’s
no criminal record.
Just some of the 20 states that have decriminalized marijuana thus far
include: California, Colorado, Nevada, North Carolina, Mississippi, Missouri
and Ohio. Unfortunately, however, Virginia is NOT one of the states that
has decriminalized marijuana.
What are the penalties for possession?
Arrested for marijuana
possession in VA? If this is your first offense, you’re facing a Class I misdemeanor
charge, punishable by:
- Up to 30 days in jail, and
- Up to a $500 fine.
For a second or subsequent marijuana possession offense, the penalties
get steeper. If this is your second or subsequent offense, you face:
- Up to 12 months behind bars, and
- A fine not to exceed $2,500.
Under Virginia law, possession of less than half an ounce of marijuana
for personal use is referred to as “simple possession.”
On the other hand, if you decide to
sell between 1/2 an ounce and up to 5 pounds of pot to a friend or anyone else,
you would be accused of selling, a Class 5 felony punishable by up to
10 years in prison and up to a $2,500 fine.
In addition to the above penalties, when someone is convicted of possessing
marijuana in Virginia, their driver’s license can be suspended for
If this is your first
drug-related offense, you may be eligible for “conditional release,” or
diversion sentencing. With conditional release, the defendant is placed
on probation rather than going to trial. Once he or she successfully completes
their probation, the charge does not show up on their criminal record.
Are you facing drug possession charges? Act fast by
Richmond criminal defense attorney at Carlson & Collier. We’re available 24/7 to take your call.