The Potential Consequences of Heroin Use
The drug that seems to be a constant part of the recent news cycle is heroin. Stories are being written about its prevalence in our country and the tactics that some police departments are using to combat it. For instance, one police department in Ohio released pictures of people who were in the midst of a heroin high as a way to bring a visual element to the conversation. We have also heard stories about rashes of heroin overdoses breaking out in various parts of the country and what emergency personnel have done to save them.
Heroin has also been brought up as an issue in the current presidential campaign. Donald Trump has cited it as coming up from the southern border en masse as part of the “illegal immigration problem”.
There are a number of articles you can read on heroin from all of those angles, but the purpose of this post is to discuss the legal ramifications. This is the first of what will be a number of columns discussing how our legal system views drugs and drug use and what that might mean for you.
Virginia’s Heroin Laws:
Heroin laws in the Commonwealth of Virginia have been defined by the Drug Control Act. The Office of the Attorney General has put together a very good resource to help people (specifically teens) understand how those laws work.
The Drug Control Act put drugs, or “controlled substances,” into five different categories (“schedules”). Heroin is classified as a Schedule I drug. Schedules I and II create the most serious offenses. As a Schedule I drug, the possession of heroin is a Class 5 felony.
Heroin Possession Penalties:
The Code of Virginia provides for the following: "Class 5 felony – imprisonment of one to 10 years, or confinement in jail for up to 12 months and a fine of up to $2,500, either or both".
When a person is charged with the intent to sell or distribute heroin, the penalties significantly increase. Instead of 1-10 years, the range is 5-40. The fines also increase up to $500,000.
A second violation with the intent to sell or distribute allows for a life sentence. On the surface, this tends to strike many people as excessive. As you can see, these kinds of penalties are not a joke. Your choice of lawyer can make a significant difference in the quality of your life.
Bigger Drug Picture:
This is just heroin. There are other drugs that are in the news on a regular basis – the biggest one being marijuana. Next week, you can read about marijuana laws, how they are changing around the country, and what it means for you.
In the meantime, if you are in need of a quality lawyer who can help you through these kinds of cases, call or e-mail today for a free consultation!
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