Member of:
Avvo Rating - 10.0
Avvo Client's Choice - 2015
The National Trial Lawyers badge
National College for DUI Defense
ABA badge
Super Lawyers Badge 2021
Criminal Defense Lawyers Association

Distribution of a Controlled Substance in VA: Penalties and Defenses

If you’re facing drug distribution charges in Virginia, you’re in a world of legal trouble. Failure to mount an aggressive legal defense could result in severe penalties, including incarceration. Contact us online to schedule a free consultation and start building your defense today.

Virginia takes all drug charges seriously, but especially ones involving the distribution of controlled substances. Like many states, Virginia has strict laws regarding the possession and distribution of drugs. These laws are aimed at curbing the flow of potentially dangerous drugs, but they also hold significant consequences for those charged with drug crimes.

If you’ve been charged with distribution of a controlled substance in Virginia, it’s critical to understand that just because you’ve been charged with a crime doesn’t mean you’re guilty. However, your innocence won’t save you in the absence of a rock-solid legal defense.

Luckily, you don’t have to navigate the legal waters alone. The experienced drug distribution defense attorneys at S&R Law Firm are here to take your call. In the meantime, read through this article to learn everything you need to know about drug distribution charges in VA, including possible penalties and top legal defenses.

As trusted criminal defense attorneys in Fairfax, Virginia, we’ve helped countless clients beat their drug crimes charges and secure their futures. Ready to get started? Call our law office at (703) 273-6431 to schedule a complimentary consultation with a compassionate attorney.

What Is Considered a Controlled Substance in Virginia?

Virginia Code § 54.1-3401 defines a controlled substance as “a drug, substance or immediate precursor” in Schedules I through IV of the Virginia Drug Control Act. It’s important to note that Virginia’s drug classification system includes six total schedules; drugs listed under Schedule V and Schedule VI are not considered controlled substances.

Here’s a breakdown of how controlled substances are classified in Virginia:

  • Schedule I drugs are those deemed to have a high potential for abuse and no approved medical uses, including heroin and LSD.
  • Schedule II drugs are those deemed to have a high potential for abuse and severe dependence, but, unlike Schedule I drugs, also have a currently acceptable medical use. Fentanyl, cocaine, methadone, methamphetamine and codeine are included in this category.
  • Schedule III drugs are considered to have less potential for abuse than Schedule II drugs but still have potential for moderate dependency. These drugs also have accepted medical uses and include drugs like anabolic steroids and buprenorphine.
  • Schedule IV drugs have even less potential for abuse and a limited potential for dependency. These drugs have accepted medical uses and include Valium, Xanax and other tranquilizers and sedatives.

Distribution of drugs in any of these classifications can incur serious charges and even more serious penalties. If charged with distribution, the specific penalties you face will depend on which schedule of drugs you’re charged with trafficking, as well as other pertinent case details.

Understanding Penalties for Drug Distribution in Virginia

Drug distribution is more serious than most other drug charges. It means that in addition to possessing a drug for personal use, there is evidence to suggest a person has the intent to sell the drugs in their possession for monetary gain.

If convicted of drug distribution in Virginia, you will be faced with a number of penalties and other legal repercussions. Your specific punishments will be affected by factors like type of drug, quantity involved and prior criminal history.

Here’s a more detailed breakdown of those contributing factors:

  • Type of substance. Under Virginia’s drug classification system, Schedule I drugs are considered the most dangerous and Schedule IV the least dangerous. As a result, Schedule I and Schedule II drugs typically incur the most serious penalties.
  • Quantity of substance. Virginia drug laws trigger more serious legal ramifications at certain quantity thresholds, meaning that a person accused of distributing high quantities of a drug will likely face harsher punishments than someone accused of distributing small quantities of the same drug.
  • Prior criminal record. In Virginia, prior drug-related convictions can result in enhanced penalties and longer prison sentences.

Depending on the above-discussed factors, the penalties you face for drug distribution charges can vary widely. Here are some of the potential legal consequences:

  • Felon status. In Virginia, most drug distribution charges are classified as felonies. The specific class of felony depends on the above-described factors.
  • Prison time. Most people convicted of felony drug distribution are sentenced to some amount of prison time. Depending on the felony classification, a person convicted of drug distribution may face up to 40 years in prison.
  • Fines. In addition to prison time, there are significant fines associated with conviction for drug distribution. Conviction of Schedule I drug distribution may result in fines up to $500,000.

As you can see, the penalties for drug distribution in Virginia are steep. However, there are a variety of strong legal defenses you can use to fight back.

Defending Against Drug Distribution Charges in VA

Everyone—regardless of the charges leveled against them—has the right to a strong, well-rounded defense. When you partner with a drug distribution defense lawyer, they can help you explore the best legal strategy for your situation. Here are some commonly used defenses:

  • Lack of knowledge or intent
  • Illegal search and seizure
  • Issues with chain of custody
  • Entrapment by law enforcement
  • Disputes over drug quantity
  • Improper or illegal arrest procedures

With a top-quality legal representative on your side, you may be able to get your charges reduced or dismissed. Luckily, you don’t have to search too far: The attorneys at S&R Law Firm are here to help.

S&R Law Firm: Trusted Criminal Defense Attorneys in Virginia

Drug distribution charges are no laughing matter. If you don’t take them seriously, you could end up spending decades behind bars—even if you’re innocent. The best way to defend yourself and protect your future is by contacting a skilled drug distribution defense attorney in Virginia.

Ready to take the next step? Contact S&R Law Firm online to schedule a free case consultation or give us a call at (703) 273-6431 to speak with a compassionate, knowledgeable attorney today.

Client Reviews

An excellent attorney with much knowledge and a skilled litigator which is highly recommended to anyone seeking counsel.


The S&R Law Firm as a whole comes with my high recommendations as to their professionalism, affordability, and legal capabilities.


I hired the S&R law firm to represent me in a legal action. I was very pleased with their professional, yet also compassionate approach to my case.


S&R Law Firm is an honest, affordable, professional, and extremely personable firm. S&R provides five-star services!


Contact Us for a Free Consultation

  1. 1 Free Consultation
  2. 2 Available 24/7
  3. 3 Personable & Knowledgeable Representation
Fill out the contact form or call us at 703.273.6431 to schedule your free consultation.

Leave Us a Message