The possession and distribution of opiates including heroin and morphine is illegal under both Virginia state and federal laws.
These drugs and their synthetic versions are labeled as being Schedule I to signify just how addictive these drugs are. Their classification also points to why both the federal and state government harshly punish those who are either in possession, sale or otherwise traffic the drug.
In Virginia, an individual doesn't have to have heroin on his or her person in order to be charged with possession of it. Instead, it only has to be within proximity of them, such as in their car. Whether someone had intentions to sell or traffic the drug depends on how much he or she was found with.
A defendant who is merely convicted for possessing heroin may face a minimum 12-month term in jail, $2,500 fine or both.
It is possible, however, for a defendant who is charged with his or her first drug-related offense to avoid jail time. To do so, they'll need to express an interest in participating in Virginia's program for drug abatement to the judge in their case. If the request is approved, then it's possible for them to avoid spending extensive time in jail.
Those who are found guilty of a having sold heroin are said to have committed a fifth class felony. They are likely to receive a sentence of at least five years in jail, but could receive a sentence of as long as 40 years, even for their first conviction.
Each additional count could carry an additional $500,000 in fines and up to five additional years in jail. The sale of the drug to a child or near a school can result in additional fines and added jail time.
Anyone who is found selling more than one kilogram of the heroin is considered to be a drug kingpin in Virginia. A conviction for this crime carries with it a definitive 20-year sentence. The defendant could be sentenced to a life term at the judge's discretion as well. Drug kingpins can also be fined as much as $1,000,000 for the offense.
If you've been charged with either possession or distribution of heroin, then it's advised that you seek out the counsel of an experienced Christianburg, Virginia, drug crime attorney. In doing so, he or she can advise you of your rights in your criminal matter.
Source: FindLaw, "Virginia heroin laws," accessed Oct. 20, 2017