Distribution of a Controlled Substance

A charge of possession with intent to sell, provide, give away, deliver, or distribute a controlled substance is a very serious charge with very severe penalties. In Virginia, alleged crimes of drug distribution, sale and manufacturing are treated more seriously than crimes of simple controlled substance possession. It is illegal to give, sell, distribute, cultivate, or manufacture a controlled substance. Likewise, it is illegal to possess such a large quantity of a drug that law enforcement deems that you intend to sell or otherwise distribute, as opposed to possessing it exclusively for personal use.

What is Possession with Intent to Distribute? Virginia courts consider a number of factors alone, and in combination, when determining if an intent to distribute exists. Some of the factors available to the court are:

Packaging – Cocaine packages in two individually wrapped blocks in a single plastic bag support the finding of possession with intent to distribute.

Quantity – If the quantity of drugs possessed is greater than that ordinarily possessed for personal use, that fact may be sufficient to prove intent to distribute (See table below).

Presence or absence of drug paraphernalia for personal use – The absence of drug paraphernalia suggestive of personal use can be used as evidence of intent to distribute. Expert Testimony – Expert testimony, such as of that from a police officer, is a factor to be considered when determining whether drugs were possessed with intent to distribute.

A large amount of money – The presence of an unusually large amount of money, suggesting profit from sales, is another circumstance that negates an inference of possession simply for personal use.

Paraphernalia consistent with distribution – The presence of paraphernalia, such as scales, baggie corners, or razor blades, used in the packaging process is consistent with possession with intent to distribute.


Intent to Distribute Marijuana Penalties

Quantity Charge Maximum Penalty
Less than ½ ounce
Class 1 Misdemeanor ​Up to 12 months in jail, fines
​up to $2500.00
​Half an ounce, up to 5lbs
​Class 5 Felony Up to 10 years in prison
​​More than 5lbs
​​Up to 30 years in prison

Possession with Intent to Sell, Distribute, or Manufacture a Controlled Substance

Quantity Examples Maximum Penalty
Schedule I
​Heroin, Ecstasy, LSD, GHB First offense – 5 to 40 years in
prison, fines up to
Second offense – Up to life in
​Schedule II
​Cocaine, Methamphetamine,
​Crystal Meth, Morphine, PCP,
​Methadone, Ritalin
First offense – 5 to 40 years in
​prison, fines up to
Second offense – Up to life in
​​Schedule III
Anabolic Steroids, Codeine
and Hydrocodone, Special K,
some barbiturates and other
​​​1 to 10 years in prison, fines
up to $2500.00
​​Schedule IV
Many prescription drugs such
as Darvon, Talwin, Equanil,
Valium, Rohypnol, Xanax
​​​1 to 5 years in prison, fines up
to $2500.00

Why should I contact an attorney? A drug distribution charge should not be taken lightly as there are serious negative consequences that accompany a conviction, and the penalties become more severe depending on the type and quantity of the substance(s) you are accused of possessing. Attorney Paracha will provide you with the appropriate legal information regarding the charge you are faced with and it’s potential penalties.

If you have been charged with Distribution or Possession of a Controlled Substance, contact The Paracha Firm immediately for a no-fee consultation.


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