Winchester Man Arrested With 12 Lbs Of Marijuana
Members of the Northwest Virginia Drug and Gang Task Force recently arrested a Winchester man with 12 lbs of marijuana and approximately $18,000 in cash in his vehicle. Police followed the suspect, Kevin Riley, was arrested in the 700 block of South Kent Street in Winchester, Virginia as he parked his vehicle.
Riley was taken into custody without incident and is being held without bond. He faces charges of distributing of one pound of marijuana and possessing more than five pounds of marijuana with the intent to distribute. Both charges are felonies with a maximum combined sentence of 40 years in prison.
Penalties for distribution of marijuana in Virginia
While some states across the country are decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana and even regulating its sale in places like Colorado and Washington (state), possession remains illegal in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Distribution of marijuana, even relatively smaller amounts can carry harsh sentences.
|Less than 1/2 oz||Misdemeanor||Up to 12 Months in Jail|
|Half an oz up to 5lbs||Felony||Up to 10 years in prison|
|More than 5lbs||Felony||Up to 30 years in prison|
|More than 200lbs||Felony||Up to life sentence|
Furthermore, there are other penalties for different scenarios involving distribution of marijuana. All of them carry the potential for serious jail time and fines. They include situations like:
- Distributing 1 ounce of marijuana or less to any person under 18-years old and at least 3 years younger than the offender – a felony charge carrying a minimum two-year jail sentence
- Distributing more than 1 ounce of marijuana to any person under 18-years and at least 3 years younger than the offender – a felony charge carrying a minimum five-year sentence
- Distributing more than a half-ounce of marijuana within 1,000 ft. of a school – a felony carrying a minimum one-year jail sentence
- Transporting 5lbs or more of marijuana into Virginia with the intent to distribute – a felony carrying a minimum five-year jail sentence
Proving intent to distribute
Possessing large quantities of marijuana in and of itself does not constitute possession with intent to distribute. Authorities must prove the defendant intended to profit from the sale. Paraphernalia like baggies, scales, and cash seized with the drugs may be enough to warrant distribution charges.
Virginia marijuana laws do give suspects ways to avoid mandatory minimum sentences in circumstances where the defendant has no prior record, was non-violent, or chooses to cooperate with authorities in apprehending other marijuana traffickers.
Leesburg Drug Crimes Attorneys
While there are opportunities to reduce distribution charges and avoid mandatory minimum sentences, there are no guarantees prosecutors or judges will show leniency to offenders. Suspects facing marijuana distribution charges should strongly consider hiring an experienced and dedicated Leesburg drug crimes attorney to help craft a strong case and try to avoid harsh penalties.
If you or a family member faces charges for drug distribution, contact the attorneys of Whitbeck Cisneros McElroy, PC for a consultation about your case. Our attorneys serve clients throughout Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William Counties.