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College students and drug distribution in Virginia

On Behalf of | Jan 5, 2022 | Criminal Defense

When a student in Virginia transition from high school to college, they get into an environment that they have never experienced before, both mentally and physically. They have the pressure to survive, fit in, get into activities, meet new people and do well on their schoolwork. As a result, college students may become abusers of drugs. Here are some facts you need to know about drug distribution in colleges.

Why do college students abuse drugs?

  • Peer pressure – Students feel free from the constant supervision of their parents at home, and the people around them influence how they think or act. If your best friend or someone you admire is a drug user, your chances of trying that drug are high.
  • Curiosity – The desire to experiment and try new things is common among college students. If combined with peer pressure, the impact is even stronger.
  • Stress – You have to balance everything in college to come out successful. When a student fails at something, even a relationship, they might resort to drugs as a means of coping.

Virginia drug laws and penalties

It is a felony to manufacture, sell or distribute controlled substances or imitation drugs near colleges. Selling or using a drug within 1,000 feet of a college is illegal. Penalties for drug distribution around colleges include the following:

  1. First-time offenses can lead to up to five years in prison and $100,000 in fines.
  2. For subsequent offenses, according to Virginia Code § 18.2-255.2, it is mandatory that you spend at least a year in prison, along with other sentences depending on the amount of drugs found on you.

Penalties for possession are also harsh. They can include:

  • Up to 10 years in prison with $2,500 in fines for Schedule Ι or Schedule II drugs (heroin, cocaine, LSD, ecstasy, codeine, morphine, opium and oxycodone)
  • 12 months and fines worth $2,500 for Schedule III drugs (anabolic steroids)
  • Six months in jail and a $1,000 fine for Schedule ΙV drugs (Valium, Xanax and Klonopin)
  • Fines worth $500 for Schedule V drugs (other prescriptions)

Different colleges treat drug distributors differently. For instance, some colleges will expel students indefinitely for selling drugs while others might suspend a student for a long time. In any case, it’s important to have a defense strategy against the charges.

J. Emmette Pilgreen IV
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