Charged with Distributing and Possessing with Intent to Distribute in Virginia? Drug Offense Attorney Joseph Yoon Has You Covered

“Manufacturing, selling, giving, distributing” and/or “possessing with intent to manufacture, sell, give, or distribute” is a bigger beast than just possession of controlled substances in the Commonwealth of Virginia. This is because with just possession, the Commonwealth sees the problem mainly just involving you, but this charge means the problem has been expanded to other people and so the possible punishments are made harsher.

First off, a “controlled substance” is any drug that is intended for medical purposes, or for non-medical purposes, and are specifically mentioned in the law for illicit use while being classified in categories called schedules for their potential risks. (You may also know them better referred to as just “drugs”.)

“Distributing” and “giving” can be pretty self-explanatory, but the other terms are a little more nuanced. According to § 54.1-3401, selling does not only have to involve monetary transactions, but can also include bartering, exchanging, gifting, or offering. It also defines manufacturing as the “production, preparation, propagation, conversion, or processing” in almost any shape or form of any of the listed drugs, which can even include any “packaging or repackaging of the substance or labeling or relabeling of its container.” Furthermore, if drug-manufacturing equipment was discovered and was linked to you, you can be charged with manufacturing even if you never actually made the drugs.

If you were charged with possession with intent to manufacture, sell, etc., then the law enforcement officer believed you not only illegally had those drugs in your possession, but you planned on giving it to others in some way. You can be charged with possession with intent to distribute if things like scales, small bags, the drugs being split into small bags, etc. are discovered and it can be linked to you, whether you had it on your person, or it was reasoned that you had control/authority over the equipment.

Schedules and Penalties for Violating the terms of Va. Code § 18.2-248

  • Schedule I: Some of the more well-known examples of drugs under this schedule are heroin, LSD, and ecstasy. Being convicted can result in a penalty ranging from five to 40 years in prison, and/or a fine up to $500,000.
  • Schedule II: This class includes Oxycodone, cocaine, methamphetamine, PCP, and ADHD medication. Treated as the same in regards to penalty as Schedule I.
  • Schedule III: Includes ketamine, anabolic steroids. A conviction here is a Class 5 felony – prison time up to 10 years, and/or a fine up to $2,500.
  • Schedule IV: Includes Ambien, Xanax, Valium. Conviction is a Class 6 felony – up to five years in prison, and/or a maximum fine of $2,500.
  • Schedule V: Includes cough medicine with codeine. Class 1 misdemeanor – up to 12 months jail time, and fine of $2,500.
  • Schedule VI: This category can include other substances classified as drugs that are not mentioned, but still has some potential for abuse. Also a Class 1 misdemeanor.

The penalties are the same for actual manufacturing, selling, giving, distributing and possession with intent to, as they both warrant and are included under the same charge (Va. Code 18.2-248).

There are also a range of different specific codes regarding controlled substances in Virginia that can result in enhanced penalties and additional charges; i.e. transporting controlled substances into the Commonwealth from outside the state, distributing to persons under 18 (minors), just assisting people in obtaining prescription drugs, possessing/distributing certain specific substances, etc. The amount(s) of the drugs that you had at the time can also influence the punishments recommended and the circumstances of your case in court.

Don’t Go to Court Without a Strong, Caring Lawyer by Your Side


In Virginia, possession of controlled substances without a valid prescription, and possession with intent to manufacture, self, give, and distribute/actual manufacturing, selling, giving, and distributing are two separate charges. This means it could be possible that you were charged with both in the same incident. Having drug-related convictions on your permanent criminal record in Virginia (especially those two charges) can have a strong impact on your life endeavors, including a record that can’t be cleared, probation, and license suspensions to name a few. Why take a chance on that?

Depending on the circumstances of your case, there may be evidence to argue that you were not in possession and/or did not plan on distributing those drugs to others in any manner, and/or were not manufacturing, selling, giving, or distributing. Experienced Drug Offense Attorney Joseph Yoon of Yoon Law Firm, PLLC, right by Fairfax County Courts has got your back from negotiating the charges to presenting every important detail of your case in court to get you the best outcome and representation.