Can My Virginia Criminal Lawyer Have My Possession of Marijuana Charge Dismissed?

Virginia offers a “dismissal” option for first time possession convictions, known as a 251 Disposition. However, the requirements for the 251 program are strict, lengthy and must be completed in order to have the charge dismissed. Once you enter the program, you must abide by all the requirements or you will be found guilty of the charge. The 251 option, though a great option for some, may not be the best choice for others. If you accept a 251 Disposition, you will not qualify for an expungement. Some employers recognize the 251 disposition as a regular conviction because the offender must plead guilty before being approved for the program. This is why contacting a Virginia criminal attorney about your specific drug case is so important.

What are the Requirements for the 251 Disposition for Possession of Marijuana in Virginia?

  • Guilty plea
  • Probation
  • Court costs
  • Loss of license for 6 months
  • 24 hours of documented community service
  • Random drug screenings (no drugs or alcohol while on probation)
  • Timely completion of the 10-week Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program classes (VASAP)
  • $350 VASAP enrollment fee


Some of the most common felony drug charges our Virginia criminal lawyers see are possession with intent to distribute (PWID), distribution of marijuana, distribution of a controlled substance and manufacturing a controlled substance. Many of the controlled substances include cocaine, heroin, hash oil, methamphetamines, oxycontin and Adderall. The criminal lawyers of Robinson Law have handled numerous felony drug cases in Fairfax and Northern Virginia. Each drug case in Virginia has its own set of facts and unique circumstances, which is why consulting with a criminal lawyer for drug charges is essential to building the best possible defense for your case.


The most common distribution-related charge is known as “possession with intent to distribute” or PWID. The Virginia justice system considers numerous factors when determining whether or not an individual intended to distribute marijuana. Some of these factors include, but are not limited to quantity, certain paraphernalia such as scales, large sums of cash, expert testimony, and packaging. However, the circumstances for each case vary, which is why you need the expert advice from a criminal Fairfax attorney to help you fight your distribution charge. Virginia Code § 18.2-248.1 defines selling, distributing, or gifting of marijuana as unlawful. Distributing marijuana may be either a misdemeanor offense or a felony offense, depending on the factors involved.

Distributing ½ an ounce or less of Marijuana:

  • Class 1 misdemeanor
  • Maximum 12 month jail sentence
  • Maximum $2,500 fine

Distributing more than ½ an ounce but less than 5 lbs. of Marijuana:

  • Class 5 felony
  • Maximum 10 year jail sentence
  • Maximum $2,500 fine

Distributing 5 lbs. of Marijuana or more:

  • Felony
  • Jail sentence of 5 to 30 years
  • Maximum $2,500 fine  

Transporting 5 lbs. of Marijuana or more into Virginia:

  • Mandatory minimum 3 year jail sentence (10 year mandatory minimum for subsequent offense)
  • Possible 30 year jail sentence (first offense)
  • Possible 40 year jail sentence (subsequent offenses)


Virginia categorizes controlled drugs into six “schedules,” with the highest probability of abuse being schedule I and the least being schedule VI. No matter what schedule of drug, these cases are typically complicated and consulting with a Virginia criminal attorney is strongly recommended. Penalties for illegally possessing a controlled substance vary according to the schedule of the drug and whether you’re charged with a first or subsequent offense.

Schedule I (Heroin, Ecstasy, LSD, GHB):

  • Class 5 felony
  • Maximum $2,500 fine
  • 1 to 10 year jail sentence

Schedule II (Methamphetamines, Cocaine, Morphine, Adderall, Ritalin, PCP):

  • Class 5 felony
  • Maximum $2,500 fine
  • 1 to 10 year jail sentence

Schedule III (Anabolic steroids, codeine and hydrocodone, some depressants):

  • Class 1 misdemeanor
  • Maximum $2,500 fine
  • Maximum 1 year jail sentence

Schedule IV (Darvon, Talwin, Equanil, Valium, Rohypnol, Xanax, tranquilizers):

  • Class 2 misdemeanor
  • Maximum $1,000 fine
  • Maximum 6 month jail sentence

Schedule V (codeine-based cough medicines):

  • Class 3 misdemeanor
  • Maximum $500 fin

Schedule VI:

  • Class 4 misdemeanor
  • Maximum $250 fine


Distribution of a controlled substance in Virginia is a felony offense, while possession with intent to distribute (PWID) may be either a misdemeanor or felony offense. Our criminal attorneys have represented both adults and juveniles who have been charged with distribution or selling cocaine, heroin, Adderall.

Distribution of Schedule I & II:

  • Felony
  • 5 to 40 year jail sentence (possible life sentence for subsequent offense)
  • Maximum $500,000 fine

Distribution of Schedule III, IV & V:

  • Misdemeanor
  • Maximum 1 year jail sentence
  • Maximum $2,500 fine