The critical difference between a felony drug charge and a misdemeanor drug charge is the purpose or the intended use of the drugs. Were the drugs for personal use, or were the drugs packaged to be sold or distributed?
Simple possession of drugs is a misdemeanor in West Virginia. It carries a penalty of 90 days to six months and a fine of up to $1,000. This applies to all drugs, including marijuana, cocaine, heroin, meth, benzos, etc. If a person has possession of more than one type of drug, then they may be charged with multiple counts of possession.
Manufacturing, delivery, or possession with intent to deliver drugs is a felony. The penalty depends on the type of drug and its classification in the Uniform Controlled Substances Act. For example, marijuana is a Schedule I non-narcotic. It carries a penalty of 1 to 5 years and a fine of up to $15,000. Heroin is a Schedule I narcotic. It carries a penalty of 1 to 15 years and a fine of up to $25,000.
Possession with intent to deliver is most often proven by the quantity or amount of drugs present. If an individual has several pounds of marijuana, then that would likely by indicative of an intent to deliver rather than personal use.
An intent to deliver can also be established by how the drugs are packaged. If an individual is caught with 25 small and individually wrapped bags of cocaine, then that is suggestive of an intent to deliver as opposed to personal use. Additionally, the presence of packaging material and measuring equipment, such as scales, is also a factor to be used to establish an intent to deliver.
There are many defenses to drug crimes. That is why it is important to contact an experienced drug crime attorney, such as those at The Moore Law Firm.