Not too surprisingly, cocaine is, in fact, illegal in West Virginia. The state prohibits the possession, sale or distribution, and trafficking (moving around) of cocaine. While illegal, the use and sale of coke and crack is still common around the country, including in West Virginia. Drug use has been called an epidemic in the U.S., with drug use and drug laws affecting many people of all backgrounds. In fact, in 2013, the son of Charleston's Mayor Danny Jones was arrested on cocaine charges.
Crack v. Coke Sentencing Disparity Controversy
While West Virginia’s law doesn’t differentiate between crack cocaine and powder cocaine because they’re the same drug, federal law did for many years. This uncalled for inequality in sentencing contributed to higher rates of arrest and conviction, as well as longer sentences, for lower-income crack users in comparison to those who used cocaine. While the recent Fair Sentencing Law addressed this issue, it wasn’t retroactively applied to those already incarcerated, so many former crack users continue to serve inequitably long prison sentences. Federal law could apply to you in West Virginia if you’re on federal property or are trafficking across state lines.
West Virginia Coke Laws
The following chart outlines the primary cocaine laws in West Virginia.
||West Virginia Code Chapter 60A: Uniform Controlled Substances Act, Article 4: (Drug) Offenses and Penalties and Section 60A-2-206: Schedule II (Drugs)
Knowingly or intentionally possessing a controlled substance without a valid prescription, including cocaine, is prohibited.
Possession of cocaine is a misdemeanor and can get you 90 days to six months in jail and a fine up to $1,000. For subsequent offenses, the penalties double to up to a year in jail and a $2,000 fine.
For a first possession offense you could get deferred prosecution, meaning you plea guilty, but the charges will be dismissed if you successfully complete probation.
|Selling or Dealing
West Virginia law prohibits the manufacture, deliver, or possess with intent to manufacture or deliver of any controlled substance, including coke.
Selling cocaine is a felony that can get you 1-15 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $25,000. Again, for a second offense, the penalties are doubled.
An adult 21 or older selling coke or crack to a minor under 18 or anyone over 18 selling within 1,000 ft. of a school or university results in being ineligible for parole for three years.
|Trafficking or Transporting
Transporting cocaine (or other drugs) into the state with the intent to deliver them to dealers or users is illegal.
Transporting coke will get you 1 to 15 years imprisonment plus a $25,000 fine at most.
If you’ve been busted with cocaine, you need to speak to an experienced West Virginia criminal defense lawyer. You don’t want to say something to the police that can get you in worse trouble or represent yourself poorly and end up getting more time in prison.
Note: State laws are revised frequently. Contact a lawyer or conduct your own legal research to verify these criminal laws.
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