Washington DC Drug Lawyer
In Washington, D.C., it is unlawful for any person to knowingly or intentionally manufacture, distribute, possess, or possess with intent to manufacture or distribute a controlled substance. If you are facing any of these charges, an experienced DC drug lawyer can help guide you through the Washington, DC legal system.
A person cannot knowingly or intentionally possess a controlled substance in the District unless it was obtained directly from, or pursuant to, a valid prescription or order of a licensed medical practitioner acting in the professional course of his or her practice. Possession of a controlled substance is punishable by up to 180 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. Depending on the amount and type of the controlled substance at issue, a Washington, DC conviction for possession with intent to distribute or for distribution of a controlled substance can be punished by up to 30 years in prison and/or a $500,000 fine.
The term “controlled substance” means a drug or other substance, or immediate precursor, as detailed in specified statutory schedules. The term controlled substance, however, does not include distilled spirits, wine, malt beverages, or tobacco. To convict a person for possession of a controlled substance in DC, the government has to establish two elements: the nature of the substance and possession by the defendant. Possession is defined in terms of personal custody and control. The government may establish that possession is either actual or constructive.
Actual possession means that the substance is in the physical custody of the person charged with possession, such as in the person’s hand, pocket, purse or backpack, while constructive possession means that the substance is not actually or physically possessed, but that the person charged has the intent and power to control the substance.
For a greater explanation of the drug laws in Washington DC, please refer to the following section of the District of Columbia Official Code.