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Washington DC Drug Lawyer

Washington DC Drug Lawyer

While it is unlawful in DC for any person to knowingly or intentionally manufacture, distribute, or possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance, the penalties differ depending on the type of drug, the amount, and the circumstances.

If you are facing any of these charges, an experienced Washington DC drug lawyer can provide you with a detailed explanation of the controlled substance laws in the area for your convenience. With the help of a criminal defense attorney, you could potentially reduce your charges or even have them dropped altogether.

How Common is a Possession of a Controlled Substance Charge?

Most allegations surrounding illegal drugs involve charges of simple possession. According to the Code of the District of Columbia §48-904.01(d)(1), it is against the law for a person to possess any amount of a controlled substance.  This can include “street drugs” such as cocaine and heroin, as well as certain pharmaceuticals and other medical drugs if used without a prescription or other authorization.

The available penalties for a conviction under law will vary. Some offenses are misdemeanors hat carries a maximum jail sentence of 180 days, the payment of a fine, or both. However, one section of the code outlines a program where a first-time offender can choose to remain on probation for a period of up to one year to seek treatment for drug dependency. A local drug defense attorney could help to determine if this alternative form of sentencing may be available.

Controlled Substance Definition

Possession of a Controlled Substance

The term “controlled substance” specifically means a drug or narcotic of some type or could refer to an immediate precursor of a substance, as detailed in specified statutory schedules. The term does not include distilled spirits, wine, malt beverages, or tobacco.

What is the Difference Between Actual or Constructive Possession?

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 will establish that possession is either actual or constructive. Actual possession means that the substance was in the physical custody of the person charged with the offense, such as in the person’s hand, pocket, purse or backpack. Constructive possession refers to a case where the substance was not actually or physically possessed, but that the person charged has the intent and power to control the substance.

Has Washington DC Legalized the Possession of Marijuana?

The District of Columbia has legalized the possession of certain amounts of marijuana, under certain conditions.  Under DC Code §48-904.01, it is not a criminal offense for a person over the age of 21 to possess up to two ounces of marijuana. For all amounts in excess of two ounces, the traditional penalties for drug possession still apply.

For a better understanding of the legality of certain substances in the District of Columbia, we recommend you consult with a DC attorney. A local legal representative could provide more information about the changing marijuana possession laws.

Working to Contest Illegal Searches

Every person has the right to privacy. This means that police officers must have reasonable suspicion to search a person’s body, car, or property. Since it is unlikely for a police officer to actually witness drug use or a sale, officers rely on this legal standard to justify their searches.

Whether this justification was valid under the circumstances is often a leading source of defenses against drug charges. Defendants could question whether a police officer had a valid reason to stop a car and perform a search. They could also fight back against the validity of the search warrant that allowed police to enter a private home. A Washington DC legal professional could provide more information about the right to privacy and how the way a drug investigation is run could violate this right.

Creating Reasonable Doubt in the Minds of Jurors

The ultimate goal of a Washington DC drug defense attorney is to create a defense that beats a prosecutor’s case. In charges alleging the illegal possession or distribution of drugs, this can mean many things.

One avenue of defense is to question the identity of the supposed drugs. Lab tests can identify an illegal substance with only a certain degree of certainty. Cross-examining a lab technician could discredit the techniques used to identify a drug.

Many drug cases rely on confidential informants or witnesses who were caught up in the investigation themselves. By questioning the motives of these people, an attorney could call their credibility into question.

Finally, the police seizure and custody of apparent drugs could have been improper. If the police department does not properly document the seizure and custody of alleged drugs, this could lead to reasonable doubt as to whether the substance presented in court was the substance taken from a defendant.

Let a Washington DC Drug Attorney Build You a Strong Defense

Because drug laws are so specific, there are opportunities to find doubt in the prosecution’s case. A Washington DC drug lawyer could help to craft a solid defense to reduce the charges against you or have them eradicated altogether. Contact a qualified defense attorney today to get started

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Client Reviews

By: J Seals

Title: I Was Charged with Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine

I was charged with Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine, as well as possession of cocaine. Dave was the first paid lawyer I ever retained. I had used public defender’s for a few cases in the past, and I have never been so glad to invest money in a lawyer as I was when I hired Dave. His fees were great. He worked with a payment plan to make sure I could afford to retain him. We had a pretty great case on our hands, but it was by no means a piece of cake. Dave left the prosecutor and the police officers who were witnesses against me absolutely stunned. He easily found key evidence early on that played a huge role in my case. It was amazing to see how exactly what he saw in my case in the beginning was exactly the important points brought up in trial. He definitely has talent. They never knew what hit them. He was my pittbull in the courtroom. He’s extremely open minded, willing to listen to my input but also gets the job done. In the end, “Not Guilty!

Client Description:

I was charged with Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine, as well as possession of cocaine. Dave was the first paid lawyer I ever retained. I had used public defender’s for a few cases in the past, and I have never been so glad to invest money in a lawyer as I was when I hired Dave. His fees were great. He worked with a payment plan to make sure I could afford to retain him. We had a pretty great case on our hands, but it was by no means a piece of cake. Dave left the prosecutor and the police officers who were witnesses against me absolutely stunned. He easily found key evidence early on that played a huge role in my case. It was amazing to see how exactly what he saw in my case in the beginning was exactly the important points brought up in trial. He definitely has talent. They never knew what hit them. He was my pittbull in the courtroom. He’s extremely open minded, willing to listen to my input but also gets the job done. In the end, “Not Guilty!

Rating: ★★★★★ 5 / 5 stars