DC drug charges carry serious penalties such as significant fines and imprisonment. A conviction for a drug offense can also lead to issue for one’s professional and personal life. If you are facing charges, contact an accomplished drug lawyer. Let a dedicated attorney advocate for you and help you build a strong defense.
When a person is charged with drug possession, possession with intent to distribute, or distribution of a controlled substance, the charge appears on the online docket of DC Superior Court while their case is pending. The record indicates that the person is charged with a crime that was selected by the papering office of the United States Attorney. When an individual is convicted of a drug offense, like any other charge in the District of Columbia, a judgment is issued by the judge indicating what the individual was convicted of and that becomes available on the online docket.
When someone is charged with committing possession, possession with intent to distribute, or distribution of a controlled substance, any background check conducted on the individual could have adverse consequences. If the defendant is convicted of one of these DC drug charges, there could also be collateral consequences with respect to their job. The individual could lose their job and may be denied the ability to rent certain apartments. The type of charge could restrict their ability to own a firearm and there may be restrictions on their ability to vote for a period of time. The individual may be ineligible to receive certain public benefits such as public housing or educational grants. They could also lose their driver’s license or their driving privileges in DC for at least six months.
Due to the short-term and long-term consequences of a drug charge in DC, a defendant should contact an experienced lawyer immediately.
Following a drug arrest, police officers discuss the case with prosecutors who determine the charge that should be brought initially against a person. This process is referred to as “papering” a case. When someone is arrested for a drug charge, a papering decision is made.
Sometimes, the defense attorney may lobby the papering office to drop charges because it is clear that the arrest has constitutional issues. Perhaps the police violated the Fourth or Fifth Amendment when searching for and/or seizing the drugs. Sometimes, other considerations may lead to a charge being dropped such as insufficient evidence. Once an attorney is hired by the defendant, they could review the case and see if there are any arguments that can be made to drop the case.
When police officers search for and/or seize drugs, mistakes might be made by the officer that results in violations of the Constitution. The advent in the District of Columbia of body-worn cameras by police officers changed the landscape on this issue. The cameras show precisely what police officers are doing when they search for and seize drugs, making it much easier to identify constitutional violations, which may lead to a dismissal of charges.
Procedural mistakes are violations of the Constitution. If police officers violate the Constitution, that could lead to the object of the search or seizure being suppressed in charges. As a penalty for the police officers violating the Constitution, the drugs cannot be used in the case against the individual.
Anyone facing DC drug charges should contact an attorney as soon as they know they are being investigated for a drug offense or they are arrested. They should avoid answering questions from law enforcement and let their lawyer do the talking instead. Even if someone has done nothing wrong, speaking to law enforcement without having an attorney present is a mistake because police sometimes misinterpret what the person says, whether accidentally or intentionally.
Call today to set up a consultation with a seasoned defense attorney who could fight for you and your rights.
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