If you were charged with a drug-related offense, you might be worried about your future and unsure of how to proceed. However, it is important to understand how decriminalization in DC drug cases might impact your legal standing.
For example, recently, the main trend is the decriminalization of the possession of marijuana, which was often a primary source of legal issues. As an example, Oregon has completely decriminalized the possession of marijuana, while California has taken big steps in that direction, as well.
However, the District of Columbia has decriminalized the possession of only a certain amount of marijuana. By reaching out to a knowledgeable attorney, you could have help in assessing your specific charges and determining if recent decriminalization laws might help to alter or mitigate your charges.
In DC, it is now legal to possess up to two ounces of marijuana. Individuals are not allowed to smoke marijuana in public or sell marijuana, however. Furthermore, a person should know that even though they are allowed to possess a certain amount of marijuana, they cannot sell it or give it away in a systemized fashion. For instance, some establishments gift marijuana when a customer purchases something else—however, this has been deemed illegal.
The decriminalization of possession of two ounces of marijuana changed the landscape for many people who would have otherwise been arrested for possession of a low amount of marijuana. This change occurred after studies showed that the primary target for these types of cases were people of color. Therefore, it was a good first step towards leveling the playing field for people of color in the District of Columbia with respect to how they are treated by law enforcement.
However, this law does not grant any leniency of sentencing, because anyone charged with an offense would have to be in possession of more than two ounces of marijuana. On the other hand, if someone is charged with possession of a small amount of cocaine and have no prior criminal history, they might be eligible for lenient sentencing under the Code of the District of Columbia § 904-01(e). In this case, they might have a conviction erased from their record after they complete their probationary period.
One common misconception a person might make about decriminalization law is that they are allowed to gift marijuana in a systematic fashion and that is not the case. The other misunderstanding is that they can smoke marijuana in public. Neither of these activities is legal, so it is important to remember that. Even if one has less than two ounces of marijuana, if they smoke of marijuana in public, they may be charged with a crime.
Despite the increased leniency of charges related to marijuana, people still misunderstand how they might be accused of violating the law. For example, smoking marijuana in public is still illegal, as is the “gifting” of marijuana in DC.
If you were charged with a drug crime for even minor possession, it might be important to reach out to a well-versed lawyer to discuss your legal options. To learn more about how decriminalization in DC drug cases might impact your case, call an experienced attorney today.
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