Do I Need an Experienced D.C. Drug Lawyer?

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Washington D.C. drug laws and statutes and the D.C drug schedules and classifications are often confusing and complicated.  It is important to have the assistance of an experienced Washington DC drug lawyer to help you navigate through the criminal justice system and work toward proving reasonable doubt and ultimately a not-guilty verdict.

Schedule of drugs in the District of Columbia

There are five separate schedules of drugs in D.C.  Each schedule is based on two criteria that determine whether or not a person is charged with a drug crime.

  1. The possibility of abuse or addiction of a drug
  2. The medical use of the drug. In other words, whether or not the drug has a medical use that has been accepted by the scientific community.
  • Schedule I: The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse and currently has no accepted medical use in treatment in the District of Columbia, or there is a lack of accepted safety of its use for medical purposes.Examples of Schedule I drugs include: heroine, LSD, and MDMA (ecstasy)
  • Schedule II: The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse and has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the District of Columbia, or a currently accepted medical use with severe restrictions. Abuse of a Schedule II drug or other substances may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence. Schedule II drugs include:  cocaine
  • Schedule III: The drug or other substance has a lower potential for abuse than the drugs or other substances in schedules I and II and has currently accepted medical use in treatment in the District of Columbia Abuse of the drug or other substance may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence.Schedule III drugs include:  anabolic steroids, Vicodin
  • Schedule IV: The drug or other substance has a low potential for abuse and has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the District of Columbia. Abuse of the drug or other substance may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence relative to the drugs or other substances in Schedule III. Schedule IV drugs include:  Valium
  • Schedule V: The drug or other substance has a low potential for abuse and has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the District of Columbia.Abuse of the drug or other substance may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence. Schedule V drugs include:  Cough medicines with codeine

DC Drug Penalties

  • Schedule I and II Drug: Possession is punishable by up to 180 days in jail and/or a $1000 fine.  Distribution or selling a schedule I or II drug is punishable by 30 years in prison, and/or a $75,000 file
  • Schedule III Drug: Possession is punishable by up to 180 days in jail, and/or a $1000 fine.  Distribution or selling a schedule III drug is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and/or a fine of $12,500.
  • Schedule IV Drug: Possession is punishable by up to 180 days in jail and/or a $1000 fine.  Distribution or selling a schedule IV drug is punishable by 3 years in prison and/or a fine of $12,500.
  • Schedule V Drug: Possession is punishable by up to 180 days in jail and/or a fine of $1000.  Distribution or selling a schedule V drug is punishable by 1 year in jail and/or a fine of $2500.

Paraphernalia

Any object used to inject, ingest, or inhale drugs may be considered drug paraphernalia by law enforcement.  This includes, but is not limited to, syringes, pipes, spoons, measuring scales, razor blades, and vaporizers.  Since many of these are common items, a police officer takes into account where the item is located in relation to the drugs, and also whether there are traces of the drug on the item itself.  Possession of drug paraphernalia in the District of Columbia is punishable by up to 30 days in jail and/or a $250 fine.

Marijuana Statute in D.C.

In 2015, marijuana was decriminalized in D.C and is no longer considered a controlled substance when the following criteria are met.  It is NOT illegal for a person 21 years of age or older to:

  • Possess, use, purchase, or transport marijuana weighing 2 ounces or less;
  • Transfer to another person 21 years of age or older, without return or remuneration, marijuana weighing one ounce or less;
  • Possess, grow, harvest, or process, within the interior of a house or rental unit that constitutes such person’s principal residence, no more than 6 cannabis plants;
  • Possess marijuana-related drug paraphernalia, such as bongs or rolling papers;
  • Use marijuana on private property.

A person can still be arrested for:

  • Selling any amount of marijuana to another person;
  • Possessing more than two ounces of marijuana;
  • Operating a vehicle or boat under the influence of marijuana; or
  • Smoking, eating, or drinking marijuana, or holding or carrying a lighted roll of paper or other lighted smoking equipment filled with marijuana, in any public space
  • Possessing hashish;
  • Possessing marijuana on federal land or property.

Any amount of marijuana possessed by individuals under the age of 21 is still illegal.  It is legal under D.C. law to possess, deliver, sell, or manufacture paraphernalia (like rolling papers or bongs).

Contact a D.C. attorney with drug offense experience

It is important to make sure your rights are protected.  Regardless of the drug charge(s) you face, a conviction would not only be costly, but may affect your life for many years to come.  It is a big mistake to face drug charges on your own, without the advice of an experienced and knowledgeable D.C. drug lawyer.  Contact attorney Jay P.Mykytiuk for a consultation.  He can answer your questions about the details of the charges and advise you how best to proceed in this matter.

 

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