Possession of a controlled substance (cocaine, heroin, prescription drugs, etc.) in Washington, D.C. is usually punished as a misdemeanor, and carries a penalty of up to 180 days in jail, or a $1000 fine, or both. However, possession of liquid PCP is a felony, and carries up to 10 years in prison. As of 2014, possession of up to two ounces of marijuana in the District of Columbia is legal for those 21 or older. In Virginia, even simple possession of a controlled substance is a felony.
In both Washington, D.C. and Virginia, possession with intent to distribute (PWID), or distribution of a controlled substance is a felony, except for certain quantities of marijuana.
First time offenders convicted of simple possession generally do not receive jail time, but those convicted of PWID or distribution could see significant prison time, depending on their criminal record and the circumstances of the case. Certain cases may be prosecuted under Federal law, which often means significant mandatory minimum prison sentences.
While proving simple possession in court may offer few challenges to the government, PWID and distribution cases often can be more difficult to prove. Your Washington, D.C. area criminal defense lawyer will analyze the facts of your case, and prepare a defense to these very serious charges.
Attorney Jay Mykytiuk of JPMLegal has experience in defending both Federal and State drug offenses in Washington, D.C. and in Northern Virginia.