DC Drug Possession Lawyer

Drug possession cases are sometimes complex, and can often leave an individual feeling overwhelmed and unsure of where to turn. These charges can also be quite intimidating, as they can carry penalties that range from hefty fines to lengthy periods of incarceration. A conviction of these charges can often cause damaging amounts of harm to an individual and may bar them from receiving loans, keeping their job, or being admitted to schools in the future.

If you have found yourself facing such a charge, it is crucial that you enlist the help of a skilled drug attorney immediately. A seasoned DC drug possession lawyer will be able to begin mounting an effective defense immediately and can assist in minimizing or reducing any penalties you may be facing.

Actual vs. Constructive Possession

The clearest type of possession in DC is actual possession, where someone personally possesses something. This is when an individual is holding something in their hand, an item is right next to them, in their pocket, in a backpack, or something of that nature. In actual possession, an individual clearly intends to possess something and has it on their person. Conversely, there is also constructive possession.

Constructive possession means that a person knows about the substance or the evidence, and they intend to exercise control over it. An experienced DC drug possession lawyer can assist in crafting a defense for either charge. An example of this form of possession is a television in someone’s home. When that person is at work, the television is not anywhere near them, but they have possession of it. It is in their home, and they have the intent to control it and to have power over it. That is called constructive possession.

What are Unique Aspects of Constructive Holding?

Constructive possession is often the means in which cases are prosecuted in the District of Columbia. Most people engaged in the business of distribution of narcotics do not keep a large quantity of narcotics on them. They are kept somewhere else.

The police may then execute a search warrant and find a large quantity of drugs in the closet of someone’s bedroom. Even though that person was not present at the time the drugs were found by police, it is constructive possession. The person had access to it, had control over it, and they intended to have control over it. A knowledgeable DC drug possession lawyer will best be able to help determine the type of charge an individual is facing.

Legality of Certain Drugs

The drugs considered illegal to possess in DC are the same as in every jurisdiction, except for marijuana. That includes heroin, cocaine, other opioids, LSD, PCP, and so on. The District of Columbia has an exception for up to two ounces of marijuana. Any narcotic that requires a prescription where not having a valid prescription makes the narcotic illegal to possess, and any drug that is not legally allowed to be possessed, is illegal. An individual can consult with a DC drug possession lawyer to help understand the legality of certain drugs.

Discovery Process

Police commonly find drugs on a person. When someone is being arrested for some other offense, they are searched. When they have drugs in their pocket or on their person, the police normally find them. Sometimes an individual is arrested because they were pulled over for a traffic offense and their driver’s license was expired, so the police officer makes an arrest for that offense. During a search of the person or their car, the police may find drugs and the person is charged with possession of illegal drugs. A DC drug possession lawyer can help an individual understand the particular elements of their charge.

Another common way that someone is found in possession of illegal drugs is by the police doing a follow-up search warrant, more specifically looking for evidence in someone’s home or their car. If they discover illegal drugs, they seize that as evidence and use it as the basis for a prosecution against the person. Whether illegal drugs are found on someone, or located in their vehicle or home when the police or any law enforcement agency finds illegal substances or illegal items, they will try to connect them to an individual.

Determining the Severity of the Charge

Two common factors that affect the seriousness of a drug charge are the quantity of drugs involved and the packaging of the drugs. For example, someone found to possess one bag with one ounce of marijuana is legal in DC, unless there was some extrinsic reason to believe that the person was engaged in trafficking of marijuana. However, if that same one ounce of marijuana is broken down into $10 bags, and there is a large number of these bags on the person, the police are likely to view that as possession with the intent to distribute.

When someone possesses any of the common implements of the drug trade, it is viewed more seriously. If someone has scales, a grinder for mixing, multiple packaging devices, or any kind of a drug ledger, law enforcement, and the prosecution view this as someone who is engaged in drug trafficking and not just a personal user. That is what law enforcement focuses on and wants to eliminate.

The quantity of drugs, the other indicia of sale or intent to sell, and the presence of multiple people involved in the transaction of drugs are critical factors for the government in the effort to stop the drug trafficking raid. Those are the type of cases that are prosecuted in federal court and are the most serious ones. When someone has a firearm in their possession and they are engaged in drug trafficking, that situation is viewed even more harshly. To defend against such serious charges, it is pertinent that an accused individual contact a DC drug possession lawyer immediately to begin the necessary legal process.

DC Drug Possession Lawyer