DC Cocaine Offenses

Courts are changing to reflect updated understandings on addiction. However, DC cocaine offenses, especially ones involving allegations of distribution or trafficking can still result in harsh penalties. Therefore, it is important to take every step possible to protect your rights.

A well-versed drug lawyer can help you fight back. They can advocate for your rights throughout the legal process and build a strong defense to give you the best chance of a positive outcome.

Common Cocaine Offenses

Cocaine under DC law is considered to be a Schedule II controlled substance. Schedule II drugs are considered controlled substances with a high potential for abuse. However, with severe restrictions, they are considered to have some accepted medical use. Most commonly, cocaine is found as a white powdery substance that is snorted. However, it could also be cut with other substances such as ammonia or baking soda to form a controlled substance known as crack cocaine which is the smokable form of powder cocaine.

The treatment of cocaine by judges and prosecutors in DC depends on the circumstances of the possession. Courts and prosecutors have recently become more understanding of drug addiction and therefore are more hesitant to impose significant jail time and other legal consequences on people who suffer from addiction that should be considered a medical disease. As a result, individuals charged with possession for the personal use of cocaine could receive drug treatment through the court. With proper advocacy from a defense lawyer, it is likely that the person may avoid jail time or criminal convictions.

Possession of cocaine with intent to distribute or distribution of cocaine is treated more harshly by the courts and prosecutors compared to the possession of cocaine for personal use. It is possible for someone to be charged with a felony in these situations and to receive harsher prison sentences as a consequence of distribution or the intent to distribute cocaine. A defense lawyer can explain other circumstances to the prosecutors in an effort to minimize more serious felony consequences.

Legal Consequences for Charges in DC

Under DC law, possession of cocaine in powder form, smokable crack form, or other derivatives, is a misdemeanor criminal offense. Possession of cocaine in this instance is a misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of up to 180 days in jail, fines up to $1,000, or both.

When courts and prosecutors determine whether they believe someone had the intent to distribute cocaine as opposed to possessing it for their personal use, the law looks at the circumstances of the possession. That may include the amount of cocaine, the presence of large amounts of cash on the person, and any paraphernalia that could be used to distribute the cocaine such as baggies, or cocaine separated into multiple baggies.

An individual alleged to be in possession of smaller quantities of cocaine is more likely to be charged with possession for personal use instead of possession with intent to distribute. The legal consequences for possession with intent to distribute are higher compared to possession for personal use. If convicted for possession with intent to distribute cocaine in the District of Columbia, an individual faces a maximum 30 years in prison, fines up to $75,000, or both.

An Attorney Can Explain Different DC Cocaine Offenses

There are several offenses a person can face in relation to cocaine depending on the specific circumstances. However, they all carry the potential for harsh penalties. Whether you are facing charges of the possession of cocaine or more serious distribution charges, a dedicated attorney can help. Call today for a free consultation to discuss DC cocaine offenses.