Burden of Proof in DC Cocaine Cases

There are certain elements the prosecution needs to be able to prove in any criminal case to be able to find a person guilty. In any case involving cocaine, the prosecution must prove that a person was in possession of cocaine. However, the specific burden of proof in a DC cocaine case depends on the charge involved.

A knowledgeable cocaine offenses attorney can further explain the burden of proof in different cases. They can then work on a plan to dispute the prosecution’s case to give you the best chance of a positive resolution.

How Does the Prosecution Prove Possession in DC?

In a criminal case, the prosecutor is always required to prove that a defendant committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. This means the government bears the burden of proof and the defendant is under no obligation to prove themselves innocent. However, the specific elements a prosecutor needs to prove depend on the particular charges the person faces. For example, when an individual is charged with simple possession of cocaine, the prosecutors need to prove they possessed a measurable amount of cocaine voluntarily and deliberately as opposed to by mistake or accident.

Prosecutors can prove possession in one of two ways, actual possession or constructive possession. Actual possession is when someone has direct physical control of the cocaine. Constructive possession is when an individual does not have direct control over the cocaine and it is not on their person. However, they do have the intention and the ability to exercise control over the cocaine and have knowledge of its presence. An attorney can further explain how prosecutors can establish possession.

The Burden of Proof in Distribution or Intent to Distribute Cases

In a cocaine distribution or possession with intent to distribute case, prosecutors must prove additional elements. In a cocaine possession with intent to distribute case, prosecutors need to prove that the defendant possessed a measurable amount of cocaine voluntarily as opposed to by mistake or accident and, while in possession of the cocaine, had the intent to transfer the cocaine to another person or people.

In a possession of cocaine with intent to distribute case, prosecutors do not need to prove that the individual expected to receive anything of value in return for the cocaine. They are also not required to prove an attempt to sell the cocaine, only that the individual intended to transfer the cocaine to another person or other people. Prosecutors do not even need to prove that the individual being charged actually transferred or was about the transfer the cocaine. They only need to show that the person’s intention was to transfer the cocaine as opposed to possessing it for their own personal use.

On the other hand, in a cocaine distribution case, a prosecutor must prove that a person actually transferred or attempted to transfer cocaine to someone voluntarily and on purpose, as opposed to by mistake or accident. However, prosecutors do not have to prove that the individual being charged received or expected to receive anything in return for the cocaine. They also do not need to prove that the defendant knew the specific controlled substance being transferred. The prosecutors only need prove that the individual knew they were transferring some type of controlled substance.

An Attorney Can Explain The Burden of Proof In DC Cocaine Cases

In the United States, a person is considered innocent until proven guilty. This means that the prosecution must be able to prove all the elements of a charge beyond a reasonable doubt or the court cannot find you guilty. To discuss the burden of proof in DC cocaine cases, call today for a consultation with a knowledgeable attorney.

DC Criminal Lawyer

DC Criminal Lawyer
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Shawn Sukumar Attorney at Law
1826 Jefferson Pl NW
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Washington DC 20036