Habitual DC Drug Offenses

A drug arrest can be a stressful experience. That experience can be even more stressful if you already have a criminal record. The potential consequences for repeat offenders are often quite severe and could lead to lengthy periods of incarceration and societal stigma. That is why it is important to consult a skilled attorney. If you want to know more about the consequences and penalties for habitual DC drug offenses, consult a capable drug lawyer that could answer your questions.

Differences Between First Offenses and Habitual Offenses

Because drug offenses vary widely in their severity, the difference between a first-time offense and habitual DC drug offenses can also vary widely. When someone has a first-time simple possession charge for a drug like heroin, the chances of them facing jail time is probably not high. In those situations, the defense attorney might argue that the person has a drug problem and could benefit from community service or treatment in exchange for staying out trouble for a certain time. The attorney may arrange for the defendant’s charge to be dismissed in some situations.

Potential for Incarceration

A person facing felony charges of possession with intent to distribute has a higher chance, even on a first offense, of receiving an incarceration period. DC voluntary sentencing guidelines do not recommend lengthy incarceration periods, even for a felony intent to distribute allegation. The sentencing guidelines for distribution or intent to distribute cases allow for the possibility of a probationary period as opposed to incarceration for people with a minimal criminal history.

For people with a more extensive criminal history who face felony charges of distribution or intent to distribute, the sentencing guidelines might recommend an incarceration period. In some situations, the guidelines may recommend that probation is not appropriate and the person should face straight prison time.

Alternatives to Incarceration for Repeat Offenders

A person facing repeat drug possession offenses may have more intensive needs in terms of treatment and consequences that they may face. They might be eligible for drug court which could be an option for a person who might require more intensive treatment options. The person could still be able to have their case dismissed, but in exchange for more intensive out-patient treatment options, or in some cases, even residential in-patient treatment options. A person facing allegations of drug distribution or possession with intent to distribute may not be eligible for those options because prosecutors and judges do not see distribution or intent to distribute because of personal addiction. They see the situation as more of a financial crime than an addiction crime.

Seeking Treatment for Addiction

People that have been charged with habitual DC drug offenses might benefit from drug treatment as an alternative to a lengthier incarceration period which may not be helpful. Even when a person has a lengthy criminal history, it is important for defense attorneys to give the judge or prosecutor a full and comprehensive background on the defendant. The criminal system does not rely solely on prior convictions when deciding on an appropriate sentence.

It is extremely important for defense attorneys to have a full understanding of their potential client’s circumstances. The defense attorney should understand the defendant’s background, their family history, and any mental health issues or past addiction history to argue that the person’s criminal history is not the only thing the judge should consider. As an example, some people facing distribution charges may have addictions of their own and are only distributing to maintain their level of addiction.