Lessening Penalties for DC Drug Offenses

Drug offenses are prosecuted severely in DC. The prosecution’s strict approach to drug penalties is due to a concern with keeping drugs out of the local community, and with keeping individuals safe. As a result, the penalties for drug offenses can be strict as well. A skilled drug attorney could attempt to lessen the severity of the penalties that you face. If you want to know more about lessening penalties for DC drug offenses, consult a qualified drug lawyer that could answer your question.

Can a Drug Charge Be Dropped?

When a person is initially arrested on drug allegations, the prosecutors in DC need to determine whether they want to file those charges in the first place, this is called a papering decision. A papering decision refers to when prosecutors need to decide whether they want to paper a case, meaning move forward with the charges, or not paper a case, meaning decline to file charges.

In some situations, a person may appear for their initial court hearing and find out that prosecutors have not papered their case. If a person’s case is not papered, that means that he or she has no additional court appearances, has not been charged or convicted of a crime, and is free to go. Papering decisions can be made by prosecutors for any number of reasons. They could be based on a lack of evidence or on factors that only the prosecutors are aware of. But if a person had their case no papered then they can discuss with an attorney the possibility of sealing or expunging their underlying arrest record so that the arrest itself would no longer be a matter of public record.

Alternative Sentencing Options

Because there are many kinds of drug crimes in Washington, DC, the strategies for lessening penalties for DC drug offenses can be different depending on the case. When a person is alleged to be in possession of a small amount of a controlled substance for their own personal use and they have a minimal criminal history, they might be eligible for alternative sentencing options. That includes diversion agreements that consist of community service in exchange for a dismissal.

The person could be eligible for drug court options and might get treatment and randomized drug testing in exchange for a dismissal of their charges. They might be eligible for the possibility of probation without the adjudication of guilt, which is only available for someone facing personal possession of drug charges who was not previously convicted of drug crimes. There other favorable options that can minimize penalties and might result in charges being completely dismissed with no criminal record

Strategies to Minimize Penalties for Felony-Level Distribution

When someone faces allegations of felony-level distribution or intent to distribute, there are different strategies and approaches to lessening penalties for DC drug offenses. When someone faces sentencing because they were found guilty of felony levels drug-related charges, it is important for the defense attorney to help the judge understand the person’s background, their history, family history, and employment history. The judge may consider a holistic idea of the person prior to deciding the most appropriate penalty at sentencing. Defense attorneys need to argue for alternatives to incarceration that can include treatment when appropriate. They can help their client find and maintain stable employment, housing, or other conditions of probation so the person can stay clean and out of trouble.

Arguing for a probationary period in any drug felony is important given that many people facing felony drug offenses did not harm anyone and are not necessarily involved in a violent crime when there is no allegation of possession of a firearm or any other dangerous weapons. The defense attorney could argue that incarceration is not appropriate in a specific situation when that is an appropriate element of minimizing the penalty, in addition to seeking out anything that could maintain their client’s freedom.