The Law Offices of Raymond R. Jones has 18 years of professional litigation experience defending clients against a range of charges, including drug crimes such as the possession of illicit controlled substances or the criminal use of marijuana. Our attorney in Washington D.C. employs aggressive and strategic litigation tactics to put up a strong fight for our clients. You can trust us to handle your defense.
We are here to help protect your interests and tell your side of the story. Contact us today to schedule your free initial consultation.
Illegal Possession, Manufacturing, and Distribution of CDS
The Controlled Substances Act (CSA) organizes illicit controlled substances (CDS) from Schedule I to Schedule V, where Schedule I drugs have the highest danger of abuse and no accepted medical use, and Schedule V drugs have a lower potential for abuse and some accepted medical use.
Some common examples of illegal substances in their respective schedules are:
- Schedule I: Heroin, LSD, ecstasy
- Schedule II: Morphine, fentanyl, oxycodone
- Schedule III: Vicodin, ketamine
- Schedule IV: Xanax, modafinil
- Schedule V: Cough preparations with less than 200 milligrams of codeine
It is important for a defendant to fully understand the charges they face, as the drug schedule will likely determine their sentencing.
Penalties & Sentencing
It is illegal for an individual to knowingly make or sell controlled substances or to possess controlled substances for the purpose of making or selling them, and penalties for a conviction will vary according to the nature of the crime. For instance, if an individual is guilty of manufacturing, distributing, or possessing with intent to make or sell a Schedule I or II narcotic or abusive drug, they could face up to 30 years in prison and/or up to $75,000 in fines. On the other hand, if they are found to be manufacturing, distributing, or possessing with intent to make or sell a Schedule I, II, or III substance that is not a narcotic or abusive drug, then the penalty will be lower at 5 years in prison and/or up to $12,500 in fines. The penalty reduces to 3 years in prison and/or up to $12,500 in fines for Schedule IV drugs and to 1 year in jail and/or up to $2,500 in fines for Schedule V substances.
First-time offenders who have no prior history of drug convictions may be granted probation for up to 1 year instead of the conventional punishment. However, individuals can only have drug charges deferred once.
Drug Crimes Involving Minors
Any adult (over 21 years of age) who distributes CDS to a minor under 18 years of age could face serious penalties, depending on the drug and amount in question. For instance, distributing a Schedule I or II substance to a minor could result in fines up to $75,000 and/or up to 60 years in prison.
Also note that the District of Columbia has “drug-free zones,” including areas within 1,000 feet of schools, daycare centers, public swimming pools, playgrounds, youth centers, libraries, or events sponsored by certain federal and DC government institutions. If an individual commits a drug offense in a drug-free zone, they will face twice the maximum prison sentence and twice the maximum fine for their offense.
Recreational vs. Criminal Marijuana Use
The District of Columbia has specific guidelines for marijuana use outside of the Controlled Substances Act.
Recreational marijuana is legal in Washington D.C., and a person over 21 years old is allowed to:
- Possess up to 2 ounces of marijuana
- Transfer up to 1 ounce of marijuana to another person who is at least 21 years old, so long as there is no payment made or any other type of exchange of goods or services
- Cultivate within their residence up to 6 marijuana plants, no more than 3 of which are mature
- Possess marijuana-related drug paraphernalia (bongs, rolling paper, cigar wrappers) that are associated with up to 1 ounce of marijuana
- Use marijuana on private property
That being said, certain marijuana-related activity is still illegal, and a person can be arrested for:
- Selling any amount of marijuana to another person
- Possessing more than 2 ounces of marijuana
- Operating a vehicle or boat under the influence of marijuana
- Smoking, eating, or drinking marijuana or carrying a lighted roll of paper or other lighted smoking equipment filled with marijuana in any public space, such as any street, sidewalk, alley, park, or parking area, including being in a vehicle in these areas
Additionally, as suggested above, it is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to possess marijuana. If a law enforcement officer sees a person under 21 with up to 2 ounces of marijuana, they may seize the drug, but they will not arrest the person or issue a ticket. If the person under 21 possesses more than 2 ounces of marijuana, they can be arrested.
Medical marijuana use is still acknowledged in the District of Columbia, and a person with a Medical Marijuana Card issued by the District Department of Health may continue to possess up to 2 ounces of medical marijuana per month. However, like recreational marijuana, the use of medical marijuana in public remains a criminal offense and can result in arrest.
It is also important to note that although the District of Columbia has decriminalized possession of up to 2 ounces of marijuana for individuals over the age of 21, federal law continues to prohibit the possession or use of any amount of marijuana. As a result, federal law enforcement officers may arrest anyone in the District of Columbia for possession or use of any amount of marijuana as a violation of federal law. An experienced drug crime lawyer can better help you navigate this nuance in the law.
If you are facing a drug-related accusation, whether for possessing an illicit controlled substance or smoking recreational marijuana in a public place, contact a drug crime lawyer in Washington D.C. for legal guidance immediately. The Law Offices of Raymond R. Jones can examine the facts of your situation and create a strong defense for you to argue mitigated or even dismissed charges.
Schedule a free initial consultation with the Law Offices of Raymond R. Jones today by calling (202) 640-2889 or by contacting us online here.
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