Criminal Lawyer discusses distribution of drug and-or possession with intent to distribute drugs in DC. Possession and/or distribution of illegal narcotics in the District of Columbia. Criminal Lawyer gives the basic or elements needed to prove.
Good afternoon ladies and gentleman. My name is Mark Rollins and I’m an attorney here in Washington, D.C. I’m also licensed in the state of Maryland. Today I want you to join me and we’re going to talk about distribution of controlled substances in D.C. In order to be convicted of a controlled substance in D.C. three things must be met. The government must meet these three things in order to convict an individual of distribution or possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance in D. C.
First is the person has to knowingly or intentionally have the drug on them. That means there must be a… You must have, and let’s pretend the phone is the drug. It means that you must actually knowingly and intentionally possess that drug. In this case we’re going to say it is the phone.
The other element is that the person has to distribute the drug. If I took my phone, and again we’re pretending the phone is the drug, and I pass it to my friend Johnny, that’s all that’s required for distribution of controlled substance. If, in fact, the phone is the drug, now I know it’s not the drug.
In order to be convicted of that, if I simply pass it or let’s just use a more common scenario, the person’s actually is smoking a joint and he passes that joint to Johnny, his friend. He could now be convicted of distribution of a controlled substance because, in fact, he passed the joint from Johnny to his friend.
Now, how else would we find another scenario like this? That’s possession with intent to distribute. Possession with intent to distribute means that, let’s pretend this is the drug and let’s pretend that this is a lot of the drug, and it’s individually packaged up in such a way that shows the person who’s possessing it has the intent to distribute it.
How does the government present that case out? They usually put an expert witness on. That expert witness is typically a police officer who has served in an undercover capacity and now he actually works as an expert witness as a detective who gets on the stand and testifies and says that this amount, the amount of drugs that’s laid out, again we’re pretending the phone is the drug. He takes this amount and he says, “That amount is more consistent with someone selling than it is with someone distributing.” That’s basically how the government makes out its case for possession with intent to distribute. Remember in possession with intent to distribute the drugs don’t have to be found on the person. They could be constructive possessed as you would have seen in one of our other videos.
Let’s say they did not find the drugs on the individual and the detective will get on the stand and he will say, “Well that amount is more consistent with an individual who’s trying to distribute the drug.” That’s typically how the government makes out the case. Now there are two, three, or four major drugs in the city that are distributed. We have cocaine, heroin, PCP, and marijuana. Three of those drugs, PCP, marijuana, and cocaine are all what they call schedule I substances. They all carry the maximum penalty, which is 30 years and/or a $500,000 fine.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that’s what the individual gets because there are sentencing guidelines and there will be another video on that to discuss sentencing guidelines. Marijuana, being the lowest of them, even a felony possession with intent to distribute marijuana carries a maximum penalty of five years and/or a $5,000 fine.
I hope this helps in discussing what distribution and possession with intent to distribute drugs in the city and I hope it helps you understand that. Again, if you want more help the phone number is on the screen. Simply call us and we’ll be more than happy to discuss your case with you and discuss possible defenses with you. Give us a call and we’ll be more than happy to talk with you.
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