If police accuse a person of transferring or attempting to transfer an illegal drug to another in the District of Columbia, then they may be charged with distribution. If that person is found guilty or pleads guilty, that individual may be imprisoned for up to thirty years if the drug in question is, among others, heroin, cocaine, PCP, or methamphetamine. Therefore, the consequences of a DC drug distribution conviction can have very serious consequences for that person’s freedom and future.
An experienced DC drug distribution attorney will be able to evaluate the case to determine any legal arguments dealing with the facts of the case, any violations of constitutional rights, or the government’s actions during the course of the case. The professional and skilled lawyers at Bruckheim & Patel have significant experience defending drug distribution cases. If you have been charged or indicted for a drug distribution charge in the District of Columbia, call Bruckheim & Patel to ensure that you have competent DC distribution lawyers fighting for you.
Elements of DC Drug Distribution
In order for a person to be convicted of distribution of a controlled substance in the District of Columbia, the government must prove certain facts.
First, the government must prove that a controlled substance was involved. Under D.C. law, the term “controlled substance” includes commonly known drugs such as heroin, PCP, and methamphetamine, as well as the compounds used to manufacture the drugs. The government is required to prove that there was a measurable amount of the controlled substance. A “measurable amount” means that there is enough for a professional drug chemist to quantify and examine.
Second, the government must prove that the person distributed the controlled substance by transferring or attempting to transfer the substance to another. It is important to note that the government does not have to show that the person received or expected to receive anything in return. Therefore, this element is still satisfied even if the person was giving the drugs as a gift without payment to the other person.
Finally, the government has to prove that the person distributed the controlled substances voluntarily and intentionally. Basically, a person has to choose to give a controlled substance to another. If a person only transfers the controlled substance because they are under duress (example: another person is threatening their life or someone else’s life), then this intent element may not be met. Similarly, if a person is simply told to give a package to another – and does not know that the package contains drugs – this element may also not be met. The person must have intentionally chosen to transfer drugs by their own volition. However, it is not necessary for the person to know exactly which type of drug is being transferred.
If the government is able to prove all three of these elements, the person may be convicted of D.C. Distribution of a Controlled Substance.
Penalties for DC Controlled Substance Distribution
If a person is convicted of distribution of a controlled substance in the District of Columbia, the penalties depend on the type of drug involved in the case. There are five schedules of drug classifications. The schedule that the drug is classified under depends on the severity of the potential for addiction and abuse. Schedule I drugs are considered the most dangerous because they have the highest potential for abuse and addiction.
The sentencing penalties are more severe for controlled substances that are considered narcotic drugs or abusive drugs. Examples of narcotic drugs include: opium, cocaine, and ecgogine. Examples of abusive drugs include: Phencyclidine (PCP), Methamphetamine, and Phenmatrazine (Preludin).
If the drug is considered a narcotic drug or abusive drug and is categorized in Schedule I or Schedule II, a conviction for distribution of that drug can result in a prison sentence of up to 30 years and/or a fine up to $500,000.
If a drug is not considered a narcotic or abusive drug and the drug is categorized in Schedule I, Schedule II, or Schedule III, the maximum sentence that a person can receive for a distribution conviction is imprisonment of five years and/or a fine of $50,000.
If a drug is classified in Schedule IV, a conviction can result in a maximum sentence of imprisonment for three years and/or a fine of $25,000.
If a drug is in the last classification, Schedule V, then a person upon conviction can be imprisoned for a maximum of three years and/or fined up to $25,000.
If you or someone you know has been charged with distribution of a controlled substance in the District of Columbia, you need to make sure that you put your money and future in capable hands. Contact the experienced distribution attorneys at Bruckheim & Patel to ensure that you have an experienced advocate on your side. Call (202) 930-3464 today for a free distribution case consultation.