In the District of Columbia, an indictment for possession with intent to distribute (or “PWID”) is a very serious matter. A conviction for PWID carries criminal consequences that can include up to thirty years in prison. A conviction for PWID in D.C. can also involve severe immigration consequences and can affect an individual’s access to housing, employment, and public benefits for the rest of their life.

With such serious consequences, it is crucial to have an attorney fighting for you. The experienced PWID D.C. attorneys at Bruckheim & Patel will work tirelessly to advocate on your behalf to achieve the best results possible. Our attorneys will ensure that your Constitutional rights are protected and will present the strongest legal defense on your behalf. Call Bruckheim & Patel for an initial consultation today.

DC Possession with Intent to Distribute Elements

In order for a person to be convicted of PWID in DC, the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person:

  • Voluntarily, knowingly, and intentionally
  • Possessed
  • A measurable amount of a controlled substance
  • Intending to transfer the controlled substance to another person.

For a PWID conviction, the government is required to prove that the person intended to transfer the substance to another, instead of only possessing it for personal use, which is just a drug possession charge. The government may prove intent by showing quantity (more than personal use), packaging, or possession of dealer-specific drug paraphernalia. Dealer-specific paraphernalia includes items such as a scale, ziplock bags, vials, or a “menu” of prices. On the other hand, user-specific paraphernalia includes items such as a drug pipe, a cocaine freebase kit, or a syringe. The government can also prove intent by showing that the person has history of drug sales or evidence of a drug sale immediately prior to the arrest.

However, the person does not have to actually sell the drug. In fact, the person does not have to even expect that the other person will give him money or services for the drug. Further, the person does not even have to know what kind of drugs they possess. Therefore, as long as the person possessed a drug to transfer to another, the person can be convicted of PWID even if the person intended to give the unknown drug as a gift.

DC Possession with Intent to Distribute Penalties

The penalties for a conviction of D.C. PWID depends on the type of drug in question. Under D.C. law, drugs are classified into five categories called “schedules.” The drug classifications and penalties are determined by the specific drug’s potential for addictiveness and abuse. The most addictive and abused drugs are under Schedule I, and the least addictive and abused drugs are in Schedule V.

Schdeule I, II, III

If a person is convicted of PWID for a Schedule I or Schedule II drug that is considered a “narcotic,” then the sentence can be up to 30 years in prison, a $500,000 fine, or both.

If a person is convicted of PWID for a Schedule I, Schedule II, or Schedule III drug that is not considered a “narcotic,” the sentence can be up to five years in prison, a $50,000 fine, or both.

Schedule I drugs have no current medical use and have the greatest potential for addiction and abuse. Schedule I drugs include:

  • Heroin
  • LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide)
  • Ecstasy (methylenedioxymethamphetamine)
  • Methaqualone
  • Peyote
  • Mescaline

Schedule II drugs are considered to have less potential for abuse than Schedule I drugs, but still are dangerous drugs with high addiction rates. The types of drugs that are included in Schedule II include:

  • Methamphetamine
  • Amphetamine
  • Vicodin
  • Cocaine
  • OxyContin
  • Fentanyl
  • Dexedrine
  • Adderall
  • Ritalin
  • Opium

Schedule III drugs have currently acceptable medical use and lower abuse potential. These drugs are considered to have a low physical risk of addiction, but a high potential for psychological addiction. Drugs included in Schedule III are:

  • Tylenol with codeine
  • Hydrocodone
  • Ketamine
  • Anabolic steroids
  • Testosterone

Schedule IV

A conviction for PWID in D.C. for a Schedule IV drug can result in a sentence of up to three years, a $25,000 fine, or both.

Schedule IV drugs have a moderate to low potential for abuse and addiction. They include:

  • Xanax
  • Valium
  • Ativan
  • Ambien
  • Tramadol

Schedule V

A D.C. PWID conviction for a Schedule V drugs carry criminal sentence of up to one year, a $10,000 fine, or both.

Schedule V drugs have the least abuse and addiction potential. Schedule V drugs include:

  • Lyrica
  • Robitussin AC
  • Phergan with Codeine
  • Ezogabine
  • Motofen

If you have been charged with possession with intent to distribute in the District of Columbia, do not risk your future or your money. You deserve an experienced advocate who will fight for you. Contact the professional DC drug attorneys at Bruckheim & Patel at 202-930-3464. Our DC PWID lawyers can provide you with a free initial consultation today.