Anyone charged with a drug crime can be prosecuted at the state or local levels. Sentencing for a Washington, D.C. drug violation is generally determined by a complex series of guidelines. But, judges do have latitude in their decisions—an experienced drug crime lawyer can often help clients obtain reduced sentences through various means.
Whether prosecution occurs at the federal or local level, every drug crime is treated seriously. Those convicted often see very harsh sentences, including substantial jail time.
The factors for sentencing
At either level, those convicted of a Washington, D.C. drug offense are penalized based on a complex system of sentencing that is based on many factors, including the following:
- The type of crime: Drug possession tends to carry less significant sentences than any large scale crimes, including crimes involving the manufacture or distribution of drugs—especially to children.
- The quantity of drug: Especially in the case of marijuana possession, sentencing for a drug offense considers the amount of drugs involved. Both district and federal courts consider larger quantities to be indicators of the intent of an offender to distribute drugs, causing harsher sentences.
- The type of drug: Any drug violation involving marijuana is likely to carry a lesser sentence than the same violation involving serious drugs, such as cocaine or heroin. Drug crime laws look at the likelihood of addiction and other considerations that indicate involvement with serious drugs as a more serious crime.
- Cooperation by the offender: It is possible for an individual convicted for participating in a large-scale drug violation to obtain a reduced sentence—or even immunity from prosecution—when he or she is able to provide valuable information to law enforcement that helps break up drug rings or otherwise helps in the prosecution of major players.
An experienced attorney is needed for an effective defense
Anyone charged with drug crimes is well-advised to retain a highly-experienced drug crime defense lawyer. A skilled attorney understands the complex federal and Washington, D.C. drug crime laws. He or she knows how to effectively negotiate with the prosecution to reduce charges, and is a skilled courtroom litigator in this specialized area of the law. Contact Lotze Mosley, LLP to schedule an initial appointment to discuss your situation as soon as you are investigated or charged with a crime.