Washington DC Federal Drug Possession Attorney
The possession of illegal drugs is both a state and a federal crime. If an individual is caught in possession of illegal drugs and is arrested, they would likely face drug possession charges. In many cases, individuals charged for the possession of controlled substances were arrested by local law enforcement and are therefore charged by the state.
Because drug possession is both a state and a federal offense, individuals can be charged with either state or federal charges. While many state drug possession cases may be charged as a misdemeanor, all federal drug charges are felonies. Individuals convicted of federal drug crimes would likely face a serious mandatory minimum sentence, with no chance of parole. Federal drug possession convictions carry serious penalties and prison sentencing, even if the individual was caught with relatively small amounts of the illegal substance.
If you are facing serious drug possession charges, contact the Washington DC federal drug possession attorneys at Boyle and Jasari to discuss the unique facts of your case.
Why Choose Boyle and Jasari?
Attorney Dennis Boyle is an accomplished white collar and criminal lawyer. Practicing in state, federal, and international courts, he has won many landmark victories in cases of constitutional law, civil procedure, commercial litigation, and professional negligence.
Attorney Boyle has served over a decade as a prosecutor, formerly serving as a Navy Judge Advocate, First Assistant District Attorney, and a Special Assistant US Attorney. He has received several achievements and recognition in his long career. Most notably, he has received the Nationally Ranked Top Ten Attorney’s Award, the American Bar Association Award for Professional Merit, and is listed as a Super Lawyer in Washington DC from 2011-present. Attorney Boyle is certified as a criminal trial specialist by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. He has tried over 200 jury trials to verdict in state and federal courts throughout the United States. Also, he is admitted to practice before the International Criminal Court in Hague, Netherlands.
Throughout his career, he has defended against numerous allegations, including murder, wire fraud and mail fraud, health care fraud, money laundering, tax fraud and invasion, banking fraud, violations of Espionage statutes.
His extensive knowledge of criminal and white collar criminal offenses is well-known in the legal world. He often lectures at national and international locations on the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, Bank Act, and Anti-Money Laundering.
Federal Drug Charges Need an Experienced Federal Drug Possession Lawyers in Washington DC
At Boyle and Jasari, our Washington DC federal drug possession attorneys are experienced trial lawyers skilled in complex federal and white collar crimes. If you or someone you know suspects they are the target of a drug crime investigation for possession of an illegal or controlled substance, do not wait for charges to be filed. Consult with our talented defense team to see what action you can take preemptively. There may be strategies a federal drug crime defense attorney can take now to refute existing allegations, especially if the prosecution has not completed their investigation. If you have already been charged with drug possession, we can help mitigate the damaging consequences to your reputation while constructing a successful defense.
Federal drug possession is complex and your defense can be equally as dense. Only an experienced lawyer with expertise in complex litigation can comb through your case’s factual and circumstantial development for critical evidence that may clear your name.
Charges of illegal drug and controlled substance possession can be ambiguous. For example, a law enforcement agency may wish to charge possession with intent to sell, a felony offense. However, due to the prevailing evidence being circumstantial, they may not have enough to charge for intent to sell and settle for a simple possession charge, instead.
Federal Drug Possession Charges
Individuals can be charged with federal drug possession charges if they were arrested for one of the following:
- Simple possession: An individual could be charged with simple possession if caught with illegal drugs or prescription medications without a valid prescription, in amounts significant for personal consumption or sale. Simple possession usually involves possession of smaller amounts of drugs intended for personal use or sale only. Simple possession can be proven if you are caught with controlled substances on your person, such as having illegal drugs in your pocket or glove compartment.
- Constructive possession: Individuals can be charged with constructive possession even if the drugs were not found on their person but were found in an area under their control, such as in a home, office, locker, or vehicle. This is often the theory when people are pulled over and charged for drugs found in their cars.
- Possession with intent to distribute: If an individual is found in possession of larger quantities of illegal drugs, more than for individual use, they could be charged with possession with intent to distribute. Individuals found in possession of large quantities of controlled substances can incur distribution charges even if they are not caught in the act of selling or delivering illegal drugs. Possession with intent to distribute is a more serious charge than either simple possession or constructive possession, and convictions carry a heavier sentence.
- Marijuana possession: Although 33 states have decriminalized the use of medical marijuana as of 2021, and many of them have even legalized marijuana products for recreational use, marijuana is still considered a Schedule 1 drug under US federal law. Illegal possession, distribution, or growing of marijuana can result in federal charges in some situations.
Federal vs. State Drug Charges
Federal drug convictions can result in strict penalties, fines, and sentencing. Penalties increase substantially if a person was seriously injured or killed because of illegal drugs or relating to the incident leading to the arrest. Penalties, fines, and sentencing also increase after the first offense. Harsher penalties may apply if drugs are smuggled into the US from countries such as Panama, Mexico, Guatemala, or Colombia. Federal drug possession charges can result in several penalties, including the following:
- The loss of federal benefits. This includes subsidized housing, scholarships, grants, licenses, and student loans. Individuals convicted of federal drug possession charges can suffer the loss of benefits for up to 1 year for the first offense and up to 5 years for subsequent offenses.
- Prison time. Persons convicted of federal drug possession charges can face penalties of one year in prison and a $1,000 fine. Second offense convictions can face penalties of no less than 2 years in prison and a $2,500 fine. Convictions for subsequent federal drug possession charges face increased prison time and higher fines.
- Civil Penalties. Persons charged by the federal court for the possession of controlled substances might pay fines of up to $10,000, even if criminal prosecution is not pursued. These individuals may also receive fines for the cost of the investigation and the prosecution.
There are several drugs that incur stricter penalties than others. For example, simple possession of Flunitrazepam or “roofies,” as they are more commonly known, can result in a three-year prison sentence and substantial fines.
Federal Drug Categories
Controlled substances are divided into several categories by the Controlled Substance Act (CSA). These categories are called Schedules. Illegal drugs are grouped into Schedules according to their perceived potential for abuse, medical use, safety, and other factors. The government controls the sale, use, and distribution of controlled substances.
- Schedule 1: Highly addictive substances, including LSD, methaqualone, heroin, ecstasy, and marijuana.
- Schedule 2: Highly addictive but have some accepted medical uses. Drugs in this category include PCP, morphine, and cocaine.
- Schedule 3: Some accepted medical uses. Not highly addictive and have lower potential for abuse. Drugs in this category include codeine, anabolic steroids, some barbiturates, and hydrocodone
- Schedule 4: Regular medical use. Low potential for abuse. Schedule 4 substances include Xanax and Valium, as well as most other benzodiazepines
- Schedule 5: Accepted medical use and low potential for abuse. These drugs include prescription cough meds containing codeine and cough meds sold over the counter.
Individuals caught with any of these Scheduled drugs on their person or otherwise in their possession may face either state or federal drug possession charges, or both.
Federal Drug Possession Defense
There are several strategies skilled criminal defense attorneys might use when defending an individual against federal charges. Defense strategies will vary depending on the circumstances and details of the case. However, some defenses tactics which your attorney might use include:
- Violation of Fourth Amendment search and seizure laws. A criminal defense attorney may be able to prove that police, in their haste to secure an arrest, did not obtain all necessary warrants before conducting their search and seizure. In this case, the evidence found during the arrest would be inadmissible and disregarded by the court, and the charges would be dropped.
- The defendant was not in possession of the drugs. In some cases, an attorney may be able to prove that the defendant was not in possession of the drugs or was not aware of their presence. This defense is most effective against constructive possession charges.
- The drugs belonged to someone else. Another possible defense strategy is proving that the drugs found on the individual’s property (home, vehicle, etc.) belonged to another person.
If you or someone you know is facing federal drug possession charges, the penalties for conviction are strict. Federal drug convictions do not have parole, and most people convicted at the federal level serve their full prison sentence. To avoid these serious consequences, it is crucial to find a skilled criminal defense attorney with experience practicing law in the federal court. Boyle and Jasari has defended over 200 federal jury cases and has the knowledge and expertise necessary to handle your case.
Contact Boyle and Jasari Today
If you are up against the federal government in court, you cannot afford to do it on your own or with a lawyer who is not committed to your case. Seek out the Washington DC federal drug possession lawyers at Boyle and Jasari as your legal advocate and partner during this difficult time.
The long-term repercussions of federal drug possession charges can have a significant impact on your reputation and career, even without a conviction. A person can lose their property and their business. Suspicion of criminal activity is enough to derail a person’s future severely.
The dedicated team at Boyle and Jasari, focuses their defense strategies on the best possible outcome for their clients. Attorney Dennis Boyle uses his expertise in complex criminal defense to safeguard clients’ reputations and protect their freedom.