No papered: A Washington DC DUI Blog

Recent Changes in DC Cannabis Law

By way of quick background, the District of Columbia legalized possession of small amounts of cannabis in 2015 after the infamous Initiative 71 or I71 passed overwhelmingly and the city’s locally elected officials implemented the law.  This legislation opened the door to the creation of a massive unregulated gray market for cannabis distribution. While the law legalized, under local law, consumption and possession, it did not create a legal mechanism for sales and distribution. The fact that the law permitted gifting created a loophole where businesses would open and sell consumer products–things like stickers, lighters, t-shirts, and art and would gift quantities of cannabis once the customer purchased the non-cannabis item.  Deliveries and even retail brick and mortars sprung up across the city all operating pseudo legitimate businesses while gifting cannabis. Congressional Interference So, why was such a counter intuitive law passed?  In short, Congress. Our congressional...

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Common Federal Charges in the Aftermath of the January 6th Capitol Riot

As a criminal defense attorney representing those charged with offenses related to the January 6th riots, it is crucial to stay abreast of the legal developments in this area. This includes becoming familiar with the most commonly charged crimes faced by those involved. Federal prosecutors have vigorously pursued January 6th participants, using all of the legal tools at their disposal to obtain convictions.  Below are the most common criminal charges brought against the January 5th participants, and the legal implications for those accused. 18 U.S.C. § 1752 - Unlawful Entry or Remaining in Restricted Building or Grounds One of the most commonly charged crimes against those present at the Capitol on January 6th, is trespassing on restricted buildings or grounds under 18 U.S.C. § 1752. This statute makes it a federal offense to knowingly enter or remain in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority. The Capitol building and its grounds are considered restricted areas,...

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Understanding Firearm Transportation Laws in Washington, D.C.: A Guide for Gun Owners Inside and Outside the District

Gun ownership comes with its own set of responsibilities, and when you are a gun owner residing outside or inside Washington, D.C., navigating the city's stringent firearm laws can be a challenge. Not knowing the District’s  law can easily lead to a law-abiding citizen in one state becoming a felon within D.C. The purpose of this blog is to explore the ins and outs of bringing a firearm that is registered in another jurisdiction into the District and the legal landscape surrounding this type of firearm transportation. Is it Illegal to Carry an Unlicensed Firearm in Washington, D.C.? The short answer is yes. One of the critical aspects of D.C.'s firearm laws is the criminal statute, D.C. § 22–4504, specifically addressing carrying a pistol without a license (CPWL). This statute is at the core of ensuring responsible and legal firearm ownership within the District. In D.C., it is a felony to carry a pistol without a license. If you are arrested for this charge the consequences can be...

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Navigating DUI Charges in Washington, D.C.: Finding the Best Defense Lawyer

Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charges can be daunting, and facing such legal consequences in Washington, D.C. requires a strategic and knowledgeable approach. If you find yourself in this challenging situation, the first crucial step is to secure the services of the best defense lawyer for DUI charges in DC. In this blog post, we will explore the intricacies of DUI cases in the District of Columbia, the penalties for DUI convictions, including mandatory minimums, and guide you on how to choose the right legal representation. Understanding DUI Laws in Washington, D.C.: DUI offenses in Washington, D.C. are governed by DC Code section 50-2206.11. According to this statute, it is illegal for any person to operate a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The legal limit for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in the District is 0.08%, but lower limits may apply for commercial drivers or those under the legal drinking age. What are Mandatory Minimums and When do they Apply? DUI...

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Defending Against Domestic Violence Allegations in Washington, D.C.: A Comprehensive Guide

Understanding the Rules and the Players Facing domestic violence allegations in Washington, D.C. is a serious matter with significant legal and personal repercussions. The city's legal system takes these cases seriously, and it is essential to navigate the complexities effectively. Domestic violence in Washington, D.C. is broadly defined as offenses including assault, battery, stalking, and threats when they occur within intra-family or household relationships. These relationships encompass not only blood relatives but also individuals sharing a residence, reflecting the city's commitment to addressing violence within close-knit units. A.  Prosecution of Domestic Violence Matters in Washington, D.C. The Office of the Attorney General's Domestic Violence Unit is dedicated to handling cases related to domestic violence. The prosecutors in this unit are tenacious and highly experienced in navigating the unique challenges associated with these matters, bringing charges against...

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Understanding Anti-Stalking Orders in Washington, D.C.: Seeking Protection

Stalking is a pervasive issue that affects the lives of many individuals. In Washington, D.C., the legal framework for addressing stalking is outlined in D.C. Code Section 22-3133. This Scrofano Law blog post will explore the specific elements that constitute stalking under this section and shed light on the process of obtaining Anti-Stalking Orders to protect individuals from this intrusive and harmful behavior. What is stalking in Washington, D.C. Stalking, as defined in D.C. Code Section 22-3133, involves “a pattern of repeated and unwanted attention, harassment, contact, or any other behavior directed at a specific person.” To constitute stalking, certain key elements must be present. These elements include:       Repetition and Pattern.       Unwanted Attention or Harassment.       Reasonable Fear.       Intent: and       Substantial Emotional Distress Repetition and Pattern:  Stalking is characterized by a repeated course of conduct. A one-time occurrence may not qualify as...

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Understanding Federal Drug Conspiracy Charges

Federal drug conspiracy charges carry severe consequences for those convicted, including lengthy prison sentences and possibly large monetary fines. The United States government takes a strong stance against drug-related offenses, and federal law enforcement agencies, including the FBI and DEA, have almost unlimited resources to combat drug trafficking and distribution. Whether you are a supplier or a distributor, federal drug conspiracy statutes allow the government to cast a wide net to capture anyone involved in the drug network. Drug conspiracy charges are particularly challenging, as they involve allegations of collaboration among individuals to commit drug-related offenses. What is a federal drug conspiracy offense? A federal drug conspiracy charge essentially accuses individuals of acting together to commit a drug-related offense. Unlike other criminal charges, a conspiracy charge doesn't require the actual commission of the underlying crime. Instead, the prosecution must...

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What is Misdemeanor Sexual Abuse in the District of Columbia?

In the District of Columbia, a common albeit less serious sexual offense is a crime called Misdemeanor Sexual Abuse (or “MSA”).  Like most misdemeanors in the District, the charge is not jury demandable.  That means a judge, not a jury, will decide guilt or innocence if an individual is charged with MSA.  These cases can be difficult for all parties involved because they typically involve serious allegations, are sexual in nature, and have the potential to cause a great deal of trauma for an individual victim of the abuse and for any individual falsely accused.   What are the Elements of Misdemeanor Sexual Abuse?   The D.C. Code defines Misdemeanor Sexual Abuse as engaging in a sexual act or sexual contact with another individual.  The law requires that the defendant should have knowledge or reason to know that it was done without the other person’s permission.  The maximum penalty for the offense is 180 days and/or a $1,000.00 fine.  Accordingly, like most misdemeanors in...

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A Surprising Take on the Supreme Court’s Bruen Decision

On June 23, 2022, the Supreme Court held 6-3 in NY Pistol & Rifle Association v. Bruen that New York’s proper cause requirement for obtaining a concealed carry license was unconstitutional. The case brought together some unlikely allies in challenging New York’s law.  For example, several progressive public defender organizations like the Black Attorneys of Legal Aid, the Bronx Defenders, and the Brooklyn Defender Services filed an amicus brief in support of the NRA’s brief. In this blog, I will explain why public defender organizations filed briefs supporting the NRA’s position, explain the Supreme Court’s ruling, and discuss how it may affect gun laws in the District of Columbia and Maryland. In Bruen, the Supreme Court held that New York’s proper-cause requirement violated the constitution because it prevented law-abiding citizens with normal self defense needs from exercising their Second Amendment rights, which the Court found included carrying in public for self defense...

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The Right to Speedy Trial in Maryland

Maryland has favorable speedy trial laws that could benefit your case. You are guaranteed the right to a speedy trial by the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and Article 21 of the Maryland Declaration of Rights. In addition, Maryland Rule 4-271 requires that a trial date in the Circuit Court be set within 30 days of the entry of an attorney's appearance or the initial appearance of the defendant, whichever happens first. Trial must occur within 180 days of the earlier of counsel's appearance or the defendant's initial appearance in the Circuit Court.  This is known as the Hicks date.  While the Hicks rule is clear on its face, the rule may be waived upon a showing of good cause to continue a trial date beyond 180 days.  This could apply to the defense or the prosecution.  For example, a witness for the prosecution may be on active military duty and will not return until after the Hicks date.  In that case, a judge would likely find good cause to continue the trial beyond 180...

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Scrofano Law PC

At Scrofano Law PC, we believe in three simple principles. Honesty. We are always honest to our clients. We will never force or manipulate you to plead guilty or try to convince you to do something…

Martindale Hubbell Joseph Scrofano 2018