Articles Posted in Drugs

Driving under the influence for marijuana is the same offense for driving under the influence of alcohol in DC. Its a serious crime in the District of Columbia. For first offenders, DUI charges carry a maximum penalty of 180 days in jail and or a $1,000.00 fine. Having said that, there is no felony DUI charge in DC. That means the offense is a misdemeanor no matter how many times someone gets arrested for it. However, DUI and DWI cases in DC are the only misdemeanors in the entire D.C. Criminal Code that carry mandatory minimum jail sentences for certain aggravating factors.

Mandatory minimum jail sentences require a judge, under the law, to impose jail under certain circumstances. That means the judge could honestly believe the defendant is a saint but, if convicted, under certain circumstances, would have to impose jail. The fact that DUI cases carry potential mandatory minimum sentences, unlike any other misdemeanors in DC, shows how serious the criminal justice system takes DUI charges in DC.

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The answer is complicated but probably not.  In 2015, the District of Columbia City Council passed legislation that legalized marijuana under local law. The legislation codified Proposition 71, which was a voter initiative that the citizens of the District overwhelmingly supported. This paved the way for a new era in marijuana laws in the DC. However, Republicans in Congress have each year interfered with the will of local voters and put a “rider” into a spending bill that blocks the local government from the ability to create a regulatory mechanism for recreational dispensaries.

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dutch-weed-2-jpg-1206038-mMarijuana decriminalization took effect a few weeks ago and its important to know the facts before you spark up. First and foremost, marijuana remains illegal under federal law. There is a good chance that at least the United States Park Police and the Capitol Police—both of which have jurisdiction to make arrests in DC—will continue to make arrests for marijuana possession. Whether the United States Attorney’s Office will then prosecute those arrests in federal district court remains to be seen.

Under District of Columbia law, possession of an ounce or less of marijuana is now punishable by a $25.00 citation. The citation is akin to a speeding ticket. It does not carry possible jail time. That means if the Metropolitan Police Department (or “MPD”)—the District’s local police force—stops you and finds less than one ounce of weed, the officer should only give you a citation and let you on your way. However, smoking marijuana in public remains illegal under both federal and local law. That means if you get caught by any police agency smoking weed in public, you will likely get arrested. The penalty for smoking weed in public is akin to getting arrested for possessing an open container of alcohol.

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