Penalties: Simple Possession of Illegal Drugs

by Jamison Koehler on October 5, 2009

The maximum penalty for a first conviction of simple possession in the District of Columbia, regardless of the substance involved, is 180 days of incarceration, with a maximum fine of $1000. The maximum penalty for a second or subsequent conviction would be double that – a maximum of 360 days of incarceration and a $2000 fine.

If the person found guilty of simple possession has never been convicted of a drug offense before, either in D.C. or in any other state, the court can put the person on probation for up to a year and defer an adjudication of guilt. If the person successfully completes the probationary period, the court can dismiss the case, and the person can have the arrest completely expunged from his/her record. The court can also dismiss the case early, before the expiration of the probationary period, if the person seems to be doing very well. If, however, the person violates probation, the court can enter an adjudication of guilty without any further proceedings and sentence the person accordingly.

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