In Washington State, drug offenses are considered to be a Violation of the Uniform Controlled Substance Act (VUCSA). Common VUCSA charges include Possession, Distribution, and the Manufacture of Controlled Substances. Controlled substances can be illegal drugs as well as prescription drugs.
WA State has some of the toughest drug laws in the country. The majority of drug offenses are felonies. Factors that impact the seriousness of the charges include:
- The type of drug found
- The amount of the drug in question
- Whether your intent was to use or sell a controlled substance
- Your criminal history
- If a weapon was used or was in your possession
- If the accused person is an adult or juvenile
- Whether the case is in state or federal court
Possession of a controlled substance is a Class C felony, which is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Common drug possession crimes that we defend include:
- Prescription Drugs
In WA State, delivery is loosely defined as the act of giving a controlled substance to another person. There is no requirement that a monetary or barter transaction needs to have taken place. It is quite common for people to be accused of delivery for sharing a drug with a friend or for possessing "too much" of a drug.
In many cases, there is very little that distinguishes a drug dealer from a drug user. If there is an undercover operation or police setup, law enforcement can often times convince a person (who has no intention of selling drugs) to share their drugs.Defending Drug Charges
Often times, evidence from a drug arrest was obtained improperly. The defense can argue that evidence relating to drugs or paraphernalia should be suppressed. Common defenses include:
- The evidence was taken during an illegal search and seizure.
- The defendant was lured into committing a crime that they normally wouldn't commit (entrapment).
- Probable cause to search a person, vehicle, or home was not established.
- The search warrant was obtained or used illegally.
- The evidence was obtained by a police informant (informants normally lack credibility or have questionable motives).
In cases where there is strong evidence against the defendant or a confession was made to the police, hope is not lost. Washington State has a Drug Offender Sentencing Alternative (DOSA) program, First Time Offender Waiver, and a Diversion program. These special programs focus on drug treatment, as an alternative to a long term prison sentence.
Your criminal defense attorney should be experienced with these special programs, as acceptance is not automatic or guaranteed. Depending on the facts of your case, your lawyer should advise you on which programs are available and are good alternatives.Proven Track Record
Cristine Beckwith has a proven track record for winning tough drug cases in Federal and local Washington State courts that include Tacoma, Seattle, Puyallup, Bellevue, and Olympia, WA. She wins many cases by arguing that evidence should be suppressed, based on law enforcement's abuse of search and seizure laws.
Even a small technical issue can result in a case settlement that avoids a felony conviction and the resulting penalties. Cristine's experience as a drug crime lawyer in King, Pierce, and Thurston County can create an important advantage in your case. Call us today for a free and confidential consultation.