Emerald City Law Group has an experienced Seattle drug lawyer who can explain your options and help you handle the confusing legal situation. We will listen to your story and evaluate every piece of evidence to help you build the strongest defense possible.
While Washington legalized marijuana use for some adults, it is still illegal to possess, manufacture, and distribute most drugs in the state. Penalties can include time in jail or prison and significant fines as well as consequences in your personal and professional lives. If you’ve been charged with a drug crime, you need an experienced Seattle drug lawyer to help you navigate the criminal court process.
Call an experienced drug defense lawyer in Seattle today at 206-973-0407 to find out how we can help you.
Washington Drug Charges
According to data from the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs, more than 9,000 people were arrested in Washington in 2015 for drug violations. Those 9,000 arrests accounted for more than 14,000 charges. Crimes ranged from possession to cultivating and manufacturing, and included substances ranging from marijuana and hallucinogens to heroin and methamphetamine.
When you’re facing a drug charge near Seattle or around King County, it can be difficult to know what exactly you’re facing and what the potential penalties could be. In Washington, many factors are at play in determining how you are charged with a drug crime. Important factors in the equation include:
- The type of drug involved
- The amount of the drug in a person’s possession
- Whether the drug was for personal use or sale
- The criminal record of the defendant
- Whether other crimes were committed during or because of the drug crime
- Whether a weapon was involved or in possession during the crime
Common Drugs Charges in Washington
Common drug charges in Washington that will require legal help from an experienced Seattle drug lawyer in order to avoid the worst of these penalties involve:
- Drug Trafficking – If you are charged with the distribution of an illegal substance, then you may face a felony charge that can result in incarceration and fines. Additionally, your property may be confiscated as evidence. We can help you deal with this situation and make sure your rights are respected.
- Drug Paraphernalia – The possession of instruments used to plant, cultivate, grow, manufacture, ingest, or otherwise create or use drugs is illegal and can result in a gross misdemeanor or misdemeanor charge. Penalties may be more severe if charges involve minors.
- Marijuana Crimes – The use and possession of small amounts of marijuana may have been legalized in Washington, but that doesn’t mean that there are no crimes or charges related to the substance. Marijuana, like alcohol, is strictly regulated.
- Methamphetamine Crimes – According to the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs, King County – and Seattle in particular – contains more methamphetamine than most areas in the United States. Possessing methamphetamine is considered a class C felony, and is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Larger amounts and other circumstances can add up to a higher level felony offense.
- Prescription Drug Crimes – Possessing or selling prescription drugs – like Xanax or Oxycodone – without a legal prescription can carry serious penalties in Washington. And when a charge alleges the sale, delivery, or possession with intent to sell or deliver, the penalty could become a class B felony, which could result in 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.
- Heroin Crimes – Heroin is a serious problem throughout the United States. Like methamphetamine, simple possession of heroin can result in a class C felony. But with larger amounts or intent to distribute, the charge can become a class B felony.
VUCSA Crime Penalties
In Washington, most drug-related charges fall under the category of Violations of the Uniform Controlled Substance Act (VUCSA). VUCSA offenses carry specific punishments and charges and can involve both controlled substances like heroin and prescription drugs used illegally. Whether misdemeanors or felonies, VUCSA offenses can come with a significant punishment, including years in prison.
VUCSA charges are classified as either misdemeanors or felonies. The charge may be either a misdemeanor or a gross misdemeanor. For standard misdemeanor cases, penalties could include up to 90 days in jail and up to a $1,000 fine. Gross misdemeanors can carry up to a 364-day jail sentence and up to $5,000 in fines.
Felony penalties are much more severe. Felony charges are broken into three categories of charges with maximum sentences:
- Class A felony – Up to life in prison and a $50,000 fine
- Class B felony – Up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine
- Class C felony – Up to 5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine
Collateral Consequences of a Drug Conviction
In addition to criminal consequences, a drug conviction can impact your life in other ways. With a permanent criminal record, you may have to face consequences in your personal life as well as your professional career, including:
- Negative reputation in the community
- Restricted gun ownership rights
- Inability to vote as a felon
- Restriction from traveling to foreign countries
- Removal of professional licenses
- Impact on immigration status
- Child custody and visitation restrictions
Fighting Seattle Drug Charges
When charged with a VUCSA offense, you will be arrested and enter the criminal justice system. Throughout the VUCSA court process, you have rights. You need an experienced Seattle drug lawyer who will make sure your rights are respected. Emerald City Law Group will help you fight drug charges to have them reduced or dismissed, if possible.
Possible defenses to your charges may include:
- The search and seizure was unlawful
- The substance involved was misidentified
- Crime lab analysis is inaccurate
- You did not actually possess the substance
- The drugs belonged to someone else
- You were the victim of entrapment
- The drugs were planted
Talk to a Seattle a Seattle Drug Defense Lawyer
These defenses can be used to have your charges dismissed or to have evidence withheld from the case in order to weaken the prosecution’s case. At Emerald City Law Group, one of our experienced Seattle criminal defense attorneys will evaluate every aspect of your arrest, questioning, and charges to determine how to best fight for you.
A Seattle Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help
No matter the charges or accusations – You deserve an aggressive defense.
When people are ill-prepared for the criminal justice system or take their situation too lightly, the consequences are often dire and in most cases, permanent. By working with a King County criminal defense lawyer from Emerald City Law Group, you can rely on a personalized and proactive approach to your case, so every issue is addressed and you obtain the best possible outcome.
If you have been charged with a crime in or around King County, Washington, Emerald City Law Group should be your next call. 206-973-0407