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Arrested for Drugs? Our Attorneys Can Help.

When faced with drug charges, your future is on the line. The legal system is punitive and not necessarily rehabilitative regarding drug crimes and those dealing with addiction. Our Seattle defense lawyers understand and recognize the struggle. We are compassionate and forward-thinking. Our team is dedicated to helping people find a way out –our of legal trouble and the cycle of drug addiction and abuse.

From avoiding jail to reducing drug felonies to misdemeanors and securing treatment instead of custody, contact Emerald City Law Group for true advocacy and results.

Based in Seattle, We Assist People Across Washington and Offer Virtual Consultations. Initial Consultations are Free, Confidential, and We’re Available 24/7 to Answer Your Questions.

Washington Drug Charges We Handle

Being arrested for a drug crime in Washington can be life-altering. Drug convictions affect your freedom, finances, and future opportunities. But remember, you are not alone at Emerald City Law Group.

Our defense attorneys have considerable experience in all types of drug cases and an impressive record of dismissals, acquittals, and otherwise making a positive difference in cases involving:

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Washington Drug Laws – What to Know

When facing a drug charge near Seattle or around King County, understanding what you’re facing can be challenging.

Washington’s drug laws are outlined in Chapter 69.50 of the Revised Code of Washington (RCW). These provisions are complex and designed to differentiate between individual users, large-scale traffickers, and everything in between. As such, the penalties can vary widely based on the nature of the drug crime, the type of controlled substance, the amount in question, and the other factors involved.

The Elements of a Drug Charge

To successfully prosecute someone for a drug offense in Washington, the prosecution must establish certain foundational elements beyond a reasonable doubt. These elements are crucial in determining the nature and severity of the charges and the potential penalties.

The Nature of the Drug

Washington classifies drugs into distinct schedules based on their potential for abuse and accepted medical use. For instance, while marijuana has been legalized for recreational and medicinal use, it still has regulations.

On the other hand, drugs like meth, cocaine, and heroin are deemed to have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use. This classification plays a significant role in determining the consequences of its possession, distribution, or manufacture.

The Amount of Drugs

The quantity of the drug someone possesses is a crucial factor in drug crimes. Possession of small amounts might be interpreted as for personal use, which typically carries less serious penalties.

In contrast, larger quantities imply an intent to distribute or sell them to others, which carries significantly harsher penalties, including potential felony drug charges and longer prison terms.

Your Intent

Washington differentiates between those who possess drugs for personal consumption and those involved in the distribution or sale. Evidence of intent can include large amounts of cash, packaging materials, scales, or communications related to the sale of drugs.

Proving intent can elevate a simple possession charge to a more serious distribution or trafficking charge. This will influence the potential penalties and how aggressively law enforcement will seek a conviction.

Aggravating Factors

The details surrounding a Seattle drug arrest can significantly influence the severity of the charges. For example, if drugs are found near weapons, it can result in additional charges or enhanced penalties. Similarly, committing a drug offense in certain zones, like near schools or parks, can lead to more severe repercussions. Additionally, involving minors in drug activities through sale, distribution, or exposure can elevate charges and result in stiffer punishments.

By understanding the nature of Washington’s drug laws, you can make better, well-informed decisions about your case.

Washington Drug Crime Penalties

Based on the factors discussed, drug charges in Washington are classified as either misdemeanors or felonies.

Misdemeanor Drug Offenses

Misdemeanor drug crimes are less serious than felonies but are still criminal convictions that must be addressed. Misdemeanor drug charges might include possessing a small amount of marijuana or possessing drug paraphernalia. They are further categorized into simple and gross misdemeanors based on severity.

For standard misdemeanor cases, penalties could include up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. Gross misdemeanors can carry up to a 364-day jail sentence and up to $5,000 in fines.

Felony Drug Crimes

Felony drug penalties are much more severe than misdemeanors. Felonies are categorized into three classes based on their severity: Class C, Class B, and Class A.

  • Class C drug felonies are the least severe. These can result in penalties of up to 5 years in prison and fines reaching $10,000. Class C felonies often include possessing controlled substances such as methamphetamine or cocaine without the intent to distribute.
  • Class B drug felonies carry sterner repercussions, with potential sentences of up to 10 years in prison and fines up to $20,000. They typically include crimes like selling or distributing controlled substances or possessing a significant quantity with distribution intentions.
  • Class A drug felonies are the most severe. They can lead to life imprisonment and fines as high as $50,000. Offenses often involve crimes like manufacturing or orchestrating expansive drug trafficking schemes.

Negative Effects of a Drug Conviction

Beyond the immediate penalties like jail and fines, having a drug conviction on your record can disrupt virtually every aspect of your life.

A Drug conviction Can Result In:

  • Driver’s license suspension
  • Issues pursuing or continuing education
  • Employment struggles or job loss
  • Complications or denials in acquiring professional licenses
  • Reduced child custody or visitation rights
  • Immigration status concerns and potential deportation
  • Travel restrictions
  • For felony convictions, loss of firearm rights and voting rights

Drugs Charges in King County – What to Expect

When arrested for a drug-related offense, you may be booked into the local jail, photographed, fingerprinted, and processed. Depending on the circumstances, you might be released if the police believe you are no longer a danger to yourself or others. But sometimes, bail might be required to secure your release in a drug case.

Following your arrest, you must attend an arraignment in one of the superior or district courts, such as Seattle or Kent. Here, you’ll learn of the official charges and enter a plea.

After the arraignment, your attorney will review the police report, consult with you, commence negotiations with the prosecutor, and file any appropriate legal motions. If no resolution is reached, the case may proceed to trial.

Depending on the circumstances, your attorney might recommend that you obtain a drug assessment from a state certified treatment agency and commence any treatment recommended by the counselor. Proactivity in treatment can illustrate to the prosecutor and judge that you are getting education and assistance in getting sober. Treatment compliance as mitigation may lead to a reduction in charges or consideration for diversion or drug court.

Work with a Local Drug Crime Defense Lawyer

The importance of having an experienced drug crime lawyer cannot be overstated. They can review your case, identify weaknesses in the prosecution’s arguments, and develop a tailored defense strategy. This can include challenging the search that resulted in the discovery of the drugs in question, refuting the roadside tests involved, or even securing alternative resolutions to your charges, like a drug diversion program or a private treatment facility.

Defending Against Drug Charges

Being charged with a drug crime is not open and shut, despite what any police officer or prosecutor tells you.

There are numerous strategies that a defense lawyer can employ to contest drug charges or even get them dismissed. Common defenses in drug cases include challenging the search, contesting the admissibility of faulty evidence, questioning the results of lab tests, and arguing that your offense stemmed from your addiction.

It’s crucial to consult with a skilled drug crime defense attorney to ensure every option is explored. While public defenders are competent attorneys, their caseloads often prevent them from giving individual cases the attention they require.

Drug Diversion Programs in Washington

Like other parts of Washington, King County Drug Diversion Court offers a minimum 10-month program for eligible individuals charged with drug and property offenses. This program integrates criminal justice resources, substance use treatment, and community services to enhance community safety and assist participants in rebuilding their lives.

Those with a history of violent crimes, sex offenses, felony assault, or weapon involvement in their case are ineligible. Successful completion of the program, including regular treatments and random drug tests, results in charge dismissal. Failure to complete the conditions of the program results in sentencing based on the initial charge.

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Washington Drug Charges: Info & Resources

Our defense attorneys help you effectively handle drug charges and protect your rights. We hope you find this information helpful. If you have additional questions, call Emerald City Law Group immediately. If you’re facing drug-related charges, the sooner you contact Emerald City Law Group, the better.

Can I Go to Rehab Instead of Jail?

First-time offenders or those with minor charges might be eligible for alternative sentencing or diversion programs focusing on rehabilitation over punishment. This alternative addresses the root causes of drug-related offenses and offers offenders a chance at recovery.

Eligibility often depends on the nature of the crime, prior convictions, and a demonstrated commitment to treatment. It’s essential to consult with a defense attorney to explore this possibility and determine the best course of action.

Can Drug Charges be Expunged in WA?

Some drug charges can be expunged or vacated from your criminal record. In Washington, This means the conviction is removed from public view, allowing for greater opportunities in obtaining employment and housing. However, not all drug convictions qualify, and specific criteria must be met, such as waiting a certain number of years after serving a sentence and having no new criminal charges.

A defense attorney can guide you through the expungement process and assess your eligibility.

Drug-Related License Suspensions

In Washington, your driver’s license can be suspended if you are convicted of a drug crime, even if the offense did not involve driving or your vehicle. For instance, if you are convicted of possession of a controlled substance, your driver’s license may be suspended for up to one year.

Don’t Handle Drug Charges Alone. Call Emerald City.

When you contact the attorneys at Emerald City Law Group, we will immediately jump into action. We will evaluate the evidence against you and identify the strengths and weaknesses of your case.

We’ll poke holes in the case against you and fight to keep your record clean. If you cannot call us immediately, contact a friend or family member to call Emerald City Law Group. We will help them understand the process and get you released.

Emerald City Law Group Will:

  • Listen to your story and investigate your case thoroughly.
  • Discuss your options honestly and clearly.
  • Refer you to get an alcohol and drug evaluation if doing so proactively doing so would benefit your case.
  • Challenge weak evidence and aggressively advocate for you.
  • Keep you informed throughout your case.
  • Work diligently to ensure the best possible result for you.

Attorneys for Drug Offenses Serving Washington – Free Consults 24/7

Emerald City Law Group provides Seattle and the greater Washington area with top-notch legal representation for those facing all levels of drug crimes.

Seattle – Local Areas Served

  • King County – Bellevue, Auburn, Kent, Renton, Federal Way, Kirkland, Redmond, Bothell, Carnation, Duvall, Issaquah, Maple Valley, Mercer Island, Sammamish, Seattle, & Woodinville
  • Snohomish County – Everett, Lynnwood, and Marysville.
  • Pierce County – Tacoma, Puyallup, Gig Harbor, and Lakewood

Greater Washington

  • Grays Harbor
  • Kittitas County
  • Spokane County
  • Cowlitz County
  • Douglas County
  • Mason County
  • Skagit County
  • Thurston County
  • Island County
  • Mason County
  • Grays County
  • Kitsap County
  • Lewis County
  • Whatcom County
  • Whitman County
  • San Juan County