Certain crimes under this act carry stiffer penalties than others. In general, the severity of a particular offense as a violation of the Act correlates with the quantity of the substance, type of drug, and the circumstances surrounding the alleged crime. Seattle drug offenses involving narcotics, such as the possession of heroin or heroin trafficking carry some of the most serious charges and penalties.
Heroin Offenses and Penalties
Heroin is listed as a Schedule I drug according to the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 69.50.204 (b). Schedule I drugs top the list in terms of addictive substances. Crimes related to these drugs, including heroin, carry harsh penalties.
Due to the increased popularity and addictive nature of heroin, lawmakers in Washington have passed laws to punish individuals convicted of heroin-related offenses to the fullest extent possible. All crimes related to the substance are categorized as felonies in Washington. Even the smallest usable narcotic residue left in paraphernalia can land you with a felony charge and conviction. You must understand the specific charges against you and the possible penalties you may face upon conviction for possession of heroin or another related crime.
Simple Possession of Heroin
The State of Washington will charge you with a class C felony for simple possession of a small quantity of heroin. The associated punishments for this crime are as follows:
- Up to five years in prison
- Fines reaching $10,000
However, when more than a small amount of heroin is discovered by law enforcement, or if scales, multiple baggies, or a large amount of cash are also recovered, prosecutors in may charge you with possession with intent to deliver.
Manufacture or Deliver, or Possession with Intent to Manufacture or Deliver Heroin
RCW 69.50.401 lists the penalties for manufacturing, delivering, or possessing with intent to manufacture or deliver heroin. The penalties for these crimes are as follows:
Class B Felony
An offense involving less than two kg:
- 10-year prison sentence
- $25,000 maximum fine
An offense involving two kg or more:
- 10-year prison sentence
- $100,000 maximum fine plus $50 added for every kilogram over the first two
Distribution of Heroin
Distribution charges are also categorized as felonies, but do not carry as severe penalties as other manufacture, delivery, and possession of heroin crimes. Per RCW 69.50.403, a person who distributes heroin intentionally can face the following penalties:
Class C Felony
- Up to two years in prison
- $2,000 in fines
Sale of Heroin
If you are a first time offender convicted of selling heroin, under Washington laws, you face a two-year mandatory minimum and maximum five-year jail sentence.
Several contributing factors to your crime can trigger penalty enhancements, including:
- A firearm was present at the scene of the offense
- You were selling to a minor
- A child was present
- You were in a protected zone (i.e. a school zone) when you committed the crime
- You committed the offense in a correctional facility
Alternatives to Imprisonment
First-time convicted offenders in Washington may have the opportunity to take advantage of options that preclude prison. These include a Drug Offender Sentencing Alternative (DOSA) program, and a diversion program.
Collateral Consequences of a Heroin Conviction
In addition to possible jail time and heavy fines, an individual convicted of a manufacture, delivery, sale, or possession of heroin offense in Washington will have the designation of a convicted felon on their record for life. This conviction will show up on background checks performed by school admission boards and potential employers. As well, a felony conviction can make it difficult to obtain federal funding for school loans and affordable housing. Any money or property that law enforcement believes is connected to the crime can also be seized.
All of these consequences make it vital to contact an experienced heroin crime attorney. Whether the crime involves possession of heroin or heroin trafficking, the consequences of a conviction are long-lasting. A skilled Seattle drug charge attorney with the right experience can potentially mitigate or even remove these penalties and consequences.
Strong Legal Defense Against Your Possession of Heroin Charge
If you are facing a fight with a heroin possession, sale, or trafficking charge, you need a dependable and highly skilled advocate to manage your defense. Emerald City Law Group offers the strong representation you need at this time to achieve an optimum result on your behalf.