Drug crimes are outlined in Washington’s Uniform Controlled Substance Act. This law encompasses dozens of controlled substances, including everything from illicit drugs to legal prescription painkillers. Many drug arrests result in felony charges that carry the potential for harsh penalties.
Being charged with a drug crime in Everett can have a profoundly negative impact on a person’s life. A felony drug conviction may result in jail or prison and thousands of dollars in fines. There also is the impact on a person’s family, career and social standing to consider.
With so much at stake, it is crucial that you have someone on your side who knows Washington’s drug laws inside and out. Below is information to help you understand the charges against you.
What drugs are illegal in Washington?
The Uniform Controlled Substance Act (Chapter 69.50 of the Revised Code of Washington) lists dozens upon dozens of controlled substances. The UCSA includes both illegal drugs and certain legal prescription drugs.
The controlled substances commonly involved in drug crimes include:
- prescription drugs (such as OxyContin, oxycodone, etc.);
- ecstasy, Molly and other “club drugs”;
- hallucinogenic mushrooms; and
Controlled substances are classified into one of five “Schedules” based on the drug’s potential for abuse and other factors. For instance, cocaine is a Schedule I drug, whereas less than 200 milligrams of codeine per 100 milliliters or per 100 grams is a Schedule V drug.
Can I be charged for possessing marijuana in Washington?
The issue of marijuana possession is a source of much confusion in Washington. In November 2012, state Initiative 502 (I-502) was voted into law, decriminalizing the possession and use of recreational marijuana for personal use.
State laws allow an individual to possess up to one ounce of marijuana without criminal penalty or fine. The marijuana must be intended for private, personal consumption. An individual who possesses less than one ounce and commits public consumption will face a $100 civil fine.
Possession of one ounce to 40 grams of marijuana is a misdemeanor crime with penalties of one to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. Possession of more than 40 grams is a felony with the potential for five years’ imprisonment and a $10,000 fine. Your lawyer can examine the facts of your case to determine the likely penalties.
What are the penalties for the conviction of a drug crime?
A drug offense in Washington is classified as a Violation of the Uniform Controlled Substance Act (VUCSA). The penalties for a VUCSA charge range in severity depending on the circumstances of your case.
Influential factors include:
- the type of drug (for instance, whether it was a Schedule I vs. Schedule II, and so on);
- the amount of the drug;
- whether the drug was for personal use or to sell;
- your prior record;
- your age;
- whether you had a weapon in your possession at the time; and
Conviction of a drug crime involving a Schedule I drug – such as cocaine – can result in a prison sentence of up to five years and a $10,000 fine. Your attorney can provide a more detailed outlook on the potential penalties you face.