Drug Crimes and Penalties in Washington State

While marijuana possession (of up to one ounce) has been legalized in Washington State, users still sometimes find themselves confronted with legal trouble. Knowing your rights is always important when using recreational drugs, as these lines can be tricky to navigate.

Beyond Marijuana Possession

If you are in possession of marijuana under the legal age of 21, caught smoking in public, in possession of more than an ounce, or are found selling the drug without proper licensing, you can find yourself spending the night or longer in a jail cell. For drugs other than legalized cannabis, you will be smacked with a felony charge regardless of the amount you’re found with. This charge, known as “possession of a controlled substance”, can lead to a $10,000 fine, a Class C felony and can carry up to five years in prison.

Defense Options for Drug Charges

In some instances, offenders may be eligible for one of Washington State’s “drug court” programs. These are an opportunity to undergo drug treatment instead of jail, and could result in your case getting dismissed.

Another Washington program, the Drug Offender Sentencing Alternative (“DOSA”), is one that can reduce your jail-time significantly, like up to 50%. The second half of your jail sentence could be spent out of custody, like outpatient treatment monitoring or perhaps Community Supervision.

Challenging the Search Warrant

Each American citizen is protected from unreasonable search and seizure under the Fourth Amendment. A search warrant cannot be obtained without a law officer following certain steps. Because this process can get lengthy, many law enforcement officers rely on the detainee’s lack of knowledge of their rights when arranging the search.

While an improper search may have resulted in an arrest, it may be a valuable line of defense and your key to freedom. If the search warrant’s affidavit lacks probable cause, and this is proved in court, your case may be thrown out.

Anyone who finds themselves faced with a drug charge in Washington State, whether it be a misdemeanor or felony, would be wise to contact a criminal law attorney to investigate what can be done.

The Philbrook Law Office has experience with drug charges and penalties in Washington, and can help guide you through any legal complications.

Even if you’ve already been charged, we can find the best course of action for your immediate future. Contact us if you find yourself in this situation.

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