In the State of Washington there are generally two categories of drug offenses:
- Possession manufacture or delivery of marijuana
- Possession manufacture or delivery of a Controlled Substance – heroin, cocaine, PCP, Ecstasy, and other illegal drugs.
All illegal drugs that are not marijuana are classified as a controlled substance. The severity of the punishment for the charged offense varies from lesser sanctions associated with the mere possession of an illegal substance to severe sanctions mandated by law for offenses such as manufacturing and delivering of a controlled substance. The charges brought and the penalties sought by law enforcement and the prosecuting attorney for drug offenses will vary depending on the amount of the drug, how the illegal substance was used or packaged, whether the individual was armed and if the individual is charged in state or federal court. Similarly, the penalties or sentence for a drug offense can range from a diversionary drug program to probation and/or jail and in severe cases, state or federal prison time.
Commonly found illegal or controlled substances for which arrests are made throughout King Pierce and Snohomish Counties, and the surrounding areas include:
- Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) also known as “Ecstasy”
- Phencyclidine (PCP)
Less commonly found illegal or controlled substances include:
- Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) also known as “acid”
- Psilocybin (Mushrooms)
It is also illegal to possess or sell prescription painkillers or stimulants without a prescription such as:
- Failure to Read Miranda Warnings
- Illegal Search or Seizure
- Insufficient Evidence
- Lack of Intent
- Mistaken Identity
- Constitutional Issues
The best defense to a drug possession, drug manufacturing and delivering charge is challenging how the evidence was obtained by the police. Law enforcement authorities and prosecuting attorneys build their possession, manufacturing, and delivery cases based on evidence obtained through search and seizures. Law enforcement must comply with the 4th Amendment of the United States Constitution and well-established search and seizure laws to legally obtain evidence.
Evidence obtained by an illegal search and seizure, which violate an individual's rights is inadmissible and will be suppressed. In a nutshell, any illegally obtained evidence cannot be used to convict you of the drug charge for which you were arrested. Ms. St. Clair is well-versed in challenging illegal searches and seizures by filing motions to suppress, and has vast experience in drug crimes. If the judge grants the motion to suppress, the evidence is inadmissible against you, and generally the prosecutor cannot proceed and you win your case.
One of the most common examples of how law enforcement authorities violate an individual's rights is obtaining an involuntary consent to search an automobile or home. Always remember, you have the right not to consent to the search of your property.
Make the police get a warrant. If the police threaten or coerce you in any way to get your consent, the consent is not voluntary and the search is illegal. Any drugs found as a result of an illegal search are inadmissible.
If the police seek a warrant their can often times be issues with the warrant that can provide a defense.
Entrapment is another defense that may be utilized to defend a client's rights. An individual is entrapped if he or she is induced or encouraged to engage in criminal conduct such as drug trafficking. To utilize an entrapment defense, an individual must be able to show that he or she engaged in the trafficking as a result of the inducement, that inducement came from a law enforcement official or his agent, and that he or she was not ready to commit the crime. Entrapment is a complicated area of the law, and you should contact a drug defense attorney, to inquire whether you have an entrapment defense.
- Face Jail or prison time
- Face probation, community custody
- Face fines
- Be required to attend substance-abuse treatment
- Be subject to random drug testing
- Be required to perform community service
- Have your employment or military service status negatively affected
- Have a permanent criminal record
- Seizure or forfeiture of assets, land, and/or property
Drug possession offenders in the Seattle area are arrested on daily basis for cocaine, heroin, and marijuana possession. Convictions for simple drug possession cases may at times carry what seem to be insignificant penalties, but the long term consequences can be severe and life altering.
With our local knowledge of the Prosecutor's office, we will immediately communicate with the Prosecutor and negotiate on your behalf. In many cases the Prosecutor has the discretion to file reduced charges, or to not file charges at all.
Prepare Your Defense:
We will investigate the allegations and assess your potential defenses. We will file any necessary motions to dismiss or motions to attempt to exclude evidence in an effort to maximize your opportunity for a positive outcome.
As your drug attorney, we will represent you at any necessary pretrial hearings, pretrial motions, and at trial.
We will negotiate and litigate for the best possible resolution of your case and attempt to reduce or eliminate any negative impacts on you.