Distribution or delivery of a controlled substance is usually a felony offense in Washington. Penalties are severe, but there are several viable defenses that may be used to have the charges mitigated or dropped altogether. For legal representation from a well-established criminal defense lawyer, call Daryl L. Graves, PLLC at 253-383-7777.
Understanding Distribution/Delivery Charges in Washington
You can be charged with delivery or distribution of a drug, even if no money was exchanged. The state of Washington doesn’t have separate drug trafficking laws; rather, the statutes provide the same penalties for selling drugs for profit as it does for sharing drugs with a friend.
RCW 69.50.101(2)(f) defines “delivery” as “the actual or constructive transfer from one person to another of a substance, whether or not there is an agency relationship.” In other words, it simply means handing a drug to another person. Similarly, RCW 69.50.101(2)(j) provides that to distribute is “to deliver other than by administering or dispensing a controlled substance.” People who share a little of their private stash with friends may be far from a “drug dealer,” per se, but they are charged in the same manner as someone distributing drugs for profit. The offenses are treated synonymously.
What kinds of penalties do you face?
The penalties you face depend on the type and amount of drug with which you were found. Hardcore, addictive drugs such as heroin, cocaine and meth are considered a class B felony and are punishable by up to 10 years in prison and $25,000. The fine quadruples to $100,000 if you were found with more than two kilograms.
For less addictive drugs, the charges may be considered only a class C felony, punishable by five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Washington statutes provide a schedule of controlled substances, ranked by their risk of addiction, which determines the offense’s severity when charged with distribution or delivery of a controlled substance. Your attorney can advise you of exactly what you face and discuss ways to approach your defense.
Possible Defenses for Drug Distribution Charges
Our defense attorneys are very familiar with defenses for delivery/distribution of controlled substance charges. Below are examples of some of the tactics that may be employed.
- If the bust was made on the basis of an informant, we might be able to bring credibility and background into (Informants have been known to lie and frame others to get themselves off the hook.)
- Entrapment involves a situation in which law enforcement thought up a crime and lured or induced you to commit a crime that you normally would not have committed. Entrapment is unlawful. If all the elements of entrapment exist, we can bring this to light as a defense in your case.
- If an audio or video recording is a prime piece of evidence in the case and there wasn’t a warrant for it, we may be able to refute the admissibility of the recording. Even if there was a warrant, we still may be able to question the probable cause that originally justified it.
Contacting a Drug Charges Attorney in Washington
If you have been charged with any drug crime, you are afforded the right to an attorney. You also have the right to have your attorney present when you provide a statement. It’s critical to retain an attorney before you give the investigators any information because without a lawyer, you might unknowingly say something that the state will use against you in court.
For a criminal defense attorney who has the background, skill set and determination required to take on even the toughest drug-related charges, contact Daryl L. Graves, PLLC in Washington. We can help navigate the criminal system, fight for a good outcome and ensure you rights are upheld each step of the way. Call us for a free consultation to see if we are a good match for your case: 253-383-7777.