For many people in Washington and across the country, a drug arrest can vastly effect the rest of their lives. Many drug crimes are charged as felonies and can result in long periods of jail time and other negative consequences. In Seattle, any crime involving an illegal or prescription drug is governed under the Uniform Controlled Substance Act. Under this act, almost all crimes aside from some marijuana and paraphernalia charges are considered felonies.
Even possession of a small amount of a drug such as ecstasy can lead to a sentence of years in prison. Many groups feel that these laws and sentences are unfair for a number of reasons. In addition to punishing people who may have severe addition problems, some feel that drug laws are racially bias. Tuesday, Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. introduced the idea that reforms are needed for federal drug crime offenders.
The Washington Times reports that on June 10, 2014, the Attorney General introduced a plan that would reduce the jail sentence of certain offenders who are currently serving time in federal prisons. This plan's purpose is to, not only make the punishments more suitable for the crimes, but also to reduce taxpayer spending.
The article states that there are about 215,000 people serving time in federal prisons. This plan would affect about 20,000 inmates who are currently serving time for nonviolent crimes. Inmates would have to have been convicted for a low-level drug crime and have no ties to larger drug operations. Holder's plan would allow these inmates to receive a retroactive reduced sentence and allow them early release.
The U.S. Sentencing Commission decides how federal sentencing is determined and will have to approve the plan before it can be put into action. They are expected to vote on it by as early as next month. If you have been charged with a VUCSA crime in Seattle, contact a defense attorney right away in order to make sure that you get the best results for your case.