If you have been charged with prescription drug possession, you probably have discovered your future is uncertain and the charges are serious. The law identifies these types of crimes today as among the most severe drug crimes. These charges fall under the law known as Violation of the Uniform Controlled Substance Act or VUCSA. To protect your rights and freedom, your optimum course of action is to secure an experienced Washington criminal defense attorney. Without a sound strategy for your defense, you could face a decade of imprisonment, thousands of dollars in fines, and many other penalties depending on the circumstances.
The first category of prescription drug crimes charged in Washington are misdemeanors—classified as simple or gross. The difference between the two is defined by the maximum punishments assigned to each. A misdemeanor charge carries a maximum punishment of up to 90 days in jail and up to a $1000 fine. A misdemeanor charge is typically a lesser drug offense. Marijuana is legal in Washington yet it is still a federal crime according to the VUCSA. If found with a small amount of marijuana and charged by the federal government, it falls under misdemeanor. If you are charged with a gross misdemeanor, you could serve up to 364 days in jail and pay a fine of up to $5,000. Gross misdemeanors are more serious charges, such as furnishing drug paraphernalia to a minor.
Misdemeanor crimes are filed in District and Municipal courts.
Felony prescription drug charges, like misdemeanors, also have different categories. Classes A, B, or C felonies are filed in Superior Court. A Class A felony is the most serious and carries punishment of up to life in prison and up to a $50,000 fine. While rare, these felony crimes can be charged. An example of this crime is when someone is charged with distributing narcotics to minors.
If convicted of a Class B felony, you can be subjected up to 10 years in prison and up to a $20,000 fine. Those who create or distribute Schedule I or Schedule II drugs are charged with a Class B felony. The least egregious of the felonies is a Class C felony. If charged and convicted, you could spend up to five years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
Options for Sentencing Alternatives
Washington law also makes provisions for first time offenders. There are certain instances where a defendant convicted of a felony may apply for alternative sentencing. This means the sentencing authority may grant a first-time offender waiver or a drug offender sentencing alternative. A skilled criminal defense attorney can help you navigate these alternatives if you are charged and convicted of a drug crime for the first time.
Drug Crime Offense
Being charged with a VUCSA charge is frightening and the penalties are intimidating. If you or a loved one has been charged, fear can interfere with taking action. It is not the time to sit back and wait. Call Karimi Law today and find out your rights. Our attorneys are ready to help you plan your best defense and your best future.