Drug charges are serious business in Washington, regardless of who you are. Violating the uniform controlled substance act will result in jail time and steep fines. Often offenders feel that, if they have a clean criminal record and are otherwise upstanding citizens, their penalties will be light and a conviction will not be a big deal. This thinking is incorrect and dangerous as recently demonstrated in Seattle.
In early August, The Seattle Times published the story of Ali Abukar Mohamed who was sentenced to 7.5 years in jail after being convicted on 4 counts of violating the uniform controlled-substances act. Mohamed was charged for selling crack cocaine from 2012 to 2013. The jury convicted him last month and he has since been keeping his nose clean and performing community service work. At his sentencing hearing, Mohamed presented reference letters, photos of him with police officer and community members and a petition with over 200 signatures all to show that he has truly changed his way and made himself an asset to the community.
Unfortunately, his plan did not work well. Upon sentencing the Superior Court Judge, Regina Cahan, stated the following:
“you are also a convicted drug dealer, and your community needs to acknowledge that.”
Part of his charges included 3 counts of selling drugs in a school zone which demands 24 months of incarceration for each count. Additionally, he was sentencing to a little more than 2 years of jail time for violating the uniform controlled-substances act. Altogether, he was sentenced to 7 and a half years of in prison.
In Washington, most drug related crimes will result in felony charges. This case demonstrates the steep penalties that can result from a VUCSA conviction. Even with references and community support, Mohamed was still not able to get lenience in his sentence. If you have been accused of a drug crime in Seattle, call a defense lawyer right away to help you build a strong defense.