The effects of the coronavirus are widespread, and the state of Washington has certainly been hit hard. However, it has not been able to stop a group of criminal justice reform advocates from attempting to gather enough signatures to put their initiative on the ballot for November. This initiative, which has been filed as Initiative 1715, would effectively end any criminal action against anyone who is found with a personal consumption quantity of drugs. Though it has not even reached the ballot to be voted on, this initiative may represent a shift in attitudes towards drug possession in the Evergreen State.
Washington's Current Stance
In the past few years, Washington has been taking steps to lighten the punishments on drug users. These have included introducing programs to reduce the amount of arrests for low-level drug use and even legalizing the possession and use of marijuana. However, it is important to remember that the possession of an illegal drug can still result in serious charges.
Having a controlled substance in your possession is unlawful unless you received it by a valid prescription or are somehow legally authorized to have it. The severity of the charges that you may face depends on the type of drug—controlled substances include heroin, oxycodone, methamphetamine, Oxycontin, just to name a few—and exactly how much of the substance was in your possession.
What Would Initiative 1715 Do?
As mentioned before, the initiative, if passed into law, would decriminalize personal use possession of controlled substances. This means that officers would no longer arrest those who were found with drugs on them. Instead, drug possession would be considered a civil offense, for which officers might issue a mandatory referral to some sort of treatment or training service. In addition, the initiative would also open more avenues for those with drug offenses in their past to vacate them from their records.
This initiative has been in the works for almost a decade. It currently has a committee made up of 16 people directing it and has polled favorably amongst voters. Social distancing policies have forced changes in the plans to gather signatures, but organizers are still moving forward and exploring all of their options.
What to Do If I'm Arrested for a Seattle Drug Crime?
As mentioned, this initiative has not become law, and possession of a controlled substance is still a crime. This means that if you are arrested for a drug crime, you still may face criminal charges. First, if you are arrested by an officer, remain calm and polite. Remember, however, that you do not need to answer questions that you feel might incriminate you. You may be required to provide your name, but questions beyond that can be refused.
Next, when facing charges, it is generally a good idea to contact an attorney as soon as possible. Criminal charges are an unfamiliar landscape to many, and an attorney may be able to help you figure out your options and strategize your plan of attack.
Contact Steve Karimi Law Office Today
If you have gotten tangled up in the legal system, you want an experienced attorney to help guide you through the process. Steve Karimi's experience as both a prosecutor in Seattle and a criminal defense lawyer can help you determine what your options are and help you fight the drug charges in an effective way. For a free consultation, call 206-621-8777.