Under Washington law, you commit the crime of controlled substances homicide if you unlawfully deliver a controlled substance to a person, and he/she dies after using it. The offense is a serious felony (as opposed to a misdemeanor) that can result in up to 10 years in state prison. Please contact a skilled criminal defense attorney now if you are facing any type of drug-related crime.

What is Controlled Substances Homicide Under WA Law?

RCW 69.50.415 is the Washington statute that sets forth the crime of controlled substances homicide. You commit this offense if:

  1. You unlawfully delivered a controlled substance to the alleged victim,
  2. You knew that the substance you delivered was a controlled substance,
  3. The “victim” used the substance that you delivered, and
  4. The use of the substance was a proximate cause of the victim’s death.

Note that you are guilty of this crime regardless as to whether you intended to kill the person that used the drug.

Further, a “controlled substance” is a drug or chemical that is regulated by the U.S. under the Controlled Substances Act.

Examples of a controlled substance include:

  • Cocaine,
  • Heroin,
  • Crack,
  • LSD, and
  • Peyote.

What are the Penalties?

The crime of controlled substances homicide is a Class B felony. The offense is punishable by:

  • Imprisonment for up to 10 years in state prison, and/or
  • A maximum fine of $20,000.

Can a Defendant Raise a Legal Defense?

Yes. You can challenge an RCW 69.50.415 charge with a legal defense. A common defense is for a defendant to show that he/she was not the person who ultimately delivered the drug to the “victim.” Perhaps, for example, there was a third party who took the drug from the accused and then gave it to the alleged victim.

Further, a defendant can assert that the “victim” died because something other than the delivered drug. Maybe, for example, the victim died of natural causes. Or maybe there was some other intervening factor that led to the victim’s death.

Contact Black & Askerov for Help

While a defendant can raise a legal defense to challenge a controlled substances homicide charge, it will take a skilled criminal defense attorney to raise the best defense. The experienced attorneys at Black & Askerov have over 30 years of combined experience defending clients on drug-related charges. Our Seattle criminal defense lawyers also have the skill and commitment that makes all the difference in these cases. Our attorneys will fight tooth and nail for you at every step of your case. Contact us now to get the legal help you deserve!