Drug Crimes

DRUG CONSPIRACY

DRUG CONSPIRACY UNDER WASHINGTON AND FEDERAL LAW

Under Washington and federal criminal law, a conspiracy is an agreement between two or more people to commit a crime. Generally, a drug conspiracy is where two or more parties conspire, or agree, to commit a drug related crime. Most significant drug conspiracy crimes are investigated by federal law enforcement and charged as federal crimes that are prosecuted in federal court. If you or a loved one has been charged with drug conspiracy, it is critical that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney now for assistance.

In general, a prosecutor must successfully prove four elements in order to convict a person of drug conspiracy in Washington. These are:

  1. The defendant agreed with one or more persons to commit a drug related crime (e.g., possession or manufacturing);
  2. The defendant made the agreement with the intent to commit the crime;
  3. Any of the persons involved took an act in commission of the crime; and,
  4. Any of the acts took place in Washington State.

Please note that an “agreement” does not have to be an official agreement as the term typically implies. No formal agreement is necessary under Washington law for this element to be satisfied. All that is required is a showing that the parties worked together with a common understanding and plan to commit the crime in question. The elements of conspiracy under federal law are substantially the same. In federal court, prosecutors typically pursue “Pinkerton” liability, which holds one conspirator responsible for the reasonably foreseeable actions of another co-conspirator.

PENALTIES FOR DRUG CONSPIRACY

As stated above, drug conspiracy crimes are typically charged at the federal level. This means that the penalties for the crime will be determined via Federal Sentencing Guidelines. The guidelines determine federal sentences based primarily on two factors. These are:

  1. The conduct associated with an offense; and,
  2. The defendant’s criminal history.

A federal judge can depart from the Sentencing Guidelines (i.e., make a sentence more or less severe) based upon:

  • The specific facts of a case;
  • Any aggravating factors; and,
  • Any mitigating factors.

Federal sentences for drug conspiracy crimes typically involve long stretches of prison time and years of supervised release (probation).

LEGAL DEFENSES TO DRUG CONSPIRACY CHARGES

The good news is that there are legal defenses that a defendant can raise to try and beat a drug conspiracy charge. Many of the defenses commonly available in federal drug cases revolve around how federal law enforcement agencies obtained the evidence that they are trying to use against an accused. If a criminal defense lawyer can show that evidence was gathered improperly, or against a person’s constitutional rights, then the evidence can likely get suppressed from the case. Many of the defenses commonly available in federal drug cases revolve around how federal law enforcement agencies obtained the evidence that they are trying to use against an accused. If a criminal defense lawyer can show that evidence was gathered improperly, or against a person’s constitutional rights, then the evidence can be suppressed from the case. Defendants can also assert that they did not actually enter an agreement or that they did not have the intent to commit the charged crime. Additional defenses particular to conspiracy charges exist. These include: mere presence defense- just being present at a drug transaction or where drugs are stored does not mean that one has joined a conspiracy; multiple conspiracies defense- if the government has charged a person with part of one conspiracy when he or she is actually part of another conspiracy, the person cannot be convicted as charged; buyer/seller defense- if all the government can show is that one person bought drugs from another person, it has not established a conspiracy.

Please note that it takes an experienced drug conspiracy attorney to raise the best defense on behalf of an accused. The drug lawyers at Black & Askerov have the experience that matters in drug conspiracy cases. They are also tireless in their representation and work passionately to fight for their clients -on all crimes. Simply contact them today and get the legal help that you deserve.

HOW CAN WE HELP YOU?

We serve clients throughout Washington including those in the following localities: King County including Bellevue, Kent, and Seattle; Benton County including Kennewick; Chelan County including Wenatchee; Clallam County including Port Angeles; Grays Harbor County including Aberdeen; Kitsap County including Port Orchard; Kittitas County including Ellensburg; Pierce County including Tacoma; Skagit County including Mount Vernon; Snohomish County including Everett; Spokane County including Spokane; Thurston County including Olympia; Whatcom County including Bellingham; and Yakima County including Yakima.