Fentanyl is a prescription drug that is used to treat severe pain. The drug is also highly addictive and considered the deadliest drug in America. For this reason, it is no surprise that prosecutors in Washington State will aggressively charge parties for drug crimes involving fentanyl, including charges like possession and distribution. If you are facing such a crime, or any other drug related crime involving fentanyl, it is crucial that you contact an experienced Washington criminal defense attorney now for help.
What is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is a Schedule II drug under the Uniform Controlled Substance Act. This is the same class of drugs that includes heroin, Oxycodone and Vicodin. Pharmaceutical fentanyl was developed for cancer patients as a tool to manage pain. Today, the drug is prescribed to treat severe pain in both cancer and non-cancer patients.
Fentanyl is a highly addictive and dangerous drug. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the drug is 50 times stronger than heroin and up to 100 times more potent than morphine. Fentanyl is responsible for more deaths in the United States than any other drug. It is often mixed in with heroin or sold as a highly potent form of heroin. The DEA issued a public safety alert regarding fentanyl in 2016.
The drug is also referred to as:
- China Girl,
- China Town,
- China White,
- Dance Fever,
- Great Bear, and
What is the Law on Fentanyl in Washington State?
Given its dangerous and addictive nature, prosecutors in Washington are aggressive when filing drug charges involving fentanyl. These charges may include charges of illegal:
- Possession with intent to distribute and distribution, and
- Use (if a person does not have a legal prescription for the drug).
A person may also face criminal charges if he obtained a fentanyl prescription via fraud, theft, or forgery.
The penalties for these crimes may include extensive jail time and thousands of dollars in fines. The specific penalty imposed will vary depending on such factors as:
- The amount of fentanyl involved,
- The defendant’s criminal history, and
- The defendant’s age.
Please also note that fentanyl charges can be filed at the federal level, in addition to the state level. This is especially the case when the charges relate to substantial quantities of fentanyl or extensive criminal organizations. The importing and exporting of fentanyl are also mostly handled at the federal level. Like penalties for state charges, criminal penalties at the federal level may include significant time in jail and severe fines.
Do I Need a Criminal Defense Attorney for help?
It is critical for any person charged with a crime involving fentanyl to contact an experienced Washington or Seattle drug crimes attorney now. A lawyer skilled in fentanyl cases will know the best defenses to assert on a defendant’s behalf and will be able to assist in protecting an accused’s rights and freedoms. The attorneys defending fentanyl charges at Black & Askerov are knowledgeable with state fentanyl laws and they have the experience and passion that makes all the difference. Contact them now to get real legal help that you can rely on and trust.