POSSESSION UNDER WASHINGTON LAW
Drug possession is the crime of having an illegal drug in a person’s possession, whether it be for personal use, sale, distribution or otherwise. Washington law states that there are three ways a person can have possession of a controlled substance. A person has possession of a drug if: (1) he has actual physical control of the drug (e.g., he has drugs in his hands); (2) drugs are on his person (e.g., in his pocket or a bag); or, (3) he has the power and intent to control its disposition and use.
DRUG POSSESSION PENALTIES
A person found guilty of drug possession faces many serious penalties. These can include significant jail time and thousands of dollars in fines. With that said, know that the exact penalty for possession typically varies with the facts of a given case.
For example, there are many factors that will determine the ultimate hardship of a possession charge. Some of these include:
- The type of drug found
- The amount, or quantity, of the drug in question
- The offender’s criminal history
- The offender’s age
Further, the facts of a case may include certain penalty enhancements. These are certain factors that work to increase the severity of any possession penalty. Penalty enhancements may occur with the following circumstances:
- If firearms were present
- If charges involved drug sales to a minor
- If the crime took place in a protected zone (e.g., a school zone)
- If the crime took place in a correctional facility
We must note that, if jail time is a potential penalty in a case, the facts involved might allow for an alternative to incarceration. Two quick examples are probation and substance abuse treatment programs. It’s of immense importance to speak with a criminal defense attorney to learn if these alternatives are available for you.
DEFENSES FOR POSSESSION CHARGES
There are many legal defenses available for drug possession charges. For example, a defense lawyer may argue that a person charged of possession did not actually know that he possessed a drug. Further, a drug crime attorney can try to establish that an offender never even had possession of the drug involved. If successful, a legal defense to possession can work to drop or minimize the charges in a case.
It’s critical to know though, that while legal defenses to possession exist, it takes the skill of an experienced criminal defense lawyer to make them work. An attorney with knowledge of drug crimes can find the best defenses for your specific case and work to assert them on your behalf. The Seattle defense lawyers at Black Law have the knowledge, skill, and experience to get you the right defense for your case. Contact them now and let them help!
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.
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