The unlawful use of a building for drug purposes is a serious drug crime under Washington’s criminal laws. A conviction of the offense is a felony punishable by up to five years in state prison. If you or a loved one is facing a drug charge in Washington, it is critical to contact a criminal defense attorney now for assistance.

What is the Crime of Using a Building for Drug Purposes?

RCW 69.53.010 is the Washington statute that defines the offense in question. According to this law, it is a crime for a person to:

  1. Own, manage, or control a building, room, space, or enclosure, and
  2. Knowingly make that property available for someone to manufacture, deliver, sell, store, or give away any controlled substance.

As an example, consider the scenario where a person owns a storage unit. If this person allows a friend to use the unit to store a controlled substance, he/she has committed the crime of using a building for drug purposes.

Under this code section, the term “controlled substances” means an illegal drug, such as:

  • Heroin,
  • Cocaine,
  • Methamphetamine, and
  • Ectasy.

What are the Penalties for Committing this Offense?

The unlawful use of a building for drug purposes is a Class C felony under Washington law (as opposed to a misdemeanor offense).

The crime is punishable by:

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

A defendant may also face restitution if he/she caused a victim to lose money or property through the commission of this offense.

Are there Legal Defenses?

Fortunately, people charged with this offense can challenge it with a legal defense. One common defense is written into the language of RCW 69.53.010. It says that a defendant can contest a charge by showing that he/she made a good faith attempt to notify law enforcement of suspected drug activity occurring on their property.

Defendants can also challenge an allegation by showing that the police violated one of their constitutional rights. Perhaps, for example, the police arrested a defendant only after conducting an unlawful search or seizure. Or maybe law enforcement arrested a defendant without reading the person his/her Miranda rights. In these situations, a skilled defense lawyer can try and have a judge reduce a charge or dismiss it altogether.

Contact Black & Askerov for Help

While a defendant can raise a legal defense to challenge a Washington drug charge, it will take a skilled criminal defense attorney to raise the best defense. The experienced drug crime attorneys at Black & Askerov have over 25 years of combined experience defending clients on drug charges. Our Seattle criminal defense lawyers have the skill and commitment that makes all the difference in these types of 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!