Drug crimes, also known as Violation of the Uniform Controlled Substance Act (VUCSA) can vary widely in severity in Washington State depending upon: (1) the type of drug involved; (2), the amount of drugs involved; and, (3) how the state alleges you were using the drug (possessing, selling, manufacturing).
Most drug felonies involve a user amount of drugs, such as heroin, methamphetamine, or cocaine. These are Class C Felonies, typically punishable by 0-90 days in jail for those with no felony history.
For manufacturing or selling the same controlled substance, the severity of the crime increases to a Class B Felony. This can mean prison time, typically starting at a year in state prison, even for a first offense.
A felony drug conviction means loss of civil rights (voting, firearms) and can also affect your eligibility for federal benefits like small business loans and student loans.
In some cases, there are therapeutic alternatives to conviction available in Snohomish County. This means drug treatment instead of prison or jail. There are several Snohomish County programs available, including Drug Court and Therapeutic Alternatives to Prosecution (TAP). In the right case, these programs have been successful in helping clients overcome drug addiction – and avoid jail or prison.
Depending on the facts of your case and extent of criminal history, it may also be possible to negotiate a plea to a misdemeanor. This helps you avoid many of the negative consequences of a felony drug conviction.
As a former Snohomish County Prosecutor assigned to the felony drug unit, and later as a criminal defense attorney, I have handled many hundreds of felony drug charges. If you find yourself charged with a drug felony or VUCSA offense in Snohomish County, I recommend a consultation to determine any potential defenses or issues in your case and discuss some potential outcomes. Often, the sooner I can get involved in a case, the better the outcome.
Let me know if I can help.