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Drug offenses can either be classified as felonies or as misdemeanors, depending on the situation. Many drug-related crimes can carry extremely heavy jail sentences and fines. A conviction for drug possession will stay on your record for the rest of your life and can affect your ability to get a loan, job, or even secure housing.

If you have been arrested for drug possession or are facing drug crime charges, it is important that you consult with a Seattle drug possession attorney immediately. The criminal defense attorneys at Russell & Hill can give you a better understanding of the charges you are facing, your rights, and your legal options.

Drug Possession in Washington

Washington drug crimes are governed by the Uniform Controlled Substances Act (RCW 69.50). Under the act, it is unlawful for a person to manufacture, deliver, or possess with intent to manufacture or deliver a controlled substance. A controlled substance is defined in the Act as, “a drug, substance, or immediate precursor included in Schedules I through V set forth in federal or state laws, or federal or commission rules, but does not include hemp or industrial hemp.”

Most drug-related crimes are considered felonies, ranging from Class C felonies to Class A felonies. If you are charged with possession of any drug, other than marijuana, you will be charged with a Class C felony, regardless of the quantity. The maximum sentences of felony drug charges are:

  • Class C Felony: 5 years in jail; $10,000 fine
  • Class B Felony: 10 years in jail; $20,000 fine
  • Class A Felony: Life in prison; $50,0000 fine

Marijuana is now legal in the state of Washington, but there are limits to the legalization. Marijuana is not legal:

  • For anyone under 21 years of age
  • To grow
  • To smoke or display in public
  • To privately sell
  • For people 21 and over to possess greater than one ounce

If you are caught with more than one ounce but less than 40 grams of marijuana, you are subjected to face misdemeanor charges:

  • Up to 90 days in jail and
  • Fines up to $1,000

Recent Legislation

The Washington Supreme Court recently struck down previous laws, deeming them as unconstitutional. The new law reclassifies possession of controlled substances, including cocaine, heroin, and meth as a misdemeanor—the same classification for holding over an ounce of marijuana, subject to the same charges.

This new law will expire in two years, and revert to the current law. Washington Governor, Jay Inslee, in a U.S. News Report, says that the legislation moves the system to focus on behavioral health response and successfully address the needs that underlie drug abuse.

There are many alternatives to incarceration open to courts in Washington State, including:

How a Drug Possession Attorney Can Help You

We will sit down with you, discuss your concerns, and determine your goals regarding the outcome of your case. Once we decide on the course of action to take in your legal proceedings, we will execute the handling of your case with in-depth knowledge and precise skill.

We seek to have the charges dismissed or reduced, regardless of the classification.

If you have been charged for drug possession, contact our Seattle drug possession attorneys at Russell & Hill, PLLC, by filling out our Case Evaluation Form or call us at 206-880-7703.

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