If you have been arrested on drug charges, it is important to know what you may be facing in court and the penalties you may be facing if convicted. It is also essential that you know and understand your rights and any pending long-term consequences, throughout the legal process to ensure the best possible outcome.
First and foremost, it is important to note that Washington State has some of the strictest laws in the United States when it comes to drug-related offenses. Most drug charges are considered felonies, and carry with them severe penalties, including mandatory jail time. The severity of the drug charges and their related consequences depends upon several factors, including the type of drug in question, the amount of the drug that was found on your person or in your vehicle or home, and whether you had the intent to sell the drug as opposed to using it. Other factors, including whether you have prior criminal offenses, whether you are a juvenile, and whether there was a weapon involved also play into the severity of the punishment you could be facing.
Consequences of Drug Possession
Possession of a controlled substance is a class C felony, which means that it is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. If a charge encompasses possession of cocaine, crack, methamphetamine, prescription drugs, heroin and ecstasy, the long-term consequences can be even more severe. However, not all felony drug possession charges have to end in prison time. Defendants who have few or no prior criminal offenses, who demonstrate a genuine desire to get help for a substance abuse problem, or who have made a confession to the police may be eligible for one of several special drug treatment programs which can serve as an alternative to a jail sentence. The Drug Offender Sentencing Program (DOSA), the First Time Offender Waiver, and the Diversion program are examples of programs available in Washington State to drug offenders. Ask your attorney about your eligibility for any of these programs.
The long-term consequences of a drug-related conviction can extend well beyond fines and prison time. Having a felony conviction can make it incredibly difficult to obtain employment, and the financial and emotional stress that the related court costs and legal fees can put on your and your family can negatively affect your personal relationships. The best course of action is always to get help for a substance abuse problem before being arrested; however, if you face criminal drug charges, the law firm of Rodriguez Interiano Hanson & Rodgers can help you. We represent clients in and around Pasco, WA, and have a wealth of experience in dealing with Washington State drug possession laws. Let us plan your defense and provide you with legal counsel and support. Call today to schedule your consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.