Drug Crimes “VUCSA”
If you or someone you care about have been accused of a Violation of the Uniform Controlled Substance Act, VUCSA, you should know that drug crimes in Washington are considered to be a serious felony crime. If you have been accused of any type of VUCSA crime, please speak with a Tacoma drug lawyer from the Law Offices of Smith and White, PLLC
VUCSA crimes can range from a simple misdemeanor for possession of marijuana or possession of drug paraphernalia to a felony charge of manufacturing methamphetamine. The penalties may be as minor as a 90 day jail sentence and a $1000 fine to life in prison and a $50,000 fine, however in many circumstances there are mandatory jail penalties and fines. There may be additional penalties as well. If you are found guilty of a drug crime while under the age of 21, you will also lose your license. Anyone convicted of a drug crime will also be exempted from receiving federal financial aid for college. Lastly, if you are convicted of a felony drug crime, your record will follow you throughout life and make it difficult for you to receive gainful employment, quality housing or acceptance into a quality college. Contacting a top Tacoma criminal defense attorney as soon as possible is very importance for anyone accused of a drug crime.
There are a number of defenses to drug crimes. If you can establish that you were unaware of the presence of the drugs in your home or vehicle because the drugs had been placed there by another person without your knowledge, you may be acquitted of any charges against you, as merely being in the same area as an illegal substance will be insufficient for a possession conviction. Other defenses to drug charges include mistaken identification, alibi, or the brief possession of drugs necessary to bring them to the proper authorities. Possession of a valid prescription is, of course, a defense to the possession of any prescription drug, such as oxycontin or morphine. Possession of a valid authorization for medical marijuana, or status as a primary caregiver to someone with such a authorization is a defense to the possession of sufficient marijuana for personal use. Note, however, that you should present the documentation to the officer when the officer questions you about the marijuana. The methods used by police in obtaining evidence must also be reviewed to determine if officers acted legally and within their powers. Many times, illegal searches, incomplete tips by an unidentified informant, or illegally obtained confessions will result in the exclusion of much, if not all, of the evidence against you a dismissed or greatly reduced charge.If you are stopped with drugs in your car
If you have marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamines, or other illegal drugs in your possession, these may be discovered in a routine traffic stop. Most commonly, Officers smell burnt marijuana, see drug residue or claim to see the drugs in plain view. Officers also frequently claim that the suspect willingly told them about drugs when questioned. While you should never lie to an Officer as this could be a separate charge and also undermines your credibility in the case especially if you go to trial, you have no obligation to answer these questions. You are only required to follow actual orders from the Officer. However, they often trick people by ordered them to do some activities, like providing license and insurance and stepping from the vehicle (to isolate the driver from the odor in the vehicle), and then mix in some “requests,” like “will you now perform some voluntary field sobriety tests” that seem to the suspect like they are required to perform. If the police order you to do something, like order you out of your vehicle or order you to put your hands behind your back, obey and cooperative. However, you are within your rights to clarify whether something is a request or an order. “Is that an order, Officer?” is perfectly legal. Once you are arrested, assert your right to counsel and ask for an attorney right away. Do not give consent to search your vehicle.If Law Enforcement Ever Wants to Search You, Your Vehicle or Your Home Always Politely Decline
You have a Right to privacy. This can be undone if you give consent to search. While Officers are trained to employ “Ruses”—i.e., lies—to achieve consent by acting like they will not arrest you if you consent, that they will take your lack of consent as proof of guilt or that they will have the right to search anyway, do not fall for these lies. If these lies were true, they would not be asking for your consent to begin with. In particular, the Officers are held to a higher standard when it comes to searching your home. They are required to give Ferrier warnings. Unless they are armed with a warrant, politely decline when law enforcement ask to search your home. Ask to speak to counsel immediately. If police force their way in, do not assault, threaten, attempt to block entry, or otherwise take any action that could prompt additional charges against you. Do repeat that you are not giving consent for the search, repeat your request to speak to counsel, and call us as soon as possible.
If you have been accused of any drug crime, please contact our offices immediately.