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. Officers may claim to smell or otherwise observe indications of illegal possession, and begin to question you about this. Do not lie to police. Do be polite, but decline to answer any questions until you have spoken to your Tacoma drug lawyer. If police order you out of your vehicle and arrest you, be compliant and cooperative, but continue to assert your right to counsel and your right to silence. Do not give consent to search your vehicle.
If police want to search your residence
Remember, you never are obligated to give the police access to your home. Politely decline when officers seek entry, unless they produce a warrant. 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.
Alternatively, in Washington, including courts in Seattle and Tacoma, offer drug offenders a number of alternative sentencing options, including a specialized Drug Courts, and the Drug Offender Sentencing Alternative, DOSA. With DOSA, you may receive drug treatment options rather than extensive prison terms. An experienced Tacoma drug lawyer like those at the Law Offices of Smith and White, can help you take advantages of these options.