Firearm Enhancements in Drug Cases. A Washington Criminal Defense Lawyer | Attorney’s Perspective.
From a criminal defense attorney’s | lawyer’s perspective, getting caught with illegal drugs and a firearm puts an individual in a very tight place with limited options absent denying ownership or some error that allows critical evidence to be suppressed. This is a serious criminal enhancement regularly used by criminal prosecutors and it is powerful. Do not get caught unaware. We frequently see it used in drug cases.
Unfortunately, it is not common knowledge that if you are deemed to be an accomplice to a crime that utilizes a firearm, you are also to the enhancement; this is an easy way for prosecuting attorneys to threaten lengthy prison sentences and people should be aware of it. Firearm enhancements have become a favorite of the prosecuting attorney’s office “hard time for hard crime” concept and possession of a firearm is their poster enhancement. Prosecuting attorneys in generally do not like guns and are quick to punish when they are used in crime.
Thanks to the Washington State legislature, this firearm enhancement will run consecutive to the underlying crime without any good time | early release credit being awarded. In addition, the Washington legislature has made it so the sentencing judge has no discretion with firearm enhancements and must impose them if they are alleged and proven. The other headache, from a defense attorney’s perspective, is that the public has become accustomed to associating drug crimes with firearms and juries are not fans of allegations involving guns and drugs.
When a prosecuting attorney really wants to warehouse a person, this enhancement can be very difficult to get dismissed if it is alleged. If a person made a mistake and is on other levels can be shown to be a good person, your lawyer will have to work extra hard to overcome a prosecuting attorney’s urge to add this enhancement. Good criminal defense attorneys | lawyers fight like hell to stay away from this enhancement.
Here is the citation in the Washington State Revised Code of Washington for firearms. This section also contains some additional non-firearm enhancements such as deadly weapon enhancements, correctional facility enhancements, sexual motivation enhancements, etc., but to give you an idea: this is the relevant section for firearms:
(a) Five years for any felony defined under any law as a class A felony or with a statutory maximum sentence of at least twenty years, or both, and not covered under (f) of this subsection;
(b) Three years for any felony defined under any law as a class B felony or with a statutory maximum sentence of ten years, or both, and not covered under (f) of this subsection;
(c) Eighteen months for any felony defined under any law as a class C felony or with a statutory maximum sentence of five years, or both, and not covered under (f) of this subsection;
(d) If the offender is being sentenced for any firearm enhancements under (a), (b), and/or (c) of this subsection and the offender has previously been sentenced for any deadly weapon enhancements after July 23, 1995, under (a), (b), and/or (c) of this subsection or subsection (4)(a), (b), and/or (c) of this section, or both, all firearm enhancements under this subsection shall be twice the amount of the enhancement listed;
(e) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, all firearm enhancements under this section are mandatory, shall be served in total confinement, and shall run consecutively to all other sentencing provisions, including other firearm or deadly weapon enhancements, for all offenses sentenced under this chapter.
If you have a case involving a firearm enhancement, you need an experienced and aggressive team of criminal defense lawyers to help you out. In these circumstances, you need aggressive and skilled litigators who know how to try cases, present mitigation, reduction, and motion packages, negotiate with prosecuting attorneys and represent a legitimate wildcard risk at trial. We know what is required for the Washington State prosecutors to establish their case and have argued numerous motions related to the suppression of the enhancements on various grounds and won. When the State has what they believe is enough alleged illegal behavior to try and put you away in prison for a substantial time, your lawyers must fight as if someone’s life depends on it. We do.
Knowing how to navigate the legal system and criminal justice process is the most important skill you can possess. Whether our role is as legal counsel, negotiator, or litigator, we have years of experience fighting and resolving cases with our clients’ best interests in mind. Choosing the right counsel for your case is essential. Consultations are free but a poor choice in counsel is not. Call us at 206-708-7852 to set up an appointment to discuss your situation.