Possession Sale or Delivery of a Drug
Washington Criminal Drug Laws | Possession Sale or Delivery of a Drug | A Criminal Defense Attorney | Lawyer’s Perspective.
Washington State has very specific regulations regarding how regulated drugs and prescriptions may be dispensed and possessed. When an individual is caught violating these regulations it can lead to criminal charges being filed, complications with health care licenses, other administrative licenses, as well as applications and jobs. Whether you are being investigated, have given a statement or have spoken to police but not been charged, we have the expertise to educate, fight and provide you with the knowledge to make informed decisions related to your case.
What is this crime?
In Washington, it is a crime to possess an illegal drug, a legend drug without a valid prescription from an authorized practitioner or get a prescription dispensed in an un-authorized manner. It is also a crime in Washington to possess a legend drug in a container other than the one provided with the prescription.
What type(s) of circumstances give rise to this crime/charge being filed?
This charge comes from a variety of scenarios; here are some common ones that the criminal defense attorneys in our firm have seen. You are contacted by law enforcement either walking, driving, at a party, at your home, etc. and during the course of this interaction prescription pills/legend drugs are either found upon you, or in your car, or your apartment/home and they are loose or in a bottle(s)/boxes that do not have your name on it and are not in the same containers they were when dispensed. You also do not have a valid prescription for the seized prescription/legend drugs. This is the type of fact pattern that will land you into the criminal justice system and our firm will help. Under these circumstances you are subject to the criminal charge of unlawful possession of legend/prescription drugs. Depending upon the quantity of pills seized, the circumstances/facts, this charge could be either a gross misdemeanor or a felony.
We all know of someone or have done it ourselves: you take 1 or 2 of the prescription/legend drugs needed that day and drop them in their pocket or purse. However, if you don’t have a prescription then you are in trouble. This is a situation that is ripe for negotiations depending on the specific facts and circumstances of your case and our experienced criminal defense lawyers can and will take the time to help you put your best arguments forward and fight for a result.
A final very common scenario is when an individual has been placed on pain killers and becomes addicted to them. Once the prescription runs out and/or the doctor will not refill the prescription, the individual gets desperate and attempts to forge the prescription or starts buying pills off the street. Facts such as the number of attempts made to refill the prescription under the forged prescription can dictate how many criminal charges can be filed by the prosecuting attorney and this potentially drives up the amount of punishment associated with this crime. The criminal defense attorneys in our office have a lot of experience working with addicts and their families to resolve these kind of painful cases. Commonly, aside from legal arguments, the best tool we have for negotiating these kinds of cases is treatment and sobriety. We spend a lot of time talking with clients about what this looks like, what resources are available and what avenues are available in the court system. Things like inpatient treatment, Drug Court, DOSAs, all reward true commitment to change as it relates to the criminal system. Comparable programs are also available though most professional licensing programs. Many employers in Washington take a favorable view on treatment … they have too. Federal law memorialized in the Americans with Disabilities Act treats addiction gives protection to recovering addicts in certain situations. Most treatment providers are familiar with the law surrounding this federal regulation. Between these agencies and our office, questions and concerns get answered.
Is there an affirmative defense to this charge?
Yes there are two affirmative defenses to this charge but require very fact specific facts and/or circumstances.
If the controlled substance/legend drug was obtained directly from a practitioner or pursuant to a valid prescription, a statutory affirmative defense is available to an individual charged under this statute.
Unwitting possession is also an available affirmative defense if the facts support arguing it. i.e., prescription/legend drugs found in backpack in back of car where passenger had been sitting and driver gets pulled over after dropping off passenger and the backpack with contraband is found.
When you are facing charges under this statute you need an experienced legal team to help guide you through this process while zealously defending your best interests. We have that experience and know how to critically analyze a case and suggest favorable “out of the box” resolutions to the prosecutor during negotiations. Aside from trying cases, we know when and how to propose alternate solutions such as Drug Court, Mental Health Court, and DOSAs and have had very good success when doing so. Our experience also includes dealing with collateral issues surrounding licensing and employment.
Choosing a lawyer for criminal or administrative defense who makes false promises, gives wrong legal advice or does not take the time or understand the law is a major mistake. Our office prides itself on no nonsense representation client attention. Email or call 206-708-7852 to set up an appointment.