What Are the Most Common Drug Crimes in Washington?

The Violation of the Uniform Controlled Substance Act (VUCSA) outlines the laws against drug crimes in Washington. It is contained in Chapter 69.50 RCW, with the term “controlled substance” referring to all illegal drugs. If arrested for a drug crime in Seattle, you could face different charges, depending on the circumstances.

Fighting drug crime charges can be complex if you don’t understand the law or how to defend yourself. It’s advisable to consult a skilled Seattle criminal justice attorney to defend you. They can evaluate the charges and help you create a strong defense strategy based on the type of crime. The most common drug crimes are the following:


Drug possession is the crime of being found with an illegal drug, whether it’s for personal use, sale, or distribution. The law identifies three types of drug possession:

1. Possession with Intent to Distribute

Possession with intent to distribute comprises two elements; the first is having the drug, and the other is having the intention to sell or distribute the illegal drug. The burden of proving the intention to sell lies with the prosecutors and depends on the facts and evidence surrounding your case.

The charge attracts more severe penalties than a possession-only charge. A skilled drug lawyer in Seattle can help you defend yourself against the charges.

2. Distribution

Illegal drug distribution is transferring a controlled substance from one person to another. Under these charges, the law isn’t keen on the exchange of money. If caught giving a portion of your private stash to a friend, the law considers it drug distribution, although the offense entails no money transfer.

The transaction is more of a gift and probably doesn’t portray you as a seasoned drug dealer. However, you risk getting the same penalties as a seasoned drug dealer who distributes illegal drugs for profit.

3. Manufacturing

A drug manufacturing charge comprises two elements the prosecutor must prove for the charge to hold up: possession of the drug and intent to manufacture. Intent to manufacture can be proved by the circumstances surrounding the case.

Federal Drug Charges

You can face drug crime charges at the federal instead of the state level when the crimes involve substantial drug quantities or extensive criminal gangs. Drug importing and exporting activities are charged at the national level. The difference between federal and state charges pertains to the nature of federal courts, given the different rules and procedures.

Additionally, federal criminal charges have harsher penalties upon conviction. The conviction rates in federal courts are often higher than in state courts, considering there are more prosecutors and judges in these courts handling fewer cases. If you are facing drug crime charges at the federal level, hire an aggressive criminal justice lawyer in Seattle to represent you.

What Are the Penalties for Drug Crimes in Washington?

Drug crime convictions in Seattle attract stiff penalties and may include hefty fines and many years behind bars. The specific punishments depend on several factors, such as:

  • The type of drug involved, based on the drug schedule
  • The amount of drug involved
  • Whether you used a weapon in committing the crime
  • Your criminal history
  • Whether you committed the crime near a school, church, or playground
  • Most drug crimes are charged as felonies, with the penalties based on the category of the felony as follows:

Class A Felony

Class A felonies entail rare drug crimes, but that doesn’t mean you couldn’t face the charge. An example is the distribution of a Schedule IV drug, such as narcotics, to a minor. The penalties include:

  • A maximum jail sentence of life imprisonment
  • A fine determined by the court up to a maximum of $50,000 or both

Class B Felony

An example of a Class B felony is manufacturing or possessing a counterfeit Schedule I or II drug. The penalties upon conviction include:

  • A fine of up to $250,000
  • A prison sentence of up to ten years or both

Class C Felony

Illegal activities such as manufacturing or distributing a Schedule I, II, or III substance are a Class C felony. The classification is the most common for drug crimes, and sentencing is often lighter than Class A or B offenses. However, the penalties for a felony conviction are steep, including:

  • A jail sentence of up to five years
  • A maximum fine of $10,000 or both

A felony conviction also results in a mark on your criminal record, which could significantly affect your job, housing, or education opportunities. Hire an aggressive drug lawyer in Seattle to help you beat the charges.

An Experienced Criminal Justice Lawyer Defending You Against Drug Crime Charges

Seattle drug crime charges carry stiff penalties that could curtail your future aspirations. Even if you don’t get a jail time sentence, the hefty fines can cost you several hundred dollars, creating a dent in your finances. Regardless of the charges you face, don’t take them lightly. Let a skilled criminal justice attorney in Seattle help you fight the charges.

The Law Offices of Kevin Trombold hosts an experienced Seattle drug lawyer who can come to your defense. Your past mistakes should not define your future, and we can put our best foot forward to help you beat criminal charges. Call us at 206-590-7667 to schedule a FREE in-depth case evaluation.