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Penalties for Washington drug crimes

On Behalf of | Jan 29, 2020 | Criminal Defense

Possession of a controlled substance can result in significant fines and jail time in Washington. The specific penalties vary depending on the amount of the substance in question, prior criminal history and other factors.

Familiarize yourself with possible legal consequences before facing a court date for Washington drug possession charges.

Narcotics and amphetamines

The state classifies drugs by their potential hazards and considers Schedule I and II substances to be the most dangerous. Schedule I includes opiates, narcotics, codeine, heroin, morphine and hallucinogenic drugs. Schedule II includes fentanyl, methadone, methamphetamine and other stimulants, barbiturates, depressants, and opium extracts such as hydromorphone. Possession of narcotics and amphetamines in these categories constitutes a Class B felony in Washington, punishable by:

  • Up to 10 years in prison
  • Fines of up to $25,000 for amounts less than 2 kilograms and up to $100,000 for larger amounts

Other drug offenses

Washington imposes Class C felony charges for possession of Schedule I and II substances other than amphetamines and narcotics. These charges also apply to Schedule III drugs, a category that includes stimulants, narcotics and depressants that do not fall into Schedule I or II as well as ketamine and anabolic steroids. Class C felony penalties include up to $10,000 in fines and/or up to five years in prison.

Increased penalties

Certain factors in your case will result in more severe penalties. Examples include:

  • Possessing or distributing controlled substances within 1,000 feet of a school
  • Committing drug offenses in the presence of a person younger than 18
  • Committing drug offenses while serving time in a state or county correctional facilities
  • Selling drugs to a minor who is at least three years younger than the offender
  • Committing drug offenses involving a deadly weapon or firearm

Conversely, you will serve a shorter sentence and receive lower fines if you have no prior criminal history. Offenders who are in college may lose the ability to receive federal student aid.