Certain illicit drugs, such as cocaine and methamphetamine, are restricted at both the federal and state level. This includes the manufacturing, cultivation, trafficking, distribution and possession of these substances. Conviction on drug charges often carries stiff sentences, including prison time, but sometimes prosecutors will offer plea deals to lower-level offenders in exchange for help with a larger case. Some states like Washington have decriminalized marijuana charges as long as the amount in possession is less than a certain amount and if it is for the purpose of recreational use. Many state have enacted medical marijuana laws allowing physicians to recommend the drug for certain illnesses while exempting qualified patients from criminal prosecution on marijuana-related drug charges.
So what governs the state and federal drugs laws you ask? In response to widespread, recreational drug problems in the U.S, Congress in 1970 enacted the Controlled Substances Act (hereinafter “CSA”) as Title II of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act. The Act developed a complex regulatory system designed to control the distribution of drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, and heroin. The CSA established five schedules of drugs, with each schedule representing the degree with which the drug is likely to be abused and the level of accepted medical use.
So what is the purpose of the Drug Enforcement Administration? Formed during the summer of 1973, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is a federal law enforcement agency that is responsible for dealing with drug smuggling and drug abuse within the United States. It is under the U.S. Department of Justice and works directly with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as well as with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Additionally, the DEA has been given the power to conduct United States drug investigations internationally.
Possession of drug paraphernalia, is a criminal charge involving items that are used in relation to drug crimes. Drug paraphernalia can be divided into two main categories: those used to distribute drugs and those used to ingest drugs. This distinction can be important for someone who is facing drug paraphernalia charges, especially since things like ordinary household items such as scales or spoons can be also used in the distribution or consumption of illegal drugs.
There are several ways to defend against a charge of drug possession. Unlawful or illegal search and seizure, the drugs belong to another person, missing evidence, or duress or coercion such as being forced to carry or hold drugs for someone else, are among the most common defenses. Keep in mind, the medical use of marijuana is never a defense in federal court but may be in states where medical marijuana has been legalized. States with such exceptions to marijuana laws typically require a doctor’s signed recommendation.
If you or a loved one is in a bind as a result of a criminal charge, immediately contact a Seattle Criminal Attorney. A Criminal lawyer is not going to judge you, and understands that everyone makes mistakes. Hiring a Seattle Criminal Lawyer to help can – at a minimum – reduce penalties, and can help direct people on how to best deal with their criminal charge, and many times even get them dismissed. So it should go without saying that someone cited for a misdemeanor or felony should hire a qualified Seattle Criminal Lawyer as soon as possible. Criminal charges can cause havoc on a person’s personal and professional life. Anyone charged with a crime in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Seattle Criminal Lawyer.