Washington Drug Conspiracy
by Lewis & Laws
Washington Drug Conspiracy
In March 2018, twenty people were charged with drug trafficking conspiracy in King, Pierce, Snohomish and Thurston Counties following what law enforcement characterized as a “long-term investigation.”
Charges of drug conspiracy are often among the vaguest offenses in the criminal justice system, as a person could conceivably be charged with drug conspiracy without ever buying, selling or possessing any controlled substance. A conspiracy is an agreement between two or more people to commit a crime, therefore if a person agrees with one or more individuals to engage in conduct which constitutes the commission of a crime, he or she might be charged with criminal conspiracy.
In the context of illegal drugs, conspiracy charges currently result from an agreement to sell a controlled substance. Because prosecutors may be overly inclusive when charging drug conspiracy, innocent people can potentially be arrested.
Potential Charges for Washington Drug Conspiracy Charges
The Revised Code of Washington defines conspiracy in a way which does not require proof of a substantial step—that is, a person can be found guilty of criminal conspiracy even if the person or persons with whom he or she is alleged to have conspired:
- was not convicted, or even prosecuted for the crime,
- was convicted, but for a different criminal offense,
- was acquitted of the charges,
- did not have the capacity to commit an offense, or
- is a government agent or police officer who had no intentions of the crime actually being committed.
Under Washington statutes, the charges for drug conspiracy are one level down from the underlying crime. (i.e., if the underlying crime is a class A felony (other than murder in the first degree) the charge would be a Class B felony. If the underlying crime is a Class B felony, the drug conspiracy would be charged as a Class C felony, and so on.
What Acts Rise to the Level of Drug Conspiracy?
In the context of drug crimes, the word conspiracy does not imply a cover-up. Rather, conspiracy occurs when two or more people make a plan to commit a specific drug crime, then take steps to carry out the plan (the steps to carry out the plan might or might not be a criminal act).
As an example, suppose three people agree between themselves to manufacture methamphetamine, then they purchase the chemicals to do so. In this example, all three people could be charged with conspiracy—even if the chemical purchases were not illegal, and even if no further steps were taken to carry out the original agreement.
How Drug Conspiracy is Proven in Washington
Conspiracy to commit drug trafficking—and certain other drug conspiracy offenses—can be prosecuted in either federal or state court. Federal penalties will depend on the defendant’s criminal history, the conduct associated with the offense, the specific facts of the case and any mitigating or aggravating factors. In the state of Washington, the following elements must be proven in order to secure a conviction:
- You made an agreement with one or more other people to commit a drug-related crime such as trafficking, possession or manufacturing.
- When you made the agreement, you intended to commit the crime agreed to.
- One or more of those who made the agreement actually took steps toward the commission of the crime.
- Any of those acts took place in the state of Washington.
Legal Defenses to Seattle Drug Conspiracy
While the defense implemented by your Seattle criminal defense attorney will depend on the specific circumstances surrounding your charges, there may be issues related to how law enforcement agencies obtained the evidence being used against you or whether your constitutional rights were violated. Having an experienced Seattle drug conspiracy attorney by your side to prepare a solid defense on your behalf is crucial to your future.
Are you Facing Drug Charges? Contact the Experienced Drug Defense Lawyers at Lewis & Laws, PLLC.
If you have been arrested and charged with a drug crime in Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Everett, or anywhere in the state of Washington, it is important to begin fighting these charges immediately. Let the experienced criminal defense lawyers at Lewis & Laws, PLLC fight aggressively for you and your future. Our lawyers have successfully defended clients in Seattle, Bellevue, and Kirkland. Contact us today at 206.209.0608 or fill out our online contact form to get more information or to get a free case review!