If you have been arrested for a drug crime in Seattle, you likely will have many questions. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions. Remember, no two cases are alike and these are meant t serve as a general overview. For information pertaining to your specific case, call The Law Offices of Steve Karimi to set up a free consultation.
What Does VUCSA mean?
VUCSA stands for Violation of the Uniform Controlled Substance Act. The Uniform Controlled Substance Act is defined in Washington State Legislature under Chapter 69.50 RCW. It contains the laws regarding illegal and prescription drugs, thus a drug crime is consider a violation of this act.
Does it Matter that Only a Small Amount of Drugs Was Found?
Only in certain circumstances does the amount of the drug involved in an offense matter. For example, crimes involving methamphetamines or narcotics often result in steeper penalty when two or more kilograms of the drug are involved. In many cases, however, possession, delivery or sale of even a very small amount of a drug can result in felony drug charges.
Will I Have to Serve Time in Jail?
After you are released from jail on bail or bond pending trial, you will not have to serve jail time unless you are convicted or plead guilty to the charges. The maximum penalties for most drug crimes include some period of incarceration. The judge will ultimately decide exactly how much time you will serve. In some circumstances, your defense attorney may be able to work out a plea agreement or suspended sentence that will allow you to avoid serving your jail sentence. The best way to avoid jail time, however, is to fight your charges.
Will I Have to Go to Drug Counseling?
Substance abuse evaluation and counseling may be order by the judge if you are convicted of a drug crime in Washington. In some circumstances it may be beneficial to you to enter treatment or counseling before trial in order to show the court that you are serious about taking control of your actions. This strategy should be discussed with your Washington defense attorney.
What is an Arraignment?
An arraignment is your chance to enter your initial plea of guilty or not guilty. Most defense lawyers will recommend that you enter a plea of not guilty so that you have adequate time to review the evidence and all of your options. Sometime conditions can be included at your arraignment requiring you to enter substance abuse treatment, attend counseling or even submit to house arrest as a condition of your bail or bond.
Should I Just Plead Guilty and Get it Over With?
Though every situation is different, most Seattle VUCSA suspects are advised to enter a plea of not guilty at their arraignment. You will always have a chance to change your plea to guilty later down the line, however you will have time to see what evidence the state has against you and what defense options are available to you. After pleading not guilty, if you haven't already, you should immediately contact a Washington VUCSA defense lawyer to begin building your defense.
How Will This Affect My Job?
Most employers do not require employees to report any pending criminal charges against them. However, you will likely be required to miss work in order to meet court obligations. If you are convicted or plead guilty to a charge, your employer will likely find out. In some situations this may adversely affect your career. In order to avoid this, you should fight your charges with the aid of a defense attorney.
I've Never Been Arrested Before, Can I Still Be Charged with a Felony?
While a clean criminal record can be beneficial in negotiating deals with the prosecution, even a first time offender can be charged with a felony drug crime and face long periods of incarceration and steep fines if they are convicted. The best way to prevent a felony conviction is to have experienced legal assistance on your side.
How Do I Get My Charges Reduced or Dropped?
There is no guarantee that an attorney can get your drug charges reduced or dismissed. However, the stronger defense that your attorney can build, the more likely you are to receive a deal. For this reason it is important to hire a lawyer who understands the legal process of drug crimes. Attorney Steve Karimi is a former prosecutor for Washington State. He knows what prosecutors look for when considering reducing or dismissing charges.
Do I Need a VUCSA Lawyer?
Having a VUCSA lawyer by your side is beneficial for many reasons. Not only can your attorney help you build a strong defense by challenging the evidence against you, they can work with the prosecutor to get a plea agreement or reduced charges. Not all defense attorneys are created equal, attorney Karimi is dedicated to helping his clients fight their drug crime charges and get the best possible results.
If you or a family member has been charged with a drug crime in Washington, call our office right now to set up a free consultation.