Simple possession is now a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 90 days in jail. Eligible government agencies can use our free one-on-one consultation service. Upcoming Workshops: In-person workshops at various locations in Washington State. By holding that the law exceeds the police power of the state and violates the due process clauses of state and federal constitutions, the Court found that, The bottom line is that state law criminalizing possession of controlled substances has been declared unconstitutional; in other words, it is no longer a crime for someone have controlled substances, either knowingly or unknowingly.
Meanwhile, some local governments are taking matters into their own hands when considering local ordinances on drug possession. Both the City of Marysville and Grant County adopted an ordinance that makes it a felony to “knowingly possess a controlled substance,” unless a valid prescription, a professional order, or as authorized by RCW chapter 69.50 is met. The proposed ordinance by Lewis County criminalizes the knowingly possession of controlled substances and reflects the state penalty by making it a felony. MRSC is a private nonprofit organization that serves local governments in Washington State.
Eligible government agencies in Washington State can use our free, one-on-one Ask MRSC service to get answers to legal, political, or financial questions. At MRSC, Flannary enjoys providing legal guidance to municipalities in all municipal matters, including OPMA, PRA and staff. She also serves on the WSAMA Board of Directors as Secretary-Treasurer. Anyone who is not a citizen with a conviction for drug possession on their record is at risk of arrest and deportation.
This is true even if you have legal status (such as a green card or DACA) or if you are applying for legal status. If your conviction is overturned under the State v. Blake, will no longer count as a drug conviction for immigration purposes. Simple possession refers to the possession of small quantities of controlled substances, indicative of personal use.
For someone without legal status who was deported for simple possession in Washington State, there is no clear or easily accessible path to return to the United States. Simple possession is a reportable crime under U.S. immigration laws, and according to Annie Benson of the Washington Advocates Association, it is one of the most common crime-related grounds for people with legal status to be deported. The opportunity to overturn convictions for drug possession could be a big step for many trying to rebuild their lives, Smith said.
The bottom line is that state law criminalizing possession of controlled substances has been declared unconstitutional; in other words, it is no longer a crime for someone to possess controlled substances, either knowingly or unknowingly. If you are in community custody only for drug possession and for no other crime, you may be eligible for a “commutation order” from the Governor. Blake declared Washington's strict liability drug possession statute unconstitutional, which criminalized involuntary and involuntary possession of controlled substances without a prescription. Anyone convicted under Washington's previous drug possession law in the past 50 years could be eligible to have their sentences overturned or their convictions eliminated altogether.
If your conviction for drug possession was recent and you filed a guilty plea to avoid a higher charge, there is a slight chance that the prosecutor will recharge you in that superior defense. You may also be able to vacate misdemeanor drug possession convictions and get LFO refunds from the District or Municipal Court. Nearly four months after the state Supreme Court struck down Washington's felony drug possession law as unconstitutional, Gov. If your family member or friend has not yet heard from your lawyer in drug possession cases where you are in custody, you should contact your lawyer immediately.
Others cautioned that without the preference of a statewide law, local governments would adopt their own laws against drug possession, creating a mosaic of wildly different approaches across the state. . .