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VUCSA Charges in Washington State

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Substance abuse is a major problem in the United States, and Violation of the Uniform Controlled Substances Act (VUCSA) charges are serious crimes in the state of Washington. From opioid use to methamphetamine production and other drug crimes, you can face significant penalties if the court convicts you on these charges. These penalties increase based on the severity, and hiring a criminal defense attorney to help you combat VUCSA charges can help you minimize or avoid them.

What Is a VUCSA Charge?

VUCSA stands for Violation of the Uniform Controlled Substance Act, and VUCSA charges are crimes that involve the misuse, possession, sale, or distribution of illegal and prescription drugs. Washington assigns penalties for these crimes based on a number of factors, including the type and amount of the drug involved, any previous criminal history, and other aggravating factors.

Courts prosecute many different drug crimes under VUCSA. For example, healthcare professionals who provide fake prescriptions with the intention of selling or abusing addictive drugs would face charges under VUCSA. Possession of a controlled substance is another VUCSA crime, as well as the manufacturing or sale of drugs.

Both prison sentences and fines are possible in VUCSA cases, along with probation and other administrative penalties. Penalties can range from misdemeanors to class A felonies.

  • A misdemeanor VUCSA charge is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a fine up to $1,000.
  • A gross misdemeanor VUCSA charge is punishable by up to 364 jails in jail and a fine up to $5,000.
  • A class C felony is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.
  • A class B felony is punishable by a prison sentence up to 10 years and a $20,000 maximum fine.
  • A class A felony, the most serious charge, is punishable by life in prison and a fine up to $50,000.

Washington’s Definition of Controlled Substances

Washington’s Uniform Controlled Substance Act defines a controlled substance as any drug, substance, or precursor listed as a Schedule I through IV drug under federal or state law. These controlled substances include, but are not limited to, the following.

  • Heroin
  • Marijuana, excluding the use allowed by Washington state law
  • Ecstasy
  • GHB
  • Methamphetamine
  • Cocaine
  • Barbiturates
  • Codeine
  • Opium
  • Morphine
  • Ketamine
  • Addictive prescription drugs

How Courts Convict a Person on a VUCSA Charge

If you are facing VUCSA charges, the judge and prosecutors will consider a set of factors when determining which charges to file and the specific penalties you may face. These considerations include, but are not limited to, the following factors.

  • Whether or not you used or were in possession of a weapon at the time of the alleged crime
  • What specific drugs were involved in your case, and the amounts of these drugs
  • What you intended to do with the drugs involved in your case
  • Whether or not you have a previous criminal history, especially if this history involves other drug convictions
  • Your age at the time of the alleged crime
  • Whether or not an underage person was involved in the crime, if you are an adult

These factors can impact your case in a number of ways. Schedule I drugs, which do not have any accepted medical use in the United States and have high rates of abuse, will typically lead to harsher penalties than Schedule 5 substances, which include products you can readily purchase like cough syrup. Larger amounts of drugs will also likely lead to higher penalties, and a previous criminal history may also increase the VUCSA charge classification.

If you are facing VUCSA charges in Washington state, it is important to contact a Tacoma drug crimes lawyer with experience representing clients accused of drug charges. Your lawyer will advise you on your best legal pathways, help you understand the criminal justice process you will have to enter, and work closely with you to build a compelling defense. If you have not contacted a VUCSA defense attorney, schedule your consultation as soon as possible following your arrest.

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