WHAT DOES DELIVERY MEAN?
Under Washington law, “delivery” of a controlled substance means simply handing a drug from one person to another. To convict a person of “delivery” of a controlled substance, no money needs to change hands. It makes no difference to courts if you are simply “sharing” the drug with a friend.
In Washington, there really is no separate crime of “trafficking” drugs, or selling for profit. Unfortunately criminal defense lawyers often find themselves defending a person who no one would really think of as a “drug dealer.” Under Washington law, delivery of a controlled substance is a serious crime. It is important to have a skilled Vancouver drug lawyer on your side.
POLICE MISUSE OF INFORMANTS
Because of the difficulty of police detectives to infiltrate actual drug trafficking networks, police will often use individuals who turn state’s witness. In Washington, a citizen who works with narcotics detectives is often called a “confidential informant” or “CI” for short. These individuals are often pressured by police to give up the names of other people involved in drugs. Under threats of imprisonment, such individuals often fabricate elaborate stories to save themselves. When the police pressure such individuals, they often discourage them from speaking to a defense attorney before they make an agreement to work with the police. An informant is then given marked bills to then attempt to buy drugs from other people.
Often times the target of the informant had no intention of dealing drugs prior to the CI showing up at their door. Most drug users are willing to share their drugs if the informant is persistent enough. Police departments do not take adequate steps to ensure that drug users are not being turned into drug “dealers” by this process. When a person turns informant, the sad truth is that they are typically unwilling to give up the name of an actual drug dealer out of fear for their safety. The names that informants give up are usually merely their friends or acquaintances. When the police give the money to the informant to attempt to purchase drugs, they will often mark the bill or record the serial number. Oftentimes the bills will be photocopied. If the police locate the marked bills later in someone’s possession, that can be incriminating. However, the police will usually not follow up the alleged purchase with any search.
A criminal defense lawyer needs to point this out to the jury. Additionally, the police will typically search the informant and his car prior to the attempted buy to make sure that they are not hiding any drugs. If an informant hides drugs on his body, he could later produce the drug and claim that they bought it. However, as most experienced defense lawyers know, the search that the police conduct is usually very superficial, and there are many places an informant could hide drugs. An eighth of an ounce of methamphetamine or cocaine could easily fit in the waist band of a person’s pants.
During jury trials on drug cases, I usually get the police to admit that they search the informant for a reason, and the reason is that even the police do not trust informants. A police detective would never think to search another police detective. It is the job of a drug crime lawyer to thoroughly dig into the background of any informant to learn why they turned state’s evidence.
Oftentimes, the informant’s background, criminal history and reliability are central issues in the case. Erin Bradley McAleer is a drug attorneythat can make a difference on your charges.
Under Washington law entrapment is a defense posed in cases where delivery of a controlled substance is alleged. To claim entrapment, it is necessary that the criminal design originated in the mind of the police or informant, and the defendant was lured or induced to commit a crime which the actor had not otherwise intended to commit. The defense of entrapment is not established by a showing merely that the police or informant simply afforded the defendant an opportunity to commit a crime. It is common for the prosecutors in entrapment cases to try to bring up past criminal history of a defendant to show that he or she was predisposed to deliver drugs. The evidence rules that govern these prior incidents are very complicated, and the defense attorney usually spends considerable time fighting and writing legal briefs on this subject.
Under Washington law, the police need a warrant signed by a judge to audio record a conversation without the consent of both parties. Such recordings are often very scratchy and inaudible – it was hard to hear any words much less the particulars of an alleged drug deal. More commonly, an informant will wear a small microrecorder. The police need a proper warrant for such a recording, and a defense lawyer can challenge the probable cause the police used to obtain such a warrant. Often with drug detectives you will hear the term “controlled buy” which means that the work of the informant was not audio recorded but the police still maintained some sort of control over the informant. Such cases are often not very strong in court. Police detectives will often send an informant out to a target’s home repeatedly to try to get numerous counts of delivery of a controlled substance.
Under Washington law, the penalty for one count of delivery of marijuana is 0-6 months but this can increase for a person with a criminal record. The penalty for one count of delivery of drugs such as heroin or cocaine is 12 to 20 months in prison. However, prosecuting attorneys will often try to charge multiple counts.
In addition, penalties can be added if a defendant was armed with a deadly weapon of a firearm at the time. This penalty is called a “weapon enhancement”. These enhancements can be up to five years. Prisons do not award early release for good behavior for weapon enhancements. Additionally, under Washington law similar enhancements can be imposed if the alleged delivery occurred within a school zone.
VANCOUVER DRUG CRIMES LAWYER
Whether your charge is in Clark Cowlitz, or Skamania County, you deserve a skilled drug defense attorney to properly defend you. When you meet with Erin Bradley McAleer for a free consultation, he will look at the drug complaint brought against you. He can properly advise you as to how to provide an effective defense. Because of his training and broad experience, lawyer Erin Bradley McAleer can defend people in an innovative and thorough manner.
These serious allegations call for a drug defense lawyer that is aggressive and dedicated defense to defending people. Avoiding criminal convictions is always the top priority that lawyer Erin Bradley McAleer has for his clients. Mr. McAleer looks forward to applying his skills to your case.
The Law Office of Erin Bradley McAleer will fight to ensure that you achieve the best possible outcome in your court case. Call attorney Erin Bradley McAleer today at (360) 334-6277 to schedule an immediate confidential free consultation.
Washington Attorney Erin Bradley McAleer represents clients throughout Southwest Washington State, including in Clark County, Cowlitz County, and Skamania County and Vancouver, Battle Ground, Camas, La Center, Ridgefield, Washougal, Woodland, Yacolt, Castle Rock, Kalama, Kelso, Longview, North Bonneville, and Stevenson. Attorney Erin Bradley McAleer focuses on the areas of Criminal Defense, Traffic Infractions, Landlord Tenant, Personal Injury, Firearm Rights Restoration, and Post-Conviction Relief (Vacating & Sealing Criminal Records).