Fentanyl is a drug that is prescribed by medical professionals for severe pain. It is, however, also very addictive and now widely known as a drug behind many deaths in America. Because of this, Washington prosecutors are often aggressive when it comes to charging people with crimes that involve fentanyl, such as distribution or possession of this drug. If you are facing charges related to this drug, the consequences can be very serious, and you will need the assistance of an experienced defense law firm.
What to Know About Fentanyl
In the United States, some prescription medicines fall under the umbrella of the federal Uniform Controlled Substance Act, which classifies drugs under different schedules. Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, falls under Schedule II, alongside other drugs such as heroin, Vicodin and Oxycodone. Drugs under this schedule pose a high risk of addiction on the physical and mental levels. Originally, Fentanyl was made to manage pain in cancer patients, but it is prescribed for severe pain management in people with or without cancer today.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fentanyl is around 50 times more potent than heroin and up to 100 times stronger than morphine. It is also now responsible for more deaths than any other drug in the country, and it was the subject of a safety notice issued by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) back in 2016. Fentanyl is sometimes mixed with heroin or sold as a more potent form of the street drug.
Fentanyl Charges in Washington State
Due to the addictive and dangerous nature of this opioid, drug charges involving it are often aggressive in response to the crisis surrounding it. A person can be charged with possession, possession with the intent to distribute it to others, distribution of the drug and illegal use, which applies to people who don’t have a valid prescription for it. If you receive a Fentanyl prescription using forgery, theft or fraud in any way, you can be charged for those offenses as well.
Penalties for Fentanyl-related charges vary widely depending on the nature of the charge, how much of the drug was involved, whether the person has a criminal history, and their age at the time. Fines can go massively high with some charges–such as $500,000 per count–and even a first-time offender could be facing up to ten years in prison. Naturally, these types of penalties will have a severe impact on your life now and in the long term, so if you have been charged with a crime related to Fentanyl, it’s imperative that you contact a defense law firm immediately for help.
In addition to state charges, you can face Fentanyl charges on a federal level if your case falls under that umbrella. This often happens when your charges involve large quantities of the drug or some sort of organized criminal organization. Bringing in or taking out Fentanyl is also often charged at a federal level. As with state charge penalties, criminal federal penalties involving this drug may include serious fines and significant jail time.
If you have a substance abuse problem, there may be assistance and help for you, as Washington State does recognize the seriously addictive nature of this drug and the predicament of people suffering from dependency on it. Speak to your attorney honestly about any drug dependency you have so they can approach your case with all the proper information right from the start.
Speak to an Attorney for Help
Anyone who is charged with a Fentanyl-related crime should seek help from an experienced Washington criminal defense lawyer as soon as they can. An experienced attorney will review your situation, explore your options, and explain those to you so you know what you are facing. They will also work to devise the best possible defense for your specific situation. Having a serious drug conviction on your record will impact your life for years to come, and it can also mean fines and time in jail and away from your family and friends. Ensure your rights are protected and that you have a shot at the best potential outcome for your case by engaging with a defense law firm as early on in your case as possible.