Getting hit with a drug charge may send you to jail or prison. One factor in how the court proceeds is whether or not the crime elevates to a felony charge.
Felony drug charges may come with much stiffer penalties. However, not all drug crimes are equal, and not all may pack the punch of a felony. Learn more about what makes drug possession a felony in Washington.
What is the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor?
The main differentiator in felonies and misdemeanors is the length of the sentence. As a general rule, a conviction that results in more than one year of incarceration is a felony. Most misdemeanor crimes that require detention occur in a jail. Felony incarceration usually takes place at a prison.
What are some factors that make a drug crime a felony?
Many elements determine whether a drug crime is a felony or misdemeanor.
The Drug Enforcement Agency sets out the classification of drugs that breaks them into categories from Schedule I to V. Drugs with no known medical benefits and highly addictive properties are in Schedule I. These substances come with the heftiest sentences. Schedule II drugs have some medical uses, but their addictive properties are high, so possession charges are harsher.
The amount of drugs in your possession also determines your charge. If the quantity of drugs is high enough, the police may charge you with trafficking or the intent to distribute drugs, which is a felony.
Enhancements are additional factors that increase the stakes of your case. If you have drugs and a weapon, regardless of the quality or type of drug, you may face a felony charge. Enhancements make charges and sentences stiffer.
Should the police arrest and charge you with any drug crime, you may want to retain a professional to work with.