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Severe penalties for heroin offenses in Washington

Thanks to changing laws on the subject, much attention has been paid to marijuana use in Washington recently. However, there are many other substances for which there is no acceptable legal use; one such substance is the opium derivative heroin. Some argue that there is actually a heroin epidemic sweeping the country, as the Centers for Disease Control have indicated heroin overdose fatalities have almost tripled since 2010.

Unfortunately, overdoses and health problems are not the only serious consequences that coincide with heroin drug offenses. In Washington State, the drug charges associated with heroin are extremely serious as well. For example, simple possession of even a small amount of heroin is a Class C felony. For those convicted on such a charge for the first time, they may have to attend a drug diversion program and be sentenced to probation. However, potential penalties can involve fines of up to $10,000 or a prison sentence of up to five years.

For a repeat offense, the penalties associated with a conviction for heroin possession can double. This is also the case in Idaho. In that state, a possession conviction may entail a prison term of up to seven years or a fine of up to $15,000. Since the penalties for heroin possession are so severe, it can be beneficial to secure the help of an experienced Spokane criminal defense attorney. There are varied defenses to drug charges and a skilled attorney can help preserve a defendant's rights both in and out of the courtroom.

A conviction on a heroin charge can involve more than just fines and jail time. A convicted offender may lose certain forms of federal funding, for instance, such as loans for higher education. A criminal defense attorney can explain the penalties associated with a conviction, the defenses available and the potential to reduce charges or reach a beneficial plea deal in many cases.

Source: FindLaw, "Washington Heroin Laws," accessed April 26, 2015

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