In our state, drug-related offenses are often called VUCSA, which is Violation of the Uniform Controlled Substance Act. A VUCSA felony is a felony-level drug crime. Most VUCSA crimes get charged as felonies.
Your most pressing concerns when charged with a VUCSA felony are trying to get the charge dismissed or reduced to a misdemeanor. Your first phone call should be to a Washington criminal defense lawyer, who will get to work on your defense and answer your questions, like what is a VUCSA felony.
VUCSA Offenses in Washington State
Because we have some of the toughest drug laws in the United States, most drug crimes are felonies. If you get caught with controlled substances, which can be “street drugs” or prescription drugs, you could face VUCSA charges. Making, possessing, or distributing controlled substances in our state is generally illegal and usually charged as a felony.
Levels of VUCSA Offenses
There are three levels of VUCSA crimes in Washington:
Level I Offenses
- Possession of a controlled substance
- Manufacturing, delivering, or possessing with the intent to deliver marijuana
- Illegally using a building for the purpose of drugs
- Having a forged prescription
Level II Offenses
- Maintaining a “drug house”
- Manufacturing, delivering, or possession with the intent to deliver narcotics or non-narcotics from Schedule I, II, II, IV, or V or an imitation controlled substance
- Delivering or possessing with the intent to deliver methamphetamine
- Possessing, making, or delivering a counterfeit controlled substance
Level III Offenses
- Making methamphetamine
- Selling controlled substances
- Possessing the component chemicals of methamphetamine with the intent to make the drug
- An adult providing real or imitation drugs to a minor
- A Chapter 69.50 felony offense that involved a deadly weapon
- Homicide involving a controlled substance
The level of the offense can impact the sentencing if one is convicted of a VUCSA crime.
Maximum Sentences for Criminal Convictions in Washington
A person convicted of a misdemeanor in our state could face a maximum sentence of 90 days in jail, fines of up to $1000, or both. If the offense is a gross misdemeanor, the fine can be as high as $5000 with jail time of 90 days to one year.
Felony convictions, including VUCSA felonies, have these sentencing maximum punishments:
- Class A felonies can result in up to life in prison, fines of $50,000, or both.
- Class B felonies can carry a maximum period of confinement of 10 years with fines up to $20,000.
- A person convicted of a class C felony can get sentenced to up to five years in prison, $10,000 in fines, or both.
When determining the appropriate sentence for a drug offense, the judge will look at the defendant’s Offender Score and whether the conviction was for a Level I, II, or III drug crime.
Fighting VUCSA Charges
Having a criminal conviction, particularly a felony, on your record can have a devastating impact on your life. You can lose your job, your professional license, your freedom if incarcerated, and thousands of dollars in fines. With your very future at stake, it would behoove you to work with a Washington criminal defense attorney who can build a strong defense or negotiate alternative sentencing options. For legal help, contact our office today.
DISCLAIMER: This post is intended to share my perspective, insights, and some general information on various aspects of criminal cases. It is not legal advice and is not intended to substitute for legal advice. You should consult an attorney to obtain legal advice for your individual situation and case.