What About Drug Possession and Public Use?


SQ Attorneys

SQ Attorneys

So what happens now that the Seattle City Council rejected the most recent drug prosecution bill? The legislation would have adopted into the City’s criminal code Washington state’s recent law criminalizing drug possession and making public use of it a gross misdemeanor. Gross misdemeanors are generally handled by district and municipal courts in and around the state of Washington.

Since Seattle rejected such a law, the Seattle City Attorney cannot prosecute drug possession or its public use within the Seattle City limits. The fact that the city did not enact the bill does not stop law enforcement from arresting people in the city for drug possession or public use. On the contrary, law enforcement can arrest those violating the state law within Seattle’s city limits. However, it will have to be the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office that prosecutes the alleged perpetrators in King County District Court, not Seattle Municipal Court.

Ultimately, the concern resulting in not passing the bill was centered around a concern about the perceived ramping up of another ‘war on drugs,’ and the fact that some in the city believe the intent of the bill’s proponents was to incarcerate instead of rehabilitate alleged offenders. The reality is that the County is probably not going to do the City’s ‘dirty work’. Drug and public use of the same probably is going to go unchecked in the City of Seattle.  Council member Andrew Lewis had the deciding vote, and after taking a public moment to whine about how his decision may negatively impact the possibility of him being re-elected, he capitulated to those who felt the bill wasn’t worth passing.  As was to be expected, the decision of the Council ‘outraged’ Seattle City Attorney, Ann Davison.

If you or a loved one is in a bind as a result of a criminal charge, immediately contact a Seattle Criminal Attorney. A Criminal lawyer is not going to judge you and understands that everyone makes mistakes. Hiring a Seattle Criminal Lawyer to help can – at a minimum – reduce penalties and can help direct people on how to best deal with their criminal charge, and many times even get them dismissed. So, it should go without saying that someone cited for a misdemeanor or felony should hire a qualified Seattle Criminal Lawyer as soon as possible. Criminal charges can cause havoc on a person’s personal and professional life. Anyone charged with a crime in Washington State should immediately seek the assistance of a seasoned Seattle Criminal Lawyer. SQ Attorneys can be reached at (425) 359-3791 and/or (206) 441-0900

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