Law enforcement are understandably concerned about meth, but those accused of related crimes are entitled to vigorous legal defense and the presumption of innocence.
In February 2020, a 40-year-old Yakima resident received a 14-year federal prison sentence after which he will be subject to five years of court supervision in the community, according to KIMA. Police reportedly found 90 pounds of methamphetamine in the course of his arrest, which was linked to meth sales and a crystallization processing operation.
His sentence followed an August 2019 guilty plea to distribution of over 500 grams of meth.
The Meth Problem in Our State
People in Washington State have been understandably more focused of late on the problems related to opioid addiction than on methamphetamine use and abuse. But in Spokane County, there was a more than 300% increase in the number of meth-related deaths from 2003-2004 to 2017-2018, according to state agency data analyzed by the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute of the University of Washington (ADAI).
In fact, Spokane County is waging a uniquely challenging battle against meth, with twice the rate of fatalities from methamphetamine overdoses than that of King County, reported ADAI in a 2018 report. Given the myriad of medical and societal problems linked to meth use and production, it is understandable that Eastern Washington law enforcement is focusing on related illegal activities.
There has been federal-state law enforcement cooperation in the Spokane region focused on methamphetamine markets such as a major enforcement action in late 2017 involving federal, state, and local officials in which about 20 arrests occurred along with seizures of meth and guns.
Public Concern Cannot Trump Individual Rights
While public officials, including law enforcement, must do their work to keep people safe from the scourge of meth, in the rush to contain the problem, innocent people will undoubtedly be arrested. Or, meth crimes charged may be excessive for the actual level of culpability.
Any individual who believes they may be under observation or investigation for suspected methamphetamine activity or who has already been arrested or charged with a crime should seek the advice and representation of an experienced attorney as soon as possible. A lawyer can begin to advocate for the person immediately and may be able to prevent the filing of charges or get them reduced or dismissed.
If appropriate, legal counsel can negotiate a plea deal or fight the charges in court. If necessary, an attorney can advocate for fair sentencing, including potentially community service, treatment, or another option in lieu of jail time. In appropriate circumstances, the lawyer may file an appeal of a wrongful conviction or an excessive sentence.
State and federal drug crime convictions – both felony and misdemeanor – carry steep penalties, including potentially prison time, fines, and probation, not to mention the negative impact on employment potential and personal reputation, so vigorous legal defense is very important.
The criminal defense lawyers of Maxey Law Office, PLLC, in Spokane fight for the rights of those accused of meth-related crimes throughout Eastern Washington and North Idaho.