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Spokane Drug Delivery Lawyer

Experienced Defense Attorney for Delivery of Controlled Substance Case

Steve Graham was rated one of Spokane's top five criminal lawyers by the magazine Spokane - Couer d'Alene Living. Mr. Graham is a recognized nationwide authority on the subject of drugs, drug policy, marijuana DUI charges, drug taxation, police practices and other drug issues, and writes on these topics in his law blog.

As a former elected prosecutor, attorney Steve Graham has handled the most serious drug offenses in his county, and worked with the police on the most in depth investigations into narcotics trafficking. He saw firsthand how the lack of safeguards in the system made it so that even an infrequent user of narcotics could be targeted as a dealer. If you are charged with delivery of a controlled substance, hire an experienced drug attorney to have as an advocate in your corner.

What does Delivery Mean?

Under Washington law, "delivery" of a controlled substance means simply handing a drug from one person to another. To convict a person of "delivery" of a controlled substance, no money needs to change hands. It makes no difference to courts if you are simply "sharing" the drug with a friend.

In Washington, there really is no separate crime of "trafficking" drugs, or selling for profit. Unfortunately criminal defense lawyers often find themselves defending a person who no one would really think of as a "drug dealer." Under Washington law, delivery of a controlled substance is a serious crime. It is important to have a skilled Spokane drug lawyer on your side.

Police Misuse of Informants

Because of the difficulty of police detectives to infiltrate actual drug trafficking networks, police will often use individuals who turn state's witness. In Washington, a citizen who works with narcotics detectives is often called a "confidential informant" or "CI" for short. These individuals are often pressured by police to give up the names of other people involved in drugs. Under threats of imprisonment, such individuals often fabricate elaborate stories to save themselves. When the police pressure such individuals, they often discourage them from speaking to a defense attorney before they make an agreement to work with the police.

An informant is then given marked bills to then attempt to buy drugs from other people. Often times the target of the informant had no intention of dealing drugs prior to the CI showing up at their door. Most drug users are willing to share their drugs if the informant is persistent enough. Police departments do not take adequate steps to ensure that drug users are not being turned into drug "dealers" by this process. When a person turns informant, the sad truth is that they are typically unwilling to give up the name of an actual drug dealer out of fear for their safety. The names that informants give up are usually merely their friends or acquaintances.

When the police give the money to the informant to attempt to purchase drugs, they will often mark the bill or record the serial number. Oftentimes the bills will be photocopied. If the police locate the marked bills later in someone's possession, that can be incriminating. However, the police will usually not follow up the alleged purchase with any search. A criminal defense lawyer needs to point this out to the jury. Additionally, the police will typically search the informant and his car prior to the attempted buy to make sure that they are not hiding any drugs. If an informant hides drugs on his body, he could later produce the drug and claim that they bought it. However, as most experienced defense lawyers know, the search that the police conduct is usually very superficial, and there are many places an informant could hide drugs.

An eighth of an ounce of methamphetamine or cocaine could easily fit in the waist band of a person's pants. During jury trials on drug cases, I usually get the police to admit that they search the informant for a reason, and the reason is that even the police do not trust informants.

A police detective would never think to search another police detective. It is the job of a drug crime lawyer to thoroughly dig into the background of any informant to learn why they turned state's evidence. Oftentimes, the informant's background, criminal history and reliability are central issues in the case. Steve Graham is a drug attorney that can make a difference on your charges.


Under Washington law entrapment is a defense posed in cases where delivery of a controlled substance is alleged. To claim entrapment, it is necessary that the criminal design originated in the mind of the police or informant, and the defendant was lured or induced to commit a crime which the actor had not otherwise intended to commit. The defense of entrapment is not established by a showing merely that the police or informant simply afforded the defendant an opportunity to commit a crime.

It is common for the prosecutors in entrapment cases to try to bring up past criminal history of a defendant to show that he or she was predisposed to deliver drugs. The evidence rules that govern these prior incidents are very complicated, and the defense attorney usually spends considerable time fighting and writing legal briefs on this subject.

Body Wires

Under Washington law, the police need a warrant signed by a judge to audio record a conversation without the consent of both parties. When I first started practicing law, informants often wore radios hidden on their bodies that broadcast back to the police. Such recording was often very scratchy and inaudible - it was hard to hear any words much less the particulars of an alleged drug deal.

More commonly, an informant will wear a small micro-recorder. The police need a proper warrant for such a recording, and a defense lawyer can challenge the probable cause the police used to obtain such a warrant. Often with drug detectives you will hear the term "controlled buy" which means that the work of the informant was not audio recorded but the police still maintained some sort of control over the informant. Such cases are often not very strong in court. Police detectives will often send an informant out to a target's home repeatedly to try to get numerous counts of delivery of a controlled substance.


Under Washington law, the penalty for one count of delivery of marijuana is 0-6 months but this can increase for a person with a criminal record. The penalty for one count of delivery of drugs such as heroin or cocaine is 12 to 20 months in prison. However, prosecuting attorneys will often try to charge multiple counts. In addition, penalties can be added if a defendant was armed with a deadly weapon of a firearm at the time.

This penalty is called a "weapon enhancement". These enhancements can be up to five years. Prisons do not award early release for good behavior for weapon enhancements. Additionally, under Washington law similar enhancements can be imposed if the alleged delivery occurred within a school zone.

Spokane Drug Crimes Lawyer

Whether your charge is in Spokane, Lincoln, Grant, Stevens or Okanogan County, you deserve a skilled drug defense attorney to properly defend you. When you meet with Steve Graham for a free consultation, he will look at the drug complaint brought against you.

He can properly advise you as to how to provide an effective defense. Because of his training and broad experience, lawyer Steve Graham can defend people in an innovative and thorough manner. These serious allegations call for a drug defense lawyer that is aggressive and dedicated defense to defending people. Avoiding criminal convictions is always the top priority that lawyer Steve Graham has for his clients. Mr. Graham looks forward to applying his skills to your case. See also our pages on drug possession and drug manufacturing.

Please visit our most recent blog article on drug dog searches, and their use in our state, and learn about an individual's civil rights. Canine searches are increasingly used in schools districts and small towns across our state. Many times the canines do not receive the required training, and a close inspection of the records can mean the difference between a drug dog search being upheld or ruled as unconstitutional.

Free Consultation

Let Mr. Graham discuss your case with you. Drugs can have a powerful destabilizing effect on a person's life. Maybe you have gotten in over your head. Experienced criminal defense lawyers do win drug cases and can help you get back on track.

Call our office at (509) 252-9167. If Mr. Graham is out, he can usually get back to you within a few hours.