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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 frequently asked to make a comment on drug issues by the local media, and is frequently interviewed by national newspapers such as the Wall Street Journal. Spokane Drug Lawyer

Twenty years ago, as an elected prosecutor, attorney Steve Graham 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. drug defense lawyer spokaneTo convict a person of "delivery" of a controlled substance, no money needs to change hands. It makes no difference to judges if a person is simply "sharing" the drug with a friend. Therein lies the unfairness of many drug "delivery" prosecutions throughout eastern Washington. The reality of most drug cases is a lot different than what the public would expect them to be. An experienced defense lawyer can help educate the jury and help them see the case from the proper perspective. In Washington, there really is no separate crime of "trafficking" drugs, or selling for profit. This is one of the top misunderstandings that people have when coming in for jury duty.

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. Sadly, under threat 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 given marked bills to attempt to buy drugs from other people. Often times the target of the informant had no intention of selling drugs prior to the CI showing up at their door. Any drug user is 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. This is the ugly truth about must police drug investigations.

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. For example, 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, our defense lawyers 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. The police never go through the socks and shoes, or the undergarments of an informant.

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. Mr. Graham is assisted by private investigators to assist in looking at the confidential informant's background.


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 he 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 the 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. Drug lawyers often hear from their client that they only sold to maintain their habit, rather than make a profit. However, the law doesn't necessarily distinguish between the two.

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 Mr. Graham first started practicing law, informants often wore hidden radio transmitters or old analog audio cassette recorders. Such recordings were often very scratchy and inaudible - it was hard to hear any words much less the particulars of an alleged drug deal.spokane police informants More recently, an informant will wear a small micro-recorder. The police need a proper warrant for such a recording, and a defense lawyer can often challenge the probable cause the law enforcement 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. Some counties, such as Spokane, have drug court, but prosecutors typically do not refer drug delivery cases to drug court. Drug court usually requires smaller cases such as drug possession or cases where a person committed property crimes to support a habit. State law does have a program called DOSA (Drug Offender Sentencing Alternative). If someone is facing a shorter prison sentence, they sometimes can get 90 days inpatient treatment instead of jail. This is called Residential DOSA. If someone is facing more than a couple of years in prison, he or she may be eligible for a Prison DOSA. A Prison DOSA will cut a prison term in half if a person agrees to enter a program within the prison for the treatment of drug addiction. DOSA sentences are available for all drug categories, methamphetamine, cocaine, fentanyl, heroin, MDMA, ketamine, marijuana, LSD, opiates, etc.

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. Sit down with out lawyers to see what can be done. 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.