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Charged with possession of psychedelic mushrooms on federal land.

Seattle, WA |

I was found in possession of psychedelic mushrooms in a federal park. I cooperated with the rangers and confessed to ownership, what type they were and that we had ingested them early that day (there were 3 people total involved). They found probably a little more then an 1/8 (less then a 1/4) of mushrooms. Can it be considered 'drug trafficking' or some sort of intent to sell since the quantity I had was so high? What is the 'normal' punishment for a first time offenders? Will it definitely be a felony charge, and will it be on my record for the rest of my life? (I work with kids). The two other people were charged with possession of marijuana and also a much smaller quantity of mushrooms. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to prepare or say in my defense.

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Attorney answers 4

Posted

Although you were in a federal park when caught, the case will probably be referred to a local prosecutor's office for filing rather than the US Attorneys Office due to the relatively small quantity of drugs and what sounds like a pretty unsophisticated operation. If you have the funds, you may want to consider hiring a private attorney to start trying to figure out where charges will be referred and see if anything can be done to either prevent the filing of charges or minimize the seriousness of the charges. At the very least, no more speaking with the police or park rangers. Generally speaking, the only thing you will do by speaking to them is dig yourself in deeper.

Asker

Posted

The event happened back in the end of June and my friend that was with me just received her court appearance date in the mail ( I have yet to receive mine). Do you think that it would be too late to hire a private attorney and see where the charges are being referred/minimize the seriousness of the charges/prevent the charges from being filled ( I had no idea that was an option!). Once we get the court appearance do we just have to wait it out, or can anything be done after that? also, what would it cost to get an attorney to look into this? Would they also go to court with me too? My friend got a $10,000 estimate today...a bit out of our budget for a child care worker and disabilities care giver:(

Zachary Charles Wagnild

Zachary Charles Wagnild

Posted

$10,000 seems pretty high but, of course, it depends on the charges, the attorney, and the court that your friend is charged in. Most attorneys charge a relatively small amount ($1,000-$2000) for prefiling representation that they will put towards the fee if charges are eventually filed. Where was your friend charged (i.e. what court)?

Posted

You need a criminal defense attorney licensed and experienced in the federal courts.

The information provided in this answer does not create an attorney-client relationship and is not considered to be legal advice.

Posted

As we have seen in other Federal land cases, the charges may be dropped down to a local misdemeanor under state law through the ACA.

USAM 9-20.100; USAM 9-20.115

“Prosecutions instituted under this statute are not to enforce the laws of the state, but to enforce Federal law, the details of which, instead of being recited, are adopted by reference. In addition to minor violations, the statute has been invoked to cover a number of serious criminal offenses defined by state law such as burglary and embezzlement. However, the Assimilative Crimes Act cannot be used to override other Federal policies as expressed by acts of Congress or by valid administrative orders.”
So, the lesson we all learn here is if there is no lesser Federal charge available, ask the AUSA to apply the ACA using a lesser State charge if on Federal lands.

Asker

Posted

I've been advised that a Federal Public Defender should also be good enough for such a "minor" infraction. Would you agree? I was also told getting a drug assessment prior to the court date would be a good idea, does that information usually make a big difference?

Stephen F Wallace

Stephen F Wallace

Posted

Yes and yes. Get an assessment and work with the FPD. You are in good hands.

Posted

You should find an attorney who has experience defending drug cases in both state and federal court. If the other two people charged were charged in state court, it is likely you will also be charged in state court unless your possession in this instance is part of a larger drug distribution ring.

I am not your attorney and cannot give you legal advice.

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