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Cocaine laws and sentencing in Washington

| April 13, 2023 

In all states, cocaine possession, distribution and trafficking qualify as serious criminal offenses. Individuals caught violating laws regarding cocaine could face severe legal consequences. The following details spell out important state laws and the resulting sentences for violations.


Possession is a felony offense for individuals caught with cocaine. The crime carries a sentence of up to five years in prison with a maximum fine of $10,000.The court considers a person’s previous criminal record and the amount of cocaine found in their possession. These details may affect the severity of the offender’s sentence.

Offenders with clean or minor criminal records may be eligible for drug court, which allows them to receive probation instead of incarceration. Drug court provides resources and support for addiction recovery and helps non-violent offenders avoid repeating drug-related crimes.

If the court determines that an individual possessed cocaine intending to distribute it, the legal penalties increase to prison time of up to 10 years with a fine of up to $25,000.


Individuals caught distributing cocaine have committed a serious criminal offense and can face felony charges. Penalties consist of up to 10 years in prison with a financial fine of up to $25,000. If the person was caught transporting cocaine across state lines, they could also face federal drug charges.


Trafficking cocaine carries more severe penalties as it is a very serious drug offense. The charge carries a minimum of three years in prison, with a fine of up to $100,000. An individual’s prior criminal record and the quantity of cocaine involved in their trafficking can affect the severity of their penalty.

Three-strikes law

Several states have a three-strikes law, and individuals convicted of three drug offenses can face more strict legal sentences. However, the state revised its three-strike law in 2022 from a life sentence to less severe penalties for non-violent offenders.

Understanding the laws regarding cocaine possession, distribution and trafficking can help individuals make better choices about using or selling cocaine.

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