CrR 2.1(D) Interpretation

In State v. Johnson, 119 Wn.2d 143, 149-50, 829 P.2d 1078 (1992), the Court faced with a preverdict challenge to an information that did not state the required element of "knowledge," but merely alleged the defendants "unlawfully" delivered a controlled substance. Johnson, 119 Wn.2d at 149-50. Because the challenge in that case was made before trial or plea, the Court reversed the conviction. Johnson, 119 Wn.2d at 150-51. The Court stated, "whether motivated by obstinacy or advocacy, the State failed to take advantage of CrR 2.1(d), which allows motions to amend an information at any time prior to the final verdict, as long as substantial rights of the defendant are not prejudiced." Johnson, 119 Wn.2d at 150. In part to encourage prosecutors to exercise more care in filing constitutionally sufficient informations, the Court held, "a bright line rule mandating dismissal of defective informations challenged before trial is workable and not unduly harsh, given the liberal amendment rule and the ease with which prosecutors can discern the elements of most common crimes." Johnson, 119 Wn.2d at 150.