ER 404(A)(1) Character Evidence In Drug Cases In Washington
Character evidence may assist a defendant in meeting his or her burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence a lack of knowledge under the unwitting possession defense.
For instance, if a defendant claims to have believed a bag of marijuana was oregano, evidence that the defendant has the reputation for not using drugs lends support to this contention.
It is more likely that a defendant who does not use drugs (by reputation at least) would be unable to identify marijuana.
Similarly, if a defendant claims to have been unaware of the presence of a controlled substance at all, the defendant's nonuse of drugs lends support to this claim.
A person who does not use drugs (by reputation) is less likely to possess drugs.