Drug Crimes Are Not Only a Grown-Up Problem Anymore

There was once a time when drug crimes mainly affected grown folks, and people did not have to worry so much for their kids. But as the years have passed, crimes involving drugs are including younger and younger age groups. The following paragraphs will provide some useful advice regarding keeping your kids safe.

When we were children, our parents used to warn of us such dangers as talking to a stranger. When they sent us to school, they did not have to worry so much about us doing drugs or committing crimes. However, kids are now selling drugs at school, or in some cases even giving them away for free. It is not only the adults anymore, it is now the kids, as well.

The schools are now common places for kids to get and experiment with drugs. While schools have zero tolerance policies for this type of behavior, it still occurs. It is no longer safe to stop with telling your kids not to talk to strangers. It is important to be direct with them when you explain the dangers associated with drugs.

The company your child keeps can increase or reduce their chances of getting caught up drugs. It is important to get to know who your kids hang out with and what they are doing. Do not be afraid to seem intrusive. It is not about being best friends with your kids, it is about being a good parent. Picking your children’s friends is not a fool-proof way to ensure they will not get involved in drugs at school. However, it can reduce the chances.

If you take prescription medication, you should watch it closely. Hide it where your child would never think to look if you have to. More and more kids are stealing their parents prescription pills to give or sell to their friends. When it is in the medicine cabinet, kids have easy access to it. If you have to, count your pills and write down how many you take.

Watch what your child does on the internet. Use parental control settings to help monitor what they have access to. Forbid chat rooms or constant instant chatting, or watch conversations closely. Read their email and text messages on a regular basis. A nosy parent is an informed parent. Being nosy often helps parents see the warning signs before their kids get in too deep to get out.

Finally, being an active part of all aspects of your child’s life can significantly decrease the chances of your child becoming involved with drugs. Attend extra curricular activities with your children, and communicate regularly with their educators. This will help you discover any potential problem early and reduce the likelihood of your child committing drug crimes.

When we were growing up, drug crimes did not happen so much at school. It was mainly an adult problem, that mostly adults faced. Times have changed and now our children are affected. By following the tips and advice given above, you can help prevent it from affecting your child.

How a Drug Crime Defense Lawyer Can Help You

If you’ve been charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, you will need a drug crime defense lawyer to help you fight the charges. While not every defendant chooses to plead not guilty to their charges, if you do choose to go this route you are constitutionally guaranteed a fair trial, judged by a jury of your peers. It is during this trial that you will have the opportunity to defend yourself. It is up to the prosecution to carry the burden of proving your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, but that doesn’t mean you should sit back and relax, even if you are truly innocent. You should have a good attorney working overtime to help your case. Here are some strategies he might use.

Suppressing Evidence

One of the best ways to win at trial — and perhaps prevent the case from ever going to trial in the first place — is to file a motion to suppress evidence. It is evidence that the state will need to prove their case. It is a popular strategy, though it rarely works. When it does, however, it can work in a big way. While it may seem unfair to the police and prosecution, it is actually the system working as it should. If evidence is collected in a way that is contrary to the laws we hold dear, it should be thrown out. Your drug crime defense lawyer should make sure illegally obtained evidence is not used against you in court.

Invalidating a Warrant

If the police had a search warrant when they obtained the evidence against you, it will be difficult to argue against the collection of said evidence. That said, a good drug crime defense lawyer will look at that warrant and the circumstances surrounding its issue. If the warrant can be declared invalid, any of the evidence collected at that point will have to be thrown out. One of the ways this can happen is if you can prove that the police had no probable cause to stop you in the first place. It can also be invalidated if you can show that the police used misleading information to obtain the warrant.

Ignorance

Simply claiming that you didn’t know drugs were illegal will not be enough to make a successful argument at trial. But if you can prove that you did not know you were in possession of the drugs (a friend stashed them in your car or something to that effect), you may have a way out. This is a common defense, but it is not commonly successful. If your drug crime defense lawyer can bring in corroborating evidence, however, it might convince a jury.

Mississippi Drug Crimes

In Mississippi it is a crime to sell, barter, transfer, manufacture, distribute, dispense or possess with intent to sell, barter, transfer, manufacture, distribute or dispense, a controlled substance. This law is found in the Mississippi Code, Title 41, Chapter 29, Section 139. Controlled substance essentially means any illegal drugs or drugs without a prescription. This can include marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, and common prescription drugs.

The punishment for violation of this law is going to depend on the type of drug and the amount possessed. For instance, many people charged with marijuana possession want to know what will happen if they are convicted. Generally, simple marijuana possession is classified as 30 grams or less in Mississippi. See Mississippi Code Section 41-29-139(c)(2). 30 grams is just over one ounce. First-time offenders may face a fine of up to $250, as well as court-ordered drug treatment programs. The most serious consequence, though, is the possibility of having a permanent conviction on his or her record. A Mississippi drug possession lawyer can insure that this does not happen and that the case is expunged from the offender’s background.

More serious consequences may result if the marijuana possession occurred inside a car. For possession of 30 grams or less within the area of the vehicle normally occupied by the driver or passengers, the punishment can be up to a $1000 fine and 90 days in jail. However, first-time offenders will have options to avoid going to jail and ending up with a permanent conviction.

Possession of more than 30 grams of marijuana carries greater penalties depending on the amount. For instance, more than 30 but less than 250 grams is punishable up to three years in the penetentiary. This is an extremely serious penalty for someone with no prior record, and it reflects the state’s view that drug offenders should be punished fully. If you are a first-time offender who is facing a felony marijuana possession charge, you should contact a Mississippi criminal defense attorney in your area right away.

Drugs such as cocaine, heroin, LSD, and methamphetamine carry equally stiff penalties. Like with marijuana, these are classified in Title 41 of the Mississippi Code. Possession of less than 1/10 of a gram may be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the facts, with prison time of up to four years. Possession of between 1/10 of a gram and two grams is punishable from 2-8 years and a maximum fine of $50,000. As you can see the greater weight, the greater the potential punishment. Possession of an ounce or more of any of these types of drugs is punishable up to 30 years.

Break the Law and Lose Your Car?

New York City, Nassau County and Suffolk County have vehicle forfeiture laws. These laws allow the municipality to seize a motorist’s car if it is used as part of a criminal offense. Typically, this law is used for driving while intoxicated or driving while impaired. However, it can also be invoked for such offenses as reckless driving, driving while under the influence of drugs and driving with a suspended license. The standard is generally whether the vehicle was used as a means of committing a crime or employed to aid in a crime.

In New York City and Nassau County, the law is routinely used even for a first offense. The Suffolk law is discretionary on the first offense but requires the police to impound the vehicle for second offenses.

If you are not convicted of the charge, then you have grounds for getting your car back. If you enter into a plea bargain, then you will generally have to make a deal with the municipality. Of course, if you are not the owner of the vehicle, then often the municipality will release the vehicle to the owner with upon submitting proof of ownership. However, if the owner knew or should have known that it was reasonably likely that the vehicle was going to be used to commit a crime, the municipality may be able to obtain forfeiture of the vehicle any way.

So what do you do if you car is seized? The first thing you must do file a demand for it. This puts the municipality on notice that you will be seeking its return. Then, a case number is assigned. You can then negotiate with the assigned representative in an attempt to get it back. If the negotiations do not lead to a resolution, then the municipality has to sue and prove its case (a relatively easy proposition). Of course, you probably will want to retain an attorney to assist with this matter if your negotiations are not fruitful (if not sooner).

Even if the vehicle is not seized, the municipality may go to court to seek the return of the vehicle. We had one client whose criminal case was resolved favorable and then months later received court papers seeking the vehicle. There is time limit, however, within which the municipality must act to obtain forfeiture. For instance, in Nassau County, the forfeiture action must be commenced within 120 days of the arrest date.

As an aside, no car will be returned unless and until the District Attorney has issued a release. Generally, the District Attorney will issue this document after the criminal case is resolved. Similarly, if you receive a notice that your car is subject to possible forfeiture, it is a violation of some forfeiture laws to sell or transfer ownership. A violation of such a provision carries substantial monetary penalties.

Finally, the New York City law has been upheld as constitutional. However, the former forfeiture law in Nassau County was declared unconstitutional and has since been replaced with a new law. Therefore, keep in mind, that there may be valid constitutional grounds upon which to attack the forfeiture.

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