Common Misconceptions about Drug-Related Charges

Interviewer: What would you say are some of the top misconceptions that people have about being arrested for drugs?

Do People That Receive Drug Charges Need Prison or Treatment?

Brett Hollett: I think society’s perceptions of people arrested for drugs are that the people are no good or they’re career criminals. But slowly, I think our society, our culture, and the general public are finally coming to the realization that these people need help and that help may not necessarily involve sending that person to prison.

Most Drug Offenders Are Not Violent Offenders

Now the county and the state and a lot of municipalities have implemented rehabilitation-type programs instead of just sending people to prison or jail. Our prison system is overcrowded and a lot of these people aren’t violent offenders. They typically just need rehabilitation or help. No purpose is going be served by sending them to prison, especially for long mandatory sentence terms.

What to Avoid after a Drug-Related Arrest

Interviewer: What are some things that end up hurting someone’s case? What do you tell clients to avoid while a case is pending?

Avoid Volunteering Information to the Police

Brett Hollett: Do not admit to anything or give additional information to the police. Make the police do their job and make them do it correctly. A drug arrest can have serious consequences. There may be enhancements that go along with their charges if they’re possessing or selling drugs within or near a school or housing project.

The amount of drugs they have in their possession is an important factor. The quantity can cause a charge to be bumped up from just a possession charge to potentially a distribution or a trafficking charge.

What Can You Do to Benefit Your Drug-Related Case?

Interviewer: When you work with someone and they’ve been arrested for a drug charge, what do you think are some things that would help their case?

Be Proactive in Seeking Treatment

Brett Hollett: We can try to be proactive and take some steps to get that client some help. A good example is going to see a drug and alcohol counselor before the court orders it. They could attend NA or AA meetings on their own.

Trying to address the problem head-on at the beginning is better than waiting until you go to court and having someone order you to do something.

The Courts Look More Favorably on Defendants That Seek Help

If you’re proactive in your case and you show that you’re willing to seek help then I think you have a greater chance of success and a greater chance of receiving an appropriate punishment from the court than you did if you didn’t do anything.

Are Drug Cases Attributed to Legal Prescription Drugs Handled the Same Way as Those Attributed to Illegal Drugs?

Interviewer: Are legal prescription drug cases handled the same way illegal drugs are handled?

Brett Hollett: They are handled the same way. If you don’t have a valid prescription for any prescription drug you can be charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance and that would be the same as if you were arrested for cocaine or something else.

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