How Can a Drug Charge Affect Your Life?
Interviewer: Going back to that idea of the human factor, how have you seen drug charges affect people’s lives? In your experience how have you seen that take effect in someone’s life?
A Drug Arrest Is Usually an Indication of a Larger Problem, Such as Addiction
Brett Hollett: If the problem is not addressed properly and in a timely manner I think it can snowball and it can even lead to that person’s demise. That person may pick up several charges within a short period of time that may all be related to drugs or alcohol. They may start picking up theft cases to support their drug or alcohol habit or addiction.
Unless there’s a support system in place, whether that is family, friends or professional counselors, an offense based on an addiction can lead to a lot worse things.
Can It Be Difficult to Find Work after a Drug-Related Charge?
Interviewer: If someone had a drug charge on their record how easy is it for that person to find a job or explain to their employer that they have a drug charge on their record?
Brett Hollett: Again, it’s going to be a case-by-case analysis. I think it can be difficult, especially when the job market’s tough. For example, if there are 10 applicants for a job and you’re one of the applicants that been arrested or has a felony conviction on your record or a misdemeanor conviction for drugs, they may just simply pass over you.
This is especially true if there are seven or eight or nine other applicants that have a clean history. You may not even get the chance to explain yourself.
Are You Likely to Reoffend after Your First Drug-Related Charge?
Interviewer: What do you think is the percentage of people that receive second or third time offenses after their first initial drug offense? Do a lot of people become repeat offenders or do you think they generally learn the lesson?
Brett Hollett: I don’t know an exact percentage but I think that once you’ve committed an offense you have a higher likelihood to reoffend than somebody who’s never committed an offense.
How Long Might It Take to Resolve a Drug-Related Case?
Interviewer: How long will a typical drug case generally last?
If You Do Not Want to Accept a Plea Bargain or Are Unable to Enter the Drug Court, Your Case Will Be Set for Trial
Brett Hollett: That just depends as well. If it’s a felony drug offense and we’re unable to work out some kind of agreement or some kind of pretrial diversion-type program while we’re in district court then we would potentially have to set your case for trial. Then your case would move through the circuit court and it’d be docketed. Time frames can vary county by county, depending upon the amount of cases on each judge’s docket. For a drug case if we wanted to trial the case we’d also probably request that the state provide the toxicology report.
In Alabama, You May Have to Wait 2 Years for a Trial Date
Right now, unfortunately the forensic science department is pretty backed up. It may take some time for us to get that toxicology report back. If you wanted to try a drug case here in Alabama you may be looking at two years before you actually get a trial date. It can be a long process.
Trafficking Refers to Possessing, Manufacturing, Selling, Purchasing, and Moving Large Quantities of Drugs
Interviewer: What does trafficking mean?
Brett Hollett: Trafficking means being in possession, manufacturing, selling, purchasing, or delivering an illegal, controlled substance. There are specific weights and quantities listed in the Alabama code that apply to different types of drugs. Trafficking is one of the most serious criminal and drug offenses. Trafficking cases carry harsh punishments and fines. Individuals can even be subject to federal mandatory sentencing requirements.
Can You Face Trafficking Charges for Possession of a Large Amount of Drugs?
Interviewer: I understand that there are people who are not intentionally trying to traffic drugs but they may buy large quantities because they can afford to. Case in point, there’s that one actor who just bought himself a large amount of heroin. In cases like that could someone be charged with trafficking if they’re not actually trafficking but they’re just carrying a large amount of a specific drug?
Brett Hollett: They could. The trafficking statute basically says any person who knowingly sells, manufactures, delivers, or brings into the state x amount of whatever type of drugs is then subject to charges. If that person brought x amount of drugs with them into the state or wherever else they could be charged with trafficking.
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