The reasons some people begin abusing controlled substances can get lengthy. When it comes to using heroin it’s no different. For some reason, however, the courts have always placed a special stigma on heroin drug charges.
When facing any kind of drug offenses there are several critical issues that could determine the outcome of the case (jail versus rehab, sales versus possession counts, to name a few). When it comes to heroin, there are some added issues that stem primarily from the nature of the drug—which ultimately present additional challenges to the person who is fighting the case.
Limited Rehab Programs
One important factor is the limited availability of recovery/rehabilitation centers that can treat heroin addiction or abuse. Many county programs (approved by the local drug court) have difficulty taking in probationers that face heroin possession charges. The reasons typically differ between one program and another. But one popular claim is the difficulty in dealing with relapse for heroin users. Because of this, prosecutors may sometimes lose faith in programs you want to give a chance to providing beneficial treatment. Nevertheless, when it comes to purely possession-based offenses, courts routinely prefer to see rehabilitation over incarceration. The availability of “beds” (placement in residential facilities) poses additional challenges to the client.
Local Control Over New Imports of Drugs
Less known to the general public, is law enforcement’s interest with investigating new sources of drugs that have found themselves into their particular community. Residents may find it comforting that local police want to know who is bringing drugs into the streets of their neighborhoods. The problem behind this could mean that innocent users of a drug find themselves fighting sales charges as a coercive tactic to give up their suppliers. In the criminal drug world, this tactic is tolerated for the sake of going after the “big fish”. It’s too much of a coincidence for experienced drug lawyers to notice that there are patterns in certain cases where a user is being charged as a dealer simply to put pressure on them. Keep in mind however, that charging someone as a seller has to have some logical standpoint. The kinds of cases that are targeted for this kind of practice can be charged as one or the other. Therefore, it’s not entirely illegal (especially when the amount seized by police is larger than one would normally have for a few hits). But this results in someone having to spend more time in jail in order to fight charges that are not accurate. And in the case of heroin, every neighborhood finds themselves alarmed and frightened that such a destructive substance could potentially rise in use.
To counter this situation, a well-placed strategy in fighting sales charges is necessary to get the heart of a drug case. Recognizing the signs of “over-charging” is one step towards putting together a plan of action that will turn the direction of the state’s case against someone.
There are other reasons to be concerned about heroin charges. Those will be explored at a later time.
Stay tuned for Part II of this series.