Drug Addiction - Charges on Charges in Chesterfield
Case results depend on a variety of factors unique to each case. Results seen here do not guarantee or predict a similar result in future cases.
Drug addiction, alcoholism, and charges associated with them have a tendency to snowball. We see it all the time. Someone is deep in their addiction and makes choices that increase their odds of police contact. They pick up new drug charges while bonded for other charges and land back in jail with a presumption of no bond. This is tricky. They desperately want out of jail, but the Court believes they can’t be trusted to quit using and comply with bond conditions. Particularly in cases involving heroin, fentanyl, or meth, the Court is seriously concerned they will turn up dead if released from jail.
While improving, jail is not ideal for substance abuse recovery. Sure, they will go through a miserable period of detox in jail and be “clean”, but then what? For the right people, being held with no bond can present a great opportunity. Court’s will oftentimes agree to bond, if addicted clients are being released into a treatment program. Clients who get clean in jail and fully appreciate the mess addiction has made of their lives may finally be ready to get serious about recovery. If they are successful in recovery, it changes their lives and simultaneously mitigates their charges. Win-win.
I see a lot of cases like this. Some drug addiction clients aren’t yet ready to change and some are – the efforts and success of those who are ready give me all the warm and fuzzies. I represented a client on 4 separate charges of Possession of a Schedule I/II Substance, a pretrial violation, and a couple of post-conviction violations. This client was in her 30s with no previous criminal history.
The substance charges were from 2 separate offense dates and involved crack-cocaine, heroin, and fentanyl. She was bonded on the original charges (2 Schedule I/II charges – she was represented by a different lawyer on these charges), she ended up wrongly held with no bond on add-on charges, and was properly held with no bond under a presumption of no bond for the charges from the second offense date. She was stuck in jail during the height of COVID outbreaks in the local jails. I was able to clear up the confusion for the charges she was wrongly held on, get her set up with a treatment program while she was incarcerated, and convince the Court to release her on bond for the other charges. That was our first challenge.
2 of the 4 substance charges were bogus – police are human, too, and suffice it to say- mistakes are sometimes made. Police and prosecutors want mistakes fixed, too, but when cases get messy and dockets are huge, they don’t necessarily catch them. It’s up to a good defense attorney to catch the mistake and make sure it’s fixed. I spoke with the officer a couple of times and then we together convinced a prosecutor to drop those charges. Based on a legal issue, the prosecutor agreed to drop a third charge at the preliminary hearing. I was able to have the remaining Schedule I/II charge (I repped her on) reduced from a Class 5 Felony [carrying a max sentence of 10 years in prison] to Misdemeanor Paraphernalia with only 5 additional days to serve in jail on weekends. A pretrial violation associated with this charge was dismissed.
She was later charged with Failing to Report for Weekends – another mistake made by an overburdened system. Fought this charge and won. She was also charged with violating the conditions of her suspended sentence. Long story short – there was a defense, we entered a plea of Not Guilty and won.
I represented her on 7 charges with numerous court dates – 4 felonies and 3 misdemeanors. From those cases, she ended up with only one misdemeanor conviction and 5 days to serve on weekends. Navigating multiple matters with varying issues was complicated. It spanned 6 months start to finish and involved working with another lawyer who represented her on two other drug charges. As they say – “all’s well that ends well” and now she has an opportunity to regain control of her life, focus on recovery, and avoid becoming a convicted felon. She plans to complete the 1st offender program on the 2 charges I didn’t represent her on. I’m rooting for her.