In a recent interview, Criminal Defense attorney Edward R. La Rue, founding partner of the Law Offices of Edward R. La Rue in Cleveland, OH has moved to clarify potential pitfalls surrounding the public’s misunderstanding of drug possession charges in light of rising levels of related crime in the US. —
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La Rue, has urged the public not to quickly dismiss drug possession as simple misdemeanors on the lowest end of the criminality scale.
He pointed out that a majority of all arrests made for drug violations in the US were possession of a controlled substance – whether it’s marijuana/cannabis, cocaine, prescription drugs, heroin or methamphetamine, or something more unusual.
La Rue asserted: “However society looks at how we criminalize and classify drug use, how drug use is tackled, and drug addiction is addressed, the law remains: drug possession is a criminal offense.
“Unfortunately, many people who face drug charges, even for their own simple possession, realize too late that such accusations will have long-lasting consequences on their future, and that of their families. They need to understand the misconceptions surrounding such matters, and what to do if they find themselves on the receiving end of a drug charge.”
He highlighted three common misunderstandings that need addressing: drug possession when charged as a misdemeanor; that first-time drug offenders have nothing to worry about, and your guilt in light of drug searches that turn up drugs.
La Rue commented: “People wrongly assume they’ll get a slap on the wrist because drug possession for marijuana or a small amount of prescription pills is often charged as a misdemeanor. Wrong. While initially being cited for a misdemeanor, depending on a multitude of factors, the charges could end up in felony court for charges such a residue on a scale or in/on other paraphernalia. Felonies are not just the domain for big-time dealers or drug manufacturers in a market for huge profits.
Indeed, the vast majority of the drug charges brought in State and local courts are for small amounts of “personal use”
possession offenses that are situational to that person and not part of any larger effort to profit from sales to others.”
Those caught with substantial amounts of drugs classified as Schedule I or Schedule II narcotics – for example, heroin, marijuana, oxycodone, cocaine, methamphetamine, fentanyl – will face years in jail, and potentially fines running to several thousands of dollars.
A felony charge will follow you around, potentially affecting a wide range of additional factors that can dramatically affect you and your family’s chance at a regular life. Smaller but sometime nearly as serious consequences loom in the form of license suspensions and the potential for the loss of opportunities for loans and credit, and of course, of the threat to one’s current and future employment.
First-timers facing drug possession charges who took them less seriously because of their perception of them as being of a personal nature exclusively should be worried, he added. “There are many folks who have ended up with dire consequences for a first-time, non-violent drugs offense. After All, just being arrested on suspicion of drug possession can have a devastating effect.
“The real impact could be from employers, loved ones, friends and schools. They can access the information and may judge you more harshly based upon misguided assumptions about such an offense than anything the law, by itself, could ever do.”
La Rue was quick to add where a person stands during a police search and drugs being found. “Without a lawyer and advocate for their particular circumstances, a person could plead guilty to a crime they have little knowledge of, or how admissible that evidence was gained to prove their guilt.’”
By dispelling these misconceptions, La Rue said: “If you believe in these myths and take drug possession charges lightly, you will find your life may have been irreparable change - and not in a good way. By hiring an experienced legal team that considers all of the concerns personal to that particular client, real, permanent damage can most likely be avoided. Get help today by being informed by the best and most able legal advocate.”
Name: Edward R. La Rue
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Organization: Edward R. La Rue, Attorney at Law
Address: 323 W. Lakeside Avenue, Suite 210, Cleveland, Ohio 44113
Phone: (216) 600-0663
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