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Roanoke Criminal Defense Blog

What are some kinds of drug crimes?

There are several kinds of drug crimes, and each has the potential to threaten your freedoms in different ways. For example, there are drug crime laws related to possession, those related to distribution and drug crime laws to address paraphernalia. Knowing these types of crimes will help you make sure you don't violate the law and end up facing charges.

Remember that you could face both federal and state charges depending on your actions, so you should mount a defense as soon as you can.

Caught with someone else's drugs? Defend yourself

It's impossible to control what other people do, even if you want to try. You may be best friends with someone who drinks too much or uses drugs on occasion, but on the whole, as long as those actions don't impact you, you don't see the harm.

Unfortunately, your friend's behaviors have impacted you. You were pulled over for a traffic stop, but the officer noticed an unusual smell coming from your vehicle. It was marijuana your friend had left in the vehicle. With reason to suspect you had drugs in the vehicle, the officer searched it and discovered a baggie. Now, you're in trouble for something you didn't even know was in your vehicle.

Prescription fraud: Faking a doctor's signature

Prescription fraud is a serious crime in the United States. If you think about it, physicians spend years in school to earn the right to prescribe medications to their patients. When someone signs a doctor's name fraudulently, it is not only an act that could hurt the individual or someone else but also a direct insult to the hard work a physician put into his or her career.

While you may not think you're hurting anyone by creating a prescription or signing one fraudulently, that couldn't be further from the truth. In reality, you're committing a federal crime and could end up hurting or killing yourself or someone else. If the prescription appears legitimate, the physician who allegedly wrote it could face allegations as well.

Boating under the influence: Not a risk to take

It is extremely dangerous to get behind the wheel of any vehicle while you're intoxicated, boats included. Since the spring is here and summer is just around the corner, you may be considering heading out onto the water soon. If so, remember that a BWI could be damaging to you in the same way as a DUI.

Virginia prohibits anyone from driving a boat while intoxicated. It's illegal to use any kind of boat while intoxicated including sailboats, personal watercraft, water skis and others. A BWI isn't just charged for alcohol use, either; cases involving drugs may result in a BWI as well.

Drug treatment courts may help you get your life and health back

Presently, it's estimated that around half of the people who end up in Federal or State prison suffer from drug addiction. Many of these people do not receive the addiction counseling or treatment they need, which means that they're more likely to continue abusing drugs following release and are more likely to reoffend.

The good news is that more states are recognizing the importance of substance abuse treatment in reducing drug crimes. For people who struggle with drug abuse and addiction, they aren't always looking to cause trouble. Many find themselves wanting to quit with no clear path or help to do so. By using alternative drug courts and providing addiction services instead of incarceration, the belief is that more people can receive the treatment they need to reduce the likelihood of reoffending overall.

What happens if you're caught using cocaine?

Every state has its own laws and penalties for drug offenses. As someone new to the state, it's a good idea to know all the pertinent laws and regulations of the area where you live. If you aren't familiar with Virginia's cocaine laws, this should help you understand them better.

You probably already know that cocaine is illegal across the country. It is a Schedule II drug, and being caught with it could lead to jail sentences and fines. Simple possession may lead to a fine of up to $2,500 and a jail sentence of up to a year. Keep in mind that possession is a significantly less serious crime than the sale of cocaine.

Buena Vista students witness drama of drunk driving crash

Imagine the impact it would have on your child if he or she witnessed the reality of a drunk driving crash. It could help enforce the idea of the dangers of drinking and driving while really driving the point home with visual context. In Buena Vista, a crash drama is helping students understand the reality of a life-changing collision caused by drunk driving.

With prom season just around the corner, there has never been a more important time to discuss the dangers of drinking and driving. School events are supposed to be fun, but a night out at prom can turn deadly when teens choose to drink and drive. At Parry McCluer High School students participated in a week of activities to help them understand how alcohol affects them and could lead to injuries and fatalities. Buena Vista officers, fire trucks and ambulances come to the scene of a drama acted out by students; their presence makes it all the more realistic.

Theft: Not every case is black and white

Stealing, or theft, is a common crime. For some, it's an act that starts when they're young. Shoplifting simple items may seem like it's of little consequence, but the reality is that it's still possible to face charges.

The good thing about theft charges is that there are many defenses against them. The prosecution has to show that you intended to take property from someone else without permission and did not intend to return it. If a theft could have been alleged because of a misunderstanding, then there is a good chance that it can be disputed and that you could walk away without penalties or a conviction.

Deliberate indifference and law enforcement

There are many stories in the news detailing misconduct by police where officers of the law overstep the bounds of their authority. Some stand accused of using excessive force to apprehend and subdue suspects. In many cases, these suspects are people of color -- although, not always. A spate of video and audio recordings depicting some of these alleged overreaches of authority have captured the public interest in recent years. This has resulted in increased scrutiny of police tactics and a focus on the individuals who often end up on the receiving end of such abuses of power.

While active abuses of police powers may make for a good viral video, officers of the law also must avoid abusing suspects through deliberate indifference. If a suspect receives harm due to deliberate indifference, this is just as serious a violation of the suspect's Eighth Amendment rights as other forms of cruel and unusual punishment.

Report shows low-risk offenders heading into prison system

News out of Virginia reports that thousands of people who are "low risk" offenders aren't being diverted from prison sentences. That could be costing taxpayers thousands. According to the news, there are thousands of people who have been convicted of property and drug crimes and are considered low-risk. These individuals are being sent to prison while others, many of whom are higher risks to the community, are avoiding prison.

Virginia's Nonviolent Risk Assessment questionnaire determined that there are thousands who should be eligible for alternative sentences but who have not been given them. There is also inconsistency among judges, which means that the penalties one person receives may not line up with the penalties another receives for the same crimes.

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