If there is a legitimate medical history where the drug’s started legitimately and then it gets out of control, then the judges are very lenient if you can show that legitimate medical history. For instance, with the medical records and former prescriptions written for the painkillers; if there is no medical history or very little medical history to show and prior prescriptions don’t show, then it’s going to be more difficult because then it is just pure recreational use. Still the addiction comes into a major play at sentencing. Even if there are no prior medical issues, if a person shows that they’re addicted and they are entered into serious treatment and a regular treatment, regular urines, reading books, having sponsors, then it’s the same deal as regular drugs and a judge will be more sympathetic and put somebody on probation rather than send them to jail hoping that the person will continue with the serious attention to the drug program and the sponsorship and NA.
They will hang a sentence over the person’s head as incentive to say, “If you come dirty, you’re going to come before me for the next 3 years during the probation and I might throw the book at you, I might throw the whole sentence at you or I might put you in jail for a couple of weeks or whatever it may be but you may go to jail for 2 years if you come back dirty”. That is meant as an incentive for the person to remain clean while on probation. Now, the other problem with prescription drugs is that if there is an indication that the person is somehow obtaining the prescription drugs on a fraudulent basis through working with an employee of a doctor or falsely written prescriptions, then that’s an additional charge which is pretty serious that they might be treated more seriously than the possession of the illegal prescription drugs because judges don’t want fake prescriptions to be floating out there all the time.
Certainly the drug stores or the drug companies take those seriously too and sometimes come to sentencing or the doctor comes to sentencing and tells the judge that how outraged they are, that their scripts are being stolen or being forged. That creates more outrage on the part of the judge and can create more jail time. That’s another problem that usually happens at the prescription drug cases.
What Mistakes Do Clients Make That Are Detrimental To Their Case In the Long Run?
In Maryland, there is no benefit from speaking to police 100 per cent of the time. It is one of the easiest rules to follow. In other states, it’s different because in Maryland, there is zero penalty at trial in all cases for remaining silent. In Maryland, we have a very defendant friendly set of evidentiary rules with respect to silence in the presence of law enforcement. The reason that defendants choose to speak to officers is generally two-fold and it’s a huge mistake and it’s based on two tremendous misperceptions of the law. One is that defendants think that their silence can be used against them in court and they think, “I better talk and make up some crazy story or at least admit to something so that the judge or jury later won’t be mad at me for being silent”.
Secondly, defendants think that if they put out an exculpatory story nail, I’ll be able to use that fact in court later and that’s also not true. A defendant cannot introduce his self-serving statement to the police in his case. The rules of evidence don’t allow that, it’s called self-serving hearsay. Based on those two misperceptions, defendants choose to speak to police. I guess the third reason they choose to speak to police is that they think that the police will give them some benefit by cooperating and doing the right thing of admitting guilt. That is 100 per cent wrong and defendant should never ever presume that. It’s a very easy black and white rule to follow.
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