OPIOID AND HEROIN EPIDEMIC:
The number of lives being lost to the heroin/opioid/fentanyl crisis is more than at any time in our history. The numbers effected – including the devastating effects on the family – is staggering. Indiana has fairly recently passed a law known as Aaron’s Law (Senate enrolled Act 406-2015) which allows Hoosiers to obtain a prescription for Naloxone (also known as Narcan). It is a medication used to reverse the effects of opioids and can be administered when a person is showing signs of an overdose. Once injected it works within roughly 5 minutes, works to ‘wake up’ the individual which then allows roughly 30 – 60 minutes to seek medical attention. The law is named after Aaron Sims who as a young man lost his life to this addiction.
Sources: ( Indiana Dept. Labor (in.gov.dol), Overdose Lifeline, Inc., WISHTV.com)
Addiction is a Developmental Disease often beginning in childhood and adolescence.
National Institute on Drug Abuse
Incarceration is not the answer. It only creates the cycle of a revolving door.
National Drug Control Policy (2011)
Majority of defendants on some drug at time of arrest
Two Thirds (67%) of Men Arrested in Indianapolis tested Positive for at Least One Drug. Based On Statistics from the National Drug Control Policy . The Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring Annual Report. Reported on IndyChannel.com
Breaking the Cycle
Director: “We need to break the cycle of drug abuse, arrest, incarceration, release & re-arrest. The Incidence of Alcohol and Drug Addiction/Dependence and correlation to Criminal Arrests ranges from 58-75% depending on the study you review. Addiction is the underlying cause of so many of our youth facing incarceration. Abuse of controlled substance is a less mature sibling.
The incidence of addicts in possession of small to moderate amounts of cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin or other narcotic drug is staggering. And the addict is often looking at jail sentences even with minor amounts of these drugs. People with addiction issues including: nurses, staff, and others with easy access to a doctor’s prescription pad or DEA number find themselves thinking they will not be discovered, until it’s too late.
We are Indianapolis drug possession attorneys who represent folks charged with the array of possession offenses and attempts to obtain controlled substances by fraud or deceit, and possession of drug ‘precursors’. The wrong place, at the wrong time, with the wrong people can have major, real world complications, and you don’t even see it coming.
CENTRAL INDIANA HAS NOT BEEN IMMUNE TO THE HEROIN AND OPIOID CRISIS. The numbers of our youth involved with overdose and death from Heroin has been tragic. The ripple effect on families has been devastating. A number of counties are trying….trying….. to deal with this in innovative ways. Placing these ‘users’ in jail for extended periods of time, is clearly not the answer.
Dealing in Controlled Substances
It is often not a huge leap to ‘dealing’ in these same substances if the amount of the narcotic drug exceeds a statutory limit or if there is a transaction involving the sale of these same chemicals. These offenses generally increase the severity of the category of the crime and the likely prison sentence.
The Law in Indiana Up Until July 1, 2014 – Classification as A though D Felonies
Prior Law: Class of Felony & Sentences with illegal/controlled substances
Class A Felonies: These carry a prison sentence of twenty (20) to fifty (50) in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.00 The most common A Felony offenses involving controlled substances are of the variety: Dealing in Cocaine or a Narcotic Drug over three (3) grams in weight. They are complicated even more so if a weapon is involved or if the transaction took place within a given proximity of a school or other designated areas.
Class B Felonies: Carry a sentence range of six (6) to twenty (20) years upon conviction and can be non-suspendable depending on one’s prior criminal history. Examaples of these offenses with controlled substance legislation are: Dealing in Cocaine, a Narcotic Drug, Heroin or Methamphetamine in a weight under three (3) grams.
Class C Felonies: These offenses carry, upon conviction, a sentence of two (2) to eight (8) years in prison. These include Possession of Cocaine, Methamphetamine, Heroin, or Narcotic Drud all under three (3) grams in weight; Possession of Marijuana Over 10 pounds, Precursor Offenses if a weapon is involved.
Class D Felonies: These felony offenses carry, upon conviction, a sentence of six (6) months to three (3) years in prison. With respect to controlled substance offenses they include: Possesssion of Marijuana Over 30 grams, Dealing in Marijuana or Hashish, Maintaining a Common Nuisance, Possession of Precursors, Possession of a Synthetic Cannabinoid, Possession and Dealing (if second offense) in Paraphernalia, Obtaining or Attempting to Obtain Controlled Substances by Fraud or Deceit, among others.
SIGNIFICANT CHANGES TO DRUG LAW AND SENTENCING AFTER JULY 1, 2014:
Level 1 Felonies: Sentencing range is 20-50 years incarcerated, advisory sentence of 30 years.
Level 2 Felonies : Sentencing range of 10-30 years incarcerated, advisory sentence of 17.5 yrs.
Level 3 Felonies: Sentencing range of 3-20 years incarcerated, advisory sentence of 6 years
Level 4 Felonies: Sentencing Range of 2-12 years incarcerated, with advisory sentence of 4 years.
Level 5 Felonies: Sentencing range of 1-6 years incarcerated, with advisory sentence of 2 years.
Level 6 Felonies: Sentencing range of 0.5 – 2.5 years, with advisory sentence of 1 year.
EXAMPLES OF CHANGES IN INDIANA DRUG LAW AND SENTENCING:
Dealing in Cocaine/Narcotic Drugs: With weight in excess of 10 grams is now a Level 2 Felony.
Dealing in Cocaine/Narcotic Drug: Weight more than 5 gram but less than 10 grams: Level 3 Felony.
Dealing in Cocaine/Narcotic Drug: Weight at least 1 gram, but less than 5 grams: Level 4 Felony.
Possession of Cocaine/Narcotic Drug: Weight must be in excess of 28 grams: Level 3 Felony.
Possession of Cocaine/Narcotic Drug: Weight between 10 grams and 28 grams: Level 4 Felony.
Possession of Cocaine/Narcotic Drug: Weight between 5 grams and 10 grams: Level 5 Felony
Possession of Cocaine/Narcotic Drug: Weight under 5 grams: Level 6 Felony.
Possession of Marijuana: Now a Class B Misdemeanor (prior law Class A Misdemeanor)
Possession of Marijuana w/ prior conviction for drug offense: Class A Misdemeanor.
THE ABOVE ARE SIGNIFICANT CHANGES TO INDIANA’S TREATMENT OF DRUG OFFENSES, with the sentences now being given harshly to the most serious drug offenses due primarily to the credit time changes that the more serious felonies require when a person is incarcerated. Often they will not get 2 for 1 credit if the offense is over a Class 6 felony, and will spend much more time incarcerated than in previous years.
One of the most significant changes in the sentencing of drug offenses is that even the Level 2 and 3 Controlled Substance Convictions CAN HAVE A SUSPENDED SENTENCE ( Indiana Code 35-50-2-2.2(b) even if there is a prior felony conviction in the person’s past. That does not apply to non-drug related convictions at the Level 2 and 3 categories. There is obviously no guarantee that a Judge will not still incarcerate a person for such offenses for a considerable period of time, but unlike the old law, the Judge CAN SUSPEND THE SENTENCE in his/her discretion. The lower level drug offenses are also all potentially completely suspendable should the Court want to do so.
IF YOU NEED A TRIAL, NOTHING SHOULD PREVENT YOU FROM DOING SO.
A 4th Amendment Analysis for any search of one’s person, home, car or place of business with respect to a controlled substance arrest is almost always critical in situations which will have such long term consequences for you and your loved one’s. The penalties as listed above make your decision to hire the right Indianapolis addiction defense lawyer among the most important decisions of your life. We have provided such representation for over twenty years throughout the State of Indiana on 4th Amendment related cases and can certainly help you with yours.
Depending on your circumstances, you may need experienced counsel to sort through the web that the prosecution has alleged against you and perhaps against friends of yours. ‘Conspiracy’ is often alleged in Controlled Substance cases that are otherwise difficult to try to prove against one individual. Possession and Dealing cases often involve various layers of participation by more than one player.
IF ADDICTION IS PLAGUING YOU, and is the reason you have not been able to break some very bad habits leading you to be in the position you are in today, THERE IS MUCH YOU CAN DO TO WITHIN THE JUDICIAL SYSTEM as well as privately, with the Court and Judges being made aware of your progress as you improve. YOUR DECISION TO SEEK TREATMENT MAY BE THE BEST COURSE FOR YOU PERSONALLY, AND HELPING YOU IMMENSELY WITH YOUR LEGAL SITUATION. We have strong relations with some of the finest treatment providers in Central Indiana, and often have some of those dedicated doctors and counselors testify on behalf of our clients …. Those who have worked hard to beat their addictions.
The Good News within the Criminal Court system in many jurisdictions, depending on the facts of your case, your preferences and your prior criminal history…there are a number of options on some of these cases that were not available a few short years ago.
As of 2007 (the last year of reported statistics) Indiana had established 26 Drug Courts around the State. To review the literature on these, as well as current updates, please do a Google Search – Indiana Problem Solving Courts/ Indiana Drug Treatment Courts.
The statistics most relevant to our presentation:
Approximately 70% of people referred to Drug Court successfully complete treatment a year or more later and 75% of Drug Court Graduates never see another pair of handcuffs. That’s a remarkable success rate: 75%.
Drug Treatment Diversion Court
It is our goal and profound hope that the material herein serves a valuable purpose to folks facing the Criminal Justice System. While a given percentage of our client’s cases involve vehicular felonies, possession of various controlled substances often can accompany a DUI / DWI arrest, and if so the underlying charges are often dramatically increased in severity. Residential, and ‘on the street’ arrests are perhaps equally or more prevalent with the typical possession/dealing in controlled substances arrests.
While it seldom interplays directly in DUI / DWI cases, (strictly DUI charges are not accepted into this program, regretably) the service this Drug Treatment Diversion Program provides, and the unmatched results for the participants in this program, we must include reference to it herein. Unfortunately Marion County, Indianapolis, Indiana, is one of the few, at least in this version. A few other counties have established some related type drug court pursuant to statutory authority, but entirely too few have done so to date.
Take heed as well though, not all Drug Treatment Courts are created equal. Some have major serious mandatory jail (some including straight commitments to DOC) for violating some or any of the terms of the agreement you sign. Heed this advice: Have your Indianapolis drug possession attorney review with you in great detail any and all terms that may be included in any Drug Court Agreement, and know before you sign the consequences of any relapse, positive tests for controlled substances, and what violations can and will get you an executed sentence.
The drug treatment court in Indianapolis, targets the non-violent, felony drug offender. It is a voluntary program, which is established to last a minimum of one year for the participant. There are obviously criteria: current charge, past criminal history, no crime of violence, no weapons related offenses, no domestic violence or felony battery, etc.
The major incentive for the Defendant: Once you have successfully completed the program the Marion County Prosecutor will dismiss the charges pending in Indianapolis, Marion County, for which you entered the program. These potentially include: C Felony (2-8 years in jail) and D Felony Possession of Controlled Substances (6 months to 3 years in jail), and the new Levels 4, 5 and 6 Felonies. Your felony arrest may not haunt you forever.
Veterans Drug/Alcohol & P.T.S.D Recovery Program
This program has been up and running now for close to four years. Its’ success rate parallels that of the above mentioned Drug Courts, perhaps with even more promising results. But people (Veterans) have to know of its existence. It specializes/focuses on issues that other Drug Courts are not as equipped to address.
We have had clients in this program and are familiar with its workings, plan for treatment, individual and group, as well as the outline for successful care for the wounded men and women sometimes too proud to seek help.
Through Roudebush VA Medical Center
1481 West 10th Street
V.A. PTSD Team
Phone: (317) 988-4498 / (317) 988-4328
VETERAN’S COURT – AS OF NOVEMBER 2015 – MARION COUNTY (Indianapolis) has begun to accept Defendants into the newly established (and evolving ) Veterans Court. It has been a long time coming, with a lot of good people who have been trying for the last couple years to get this Court into existence. The Director is a retired Veteran who has served two tours of active duty in Afghanistan, and who was an Indiana licensed attorney before serving in the military. He won’t mind us giving his contact information herein. Please call him if you are a Veteran and you have a case pending against you, or call us and we will run some interference for you introducing you to our VETERANS COURT. Director: Hal Johnson (317-327-1023), Harold.Johnson@indy.gov